Safety and Occupational Trust – Research confirms the connection

Workplace safety is directly impacted by the levels of trust.

Initiatives to improve saftey should always include an assessment of the levels of trust along with training in understanding how to build trust.  Logic would tell us that to be safe in the workplace we have to trust those that we work with and for, but too often organizations put their efforts in safety management into processes, and procedures without addressing the bigger issue of trust.

A research carried out by St. Louis University at a major US Air carrier published in 2015 found a direct correlation between supervisor and coworker trust.  The conclusion was that the safety climate could be improved by implementing programs that focus on coworker trust, supervisor trust, and job satisfaction.

In another research by the Keil Centre in Edinburgh, found that trust is the key to leading employees to perceive management as committed to safety and acts as a “lubricant” for the functioning of a safe culture.

A 3rd paper published in 2005 by Queen’s University concluded that trust in management and perceived safety climate were found to mediate the relationship between a High-Performance Work System and safety performance measured in terms of personal-safety orientation (i.e., safety knowledge, safety motivation, safety compliance, and safety initiative) and safety incidents (i.e., injuries requiring first aid and near misses).

Understanding the levels of trust in your teams should be one of the first steps in building a higher culture of safety. Want to hear more about trust, how you can measure it and what you can do to stregthen it, take a look at our trust tools and then schedule a meeting.