Linking safety knowledge to safety behaviours: a moderated mediation of supervisor and worker safety attitudes

Kuo-Yang Kao*, Christiane Spitzmueller, Konstantin Cigularov, Candice L. Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The thousands of deaths and disabilities due to workplace accidents and injuries each year emphasize the importance of safety research. Despite occupational safety research that has contributed to identifying antecedents of safety, little is known about why and how safety knowledge leads to safety behaviours and how personal and situational factors interact to promote occupational safety. Using a multilevel, multisource, and time-lagged research design, the present study investigates whether safety knowledge affects safety behaviours through safety attitudes and further tests whether supervisory safety attitudes can impact the strength of these relationships and play a role as moderators of the proposed mediated relationship. Data were collected from workers (N = 177) and supervisors (N = 42) in a construction company in the energy industry at two time points. Results indicate full support for the moderated mediation model, demonstrating that worker safety attitudes partially mediate the relationship between safety knowledge and safety behaviours. Moreover, when supervisors had positive attitudes towards safety, both the direct relationship between worker safety attitudes and safety behaviours and the indirect relationship between safety knowledge and safety behaviours were more positive compared to when supervisors had negative safety attitudes. Theoretical and practical implications for occupational safety are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-220
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 4 Mar 2019


  • Occupational safety
  • safety attitude
  • safety behaviour
  • safety knowledge


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