Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Valentina Bruk-Lee

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Chockalingam Viswesvaran

Third Advisor's Name

Jesse Michel

Fourth Advisor's Name

Thomas Reio


safety performance, personnel selection, job performance

Date of Defense



The present dissertation consists of two studies that combine personnel selection, safety performance, and job performance literatures to answer an important question: are safe workers better workers? Study 1 tested a predictive model of safety performance to examine personality characteristics (conscientiousness and agreeableness), and two novel behavioral constructs (safety orientation and safety judgment) as predictors of safety performance in a sample of forklift loaders/operators (N = 307). Analyses centered on investigating safety orientation as a proximal predictor and determinant of safety performance. Study 2 replicated Study 1 and explored the relationship between safety performance and job performance by testing an integrative model in a sample of machine operators and construction crewmembers (N = 323). Both Study 1 and Study 2 found conscientiousness, agreeableness, and safety orientation to be good predictors of safety performance. While both personality and safety orientation were positively related to safety performance, safety orientation proved to be a more proximal determinant of safety performance. Across studies, results surrounding safety judgment as a predictor of safety performance were inconclusive, suggesting possible issues with measurement of the construct. Study 2 found a strong relationship between safety performance and job performance. In addition, safety performance served as a mediator between predictors (conscientiousness, agreeableness and safety orientation) and job performance. Together these findings suggest that safe workers are indeed better workers, challenging previous viewpoints to the contrary. Further, results implicate the viability of personnel selection as means of promoting safety in organizations.





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