This study examines the concept and measurement of worker's safety behavior. It shows that the traditional concept of safety behavior centered on workers' carefulness or compliance with safety rules is limited and proposes that an additional dimension, namely, workers' safety initiatives, be taken into account.
Confirmatory factor analyses were carried out for a random sample of 828 workers drawn from 9 manufacturing facilities located in the province of Quebec (Canada).
A 2-correlated congeneric factor model gave parameters in the expected direction, but the overall model was unable to reach a good fit. Separate construct analyses showed that compliance with safety rules is not a consistent dimension. The safety-initiatives dimension achieved a good fit with a high composite reliability (p=0.85).
Workers' compliance with safety rules was not structured as a unitary dimension; therefore a selective process of safety-rules compliance by workers is suggested. Each category of safety rules should be considered as 1 single dimension and measured by several specific indicators. Indicators for safety initiatives provide high reliability, and, since this dimension is an important predictor of effectiveness in accident prevention, the items tested provide a better measurement than those previously published.