Leadership for safety: industrial experience

Rhona Flin, Steven Yule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Citations (Scopus)


The importance of leadership for effective safety management has been the focus of research attention in industry for a number of years, especially in energy and manufacturing sectors. In contrast, very little research into leadership and safety has been carried out in medical settings. A selective review of the industrial safety literature for leadership research with possible application in health care was undertaken. Emerging findings show the importance of participative, transformational styles for safety performance at all levels of management. Transactional styles with attention to monitoring and reinforcement of workers' safety behaviours have been shown to be effective at the supervisory level. Middle managers need to be involved in safety and foster open communication, while ensuring compliance with safety systems. They should allow supervisors a degree of autonomy for safety initiatives. Senior managers have a prime influence on the organisation's safety culture. They need to continuously demonstrate a visible commitment to safety, best indicated by the time they devote to safety matters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-51
Number of pages7
JournalQuality & safety in health care
Issue numberSuppl 2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


  • supervisory practices
  • accident prevention
  • occupational safety
  • intervention model
  • member exchange
  • health care
  • quality
  • behavior
  • management
  • climate


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