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Increasing Workers’ Health and Safety Engagement: A Ford Bridgend Engine Plant Case Study

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posted on 18.01.2022, 10:15 authored by Franziska Homann

From 2019 to 2020, 11,245 UK-manufacturing workers were injured at work. It has been reported that health and safety (H&S) behaviour and compliance are positive outcomes of increased work engagement (WE), suggesting that research on WE and H&S engagement is warranted in relation to production-line workers. WE, which is often defined as a worker’s psychological state of vigour, dedication and absorption, is beneficial for workers and employers as it motivates them to ‘go the extra mile’ to ensure H&S for all. This is recognised within the concept of Safety-II which views humans as clever, proactive, flexible resources in safety management, showing resilience and, through their performance variability, pre- vent adverse events. The research presented in this thesis integrates the concepts of WE and Safety-II and generates a novel intervention framework that aims to increase both, WE and Safety-II principles.

Based in a Welsh production plant, this research was designed to: 1) explore the crucial factors that promote ‘engagement with H&S’, and 2) develop a practical intervention to be applied within production environments to enhance WE towards H&S.

After critically evaluating the literature on WE and Safety-II, the workers’ drivers of H&S engagement were analysed. Then, critical literature reviews identified best practice in engagement interventions for production environments. An intervention framework was then designed utilising a structural change in the organisation by implementing co-design structures, that were qualitatively evaluated with regard to feasibility and transferability on hypothetical grounds.

This is the first study that integrates the concepts of WE and Safety-II in production-line workers. Additionally, it offers a practical intervention framework for companies to incorporate Safety-II principles and increase WE to improve H&S climate and behaviour. Furthermore, the research adds to the limited body of qualitative insights into production-line workers’ perceptions of WE in the context of H&S practice, and engagement intervention research, developing assessable guidelines for practitioners.





School of Sport and Health Sciences