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Managers’ attitudes toward worker well-being can lead to safe and healthy behaviors: study

Photo: Olivier Le Moal/iStockphoto

Aurora, CO — Employees who sense their managers are invested in their well-being at work may be more likely to practice safe and healthy behaviors on the job, results of a recent study from the Colorado School of Public Health suggest.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus examined data from a study of small businesses in the state conducted by the school’s Center for Health, Work and Environment. The analysis comprised 1,271 workers representing 53 organizations with fewer than 500 employees.

They found that, among employees, a one-point increase in perceived leadership commitment to safety (on a five-point scale) boosted the safety climate by 0.67 points and increased safety behaviors among workers by 0.45 points. Additionally, a one-point increase in perceived leadership commitment to wellness was associated with a 0.66-point increase in health climate and a 0.42-point jump in health behaviors.

Workers who held more positive perceptions of managers also were more likely to participate in safety-related activities such as joining a safety committee or attending worksite wellness meetings.


“Leadership matters,” Erin Shore, lead study author and senior professional research assistant at the Center for Health, Work and Environment, told Safety+Health. “If employees perceive that their supervisors care about their safety and well-being, they are more likely to behave in a safe and healthy manner at work. In our study, this association was true regardless of the size of the organization.”

The study was published in the February issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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