High-risk organizations are continuously striving to minimize risks and establish a safe working environment. While technology and high standards are crucial, a core aspect of an effective safety management system lies in safe human behavior. The primary aim of this study was to provide an understanding of some of the human and organizational factors that influence safety behavior of employees in the oil and gas industry.

Transformational and transactional styles of leadership were explored along with assessing safety culture with a view to understand their influence on safety behaviors. The commonly investigated form of safety behavior is Safety Compliance, which is seen as the answer to achieving positive safety results. However, in order to go above and beyond, in other words, taking ownership and accountability of safety, another form of behavior is crucial, called the Safety Citizenship Behavior (SCB), which has gained a lot of attention in the past years. In addition to leadership styles, various leader attributes (e.g. leader fairness, trust) were examined in terms of their influence in safety context.

Data was gathered from about 200 employees in the oil and gas sector using the highly recognized measures like the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire. Mediation and moderation effects were tested based on Baron and Kenny's guidelines.

The results highlighted interesting findings as they threw light on the pivotal role played by trust in influencing safety behaviors, particularly SCBs. Similar effect was seen with regards to fairness and personal identification with the leader; due to its strong correlation with trust. In addition, safety culture, which has been emphasized in the safety/risk literature over 40 years also showed up as a stronger predictor of safety compliance, whereby subordinates’ safety compliance was reinforced with a strong safety culture.

The augmentation effect of transformational leadership, which is known to build on transactional leadership were also investigated, however, the results did not offer as much support as in the literature. This brings into question the considerable emphasis placed on transformational leadership, particularly where prioritization of safety is key.

The results will aid organizations analyze their safety leadership training programs. Further, it also helps leaders understand key attributes they need to embed in interactions with their immediate and wider teams to bring about positive impact on safety. Lastly, the study also highlights the concept of SCB, which is a significant aspect in building an accountable and mindful safety culture.

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