A meta-analysis of personality and workplace safety: Addressing unanswered questions

Jeremy M. Beus, Lindsay Y. Dhanani, Mallory A. McCord

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


The purpose of this meta-analysis was to address unanswered questions regarding the associations between personality and workplace safety by (a) clarifying the magnitude and meaning of these associations with both broad and facet-level personality traits, (b) delineating how personality is associated with workplace safety, and (c) testing the relative importance of personality in comparison to perceptions of the social context of safety (i.e., safety climate) in predicting safety-related behavior. Our results revealed that whereas agreeableness and conscientiousness were negatively associated with unsafe behaviors, extraversion and neuroticism were positively associated with them. Of these traits, agreeableness accounted for the largest proportion of explained variance in safety-related behavior and openness to experience was unrelated. At the facet level, sensation seeking, altruism, anger, and impulsiveness were all meaningfully associated with safety-related behavior, though sensation seeking was the only facet that demonstrated a stronger relationship than its parent trait (i.e., extraversion). In addition, meta-analytic path modeling supported the theoretical expectation that personality's associations with accidents are mediated by safety-related behavior. Finally, although safety climate perceptions accounted for the majority of explained variance in safety-related behavior, personality traits (i.e., agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism) still accounted for a unique and substantive proportion of the explained variance. Taken together, these results substantiate the value of considering personality traits as key correlates of workplace safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-498
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


  • Accidents
  • Five-factor model
  • Personality
  • Safety
  • Safety climate


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