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Measuring the impact of a psychological contract for health and safety

Burns, C. (2007) Measuring the impact of a psychological contract for health and safety. People Management. p. 50. ISSN 1358-6297

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Safe behaviour at work is a managerial challenge. Traditionally, research into occupational health and safety has focused on safety culture and safety climate to explain risk-taking and safety behaviours. Managers in high-hazard industries have therefore concentrated on creating positive safety cultures and climates. Recently, I proposed that a "psychological contract for health and safety" may offer an alternative explanation for individual risk-taking and safety behaviours at work. The psychological contract is used to explain general areas of the employment relationship and has been investigated by examining the fulfilment of promises or obligations from both employees' and employers' perspectives. I saw an employee's psychological contract for health and safety as perceptions and expectations about the employers' health and safety obligations and promises, and the extent to which these were perceived to have been fulfilled.