Managing workplace safety in the technology work environment has traditionally focused on factors such as physical design, machinery operations and other hardware counter-measures. Cognitive-based human factors have not seen a strong emphasis by safety and technology researchers. This is beginning to change as investigators have begun to examine how the management of human factors could impact safety in the workplace. One of these factors is trust.
A second factor, safety climate, measures the perception employees have of the relative importance of safety within an organization. Although limited research has examined the association between trust and safety climate, little empirical data has been collected on the relationship between the two concepts as they relate to the decision-making process of employees. Trust has been shown to have a positive effect on workplace safety climate, which in turn has been hypothesized to play a role in employee decision-making. Yet, research measuring the relationship between trust, safety, and employee decision-making has been limited.
This analysis will outline the concept of trust and its relationship to safety climate and safety-related decision making. Definitions of trust, past safety climate research, and relevant decision-making theories will be highlighted. The challenges of existing measures of trust, safety climate, and decision-making will be discussed. New directions for research in safety decision-making will conclude the paper.
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