Attitudes towards risk taking and rule breaking in Australian workplaces


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This paper reports on the attitudes of Australian workers towards accepting risk taking and rule breaking in the workplace.  

It’s based on the research brief and outcomes from the Perceptions of Work Health and Safety Survey 2012-–13, such as: 

  • workers were more likely to accept risk taking than their bosses 
  • labourers were generally more accepting of risk taking and much more accepting of rule breaking compared to workers in other occupations 
  • compared to the other priority industries, transport, postal and warehousing employers were much more likely to agree to break safety rules to complete work on time and were more accepting of risk taking at work. 

These findings may help explain the high rates of injuries and deaths for labourers and people in the transport, postal and warehousing industry at the time.  

The paper suggests that workplace cultures of workers are likely to play a role in accepting risk taking and rule breaking. 

Attitudes towards risk taking and rule breaking in the workplace relate to the ‘leadership and culture’ action area in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022

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Managing health and safety
Research and studies
The work environment
Leadership and culture
Identify, assess and control hazards
Workplace culture research