Skip to main content
What's a Life Worth? The Value Placed on Safety
ECU Publications Pre. 2011
  • Susanne Bahn, Edith Cowan University
  • Llandis Barratt-Pugh, Edith Cowan University
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
CCH Australia LTD
Computing, Health and Science
Psychology and Social Science, Social Justice Research Centre

This article was originally published as: Bahn, S. T., & Barratt-Pugh, L. G. (2009). What's a life worth? The value placed on safety. Journal of Occupational Health and Safety: Australia and New Zealand, 25(5), 393-404. Original article available here.


This adicle examines the safety values of managers and their impact on safety in the workplace. A case study on the civil construction industry in Western Australia that was undertaken between 2005 and 2007 provides the materialfrom which this discussion is drawn. A safety values inventory (that was developed collaboratively with managers) identifies the importance placed on specific values according to business size. This ranking activity indicates that the managers in the civil construction industry who participated in the study place different priorities on safety and have different approaches to achieving a safe working environment, depending on whether they work in small to micro businesses or in medium to large businesses. The article concludes that work practices in the industry are influenced by the values that emerge from continual conflicts between safety and production, and the numerous and sometimes contradictory communications of the managers who disseminate these values throughout the organisation.

Citation Information
Susanne Bahn and Llandis Barratt-Pugh. "What's a Life Worth? The Value Placed on Safety" (2009)
Available at: