Factors leading to unsafe behavior in the twenty first century workplace: a review

Joana Eva Dodoo, Hosam Al-Samarraie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities have received considerable attention by researchers and have led to a greater awareness about incident causation in the workplace. Most accidents and injuries emanating from workplaces are attributed to workers’ unsafe behaviors, which are also a reflection of system deficiency and hazardous work-environment. The purpose of this review was to investigate the factors contributing to workers’ unsafe behaviors. A review of 70 major empirical studies on unsafe behaviors was conducted within occupational safety and health research, and thereafter clustered into eight job domains namely: construction, healthcare, informal sector enterprises, manufacturing, mining, energy, agriculture, and multi-dimensional context. The results across these domains were reported and compared, along with their consequences and solutions. The study found that lack of adequate knowledge on safety and health, violation of safety rules, work pressure, stress and non-use of protective equipment were the main factors of unsafe behaviors. Several major solutions to these behaviors were highlighted for consideration by practitioners and policy developers. The outcomes from this review will assist safety managers in understanding how to motivate employees/workers to engage in proper safety practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-414
Number of pages24
JournalManagement Review Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date23 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Employees’ development
  • Job safety
  • Organizational factors
  • Unsafe behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management

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