Individual characteristics and safety behaviour in a petrochemical company
Organisations all over the world have attempted to decrease at–risk behaviour by targeting at–risk acts, exclusive of safe acts, and using corrective feedback, reprimands, or disciplinary actions to motivate behaviour change. Research has shown that this approach was useful but did not improve since it was a reactive approach and not proactive. In an attempt to stem the tide of safety related incidence they have implemented Behaviour–based Safety. However, as is the case with other initiatives, this one also showed early results but started to plateau towards to end. Aside from safety behaviour, demographic variables and constructs such as sense of Self–esteem, Self–efficacy and Work Locus of Control have a direct effect on the associated safety behaviour of employees. These styles may either be effective or ineffective, or have a direct impact on the demonstrated safety behaviour within the petrochemical company. The purpose of this research study was to determine the possible relationship between individual characteristics, specifically Self–esteem, Self–efficacy and Work Locus of Control, and safety behaviour. A convenience survey design was used. The sample of 201 represented managers, supervisors and employees in a petrochemical company. A battery of four questionnaires were utilised, namely Self–esteem, the Generalised Perceived Self–efficacy Scale (GPSES), the Work Locus of Control Scale (WLOC) and a Safety Behaviour scale specifically designed for this study. In this research study, individual characteristics and safety behaviour is conceptualised. Individuals with a high self–esteem may have an accurate, justified, balanced appreciation of their worth or value as a person and their successes and competencies. Self–efficacy can be conceptualised as a general, stable trait, which relates to individuals' beliefs regarding the ability to mobilise their motivation, cognitive resources and actions to comply with demands from a situation. In respect of locus of control it refers to individuals' beliefs regarding their behaviour and the outcomes thereof. Individuals with an internal locus of control believe that outcomes in their lives are the result of their own internal attributes, as opposed to individuals with an external locus of control who believe that outcomes in their lives are beyond their control. Cronbach alpha coefficients and factor analysis were used to determine the reliability and validity of the tests. Descriptive statistics (means, standard deviations, skewness and kurtosis) were used in the compiling of the profile of safety behaviour and individual characteristics as manifested in the group. In summary, results of the present study indicate that Self–esteem, Work Locus of Control, and Generalised Self–efficacy are significant predictors of safety behaviour. However, there is much to be known about the exact nature of the traits (whether or not these are indicators of the broader core self–evaluations construct) and the processes by which they affect these outcomes. In light of the similar correlations of the traits with satisfaction and performance observed here, and the high correlations among the traits, future research considering these traits together appears warranted. Recommendations for further research were made, as well as recommendations with regard to the company concerned.