Predictors of Attitudes Toward Non-Technical Skills in Farming

Amy Irwin, Jill Poots

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: Farming is a high risk sector with up to 170,000 worldwide fatalities reported per year; it is therefore vital to identify methods of mitigating the dangers of this industry. Research within high-risk industries, such as aviation, shipping, and agriculture, has identified the importance of non-technical skills (NTS) in maintaining effective, safe performance and reducing error and injury. However, there is a lack of research evaluating factors that may contribute to NTS attitudes and behaviors. As a first step to address this literature gap the current study evaluated a range of individual and environmental factors as potential predictors of attitudes towards NTS in agriculture.

Method: A sample of 170 farmers from within the United Kingdom and Ireland were surveyed using an online questionnaire. The questionnaire included measures of personality, stress, attitudes towards safety (safety climate, motivation, and risk), environmental stressors (workload, work-life imbalance) and non-technical skills (team and lone worker).

Results: Attitudes towards safety climate, compliance and motivation showed a significant association with both team-based and lone worker NTS. Conscientiousness correlated positively with the majority of the NTS elements. Multiple regression analysis indicated neuroticism and conscientiousness demonstrated capacity to predict NTS attitudes. Concerns about costs and equipment, attitudes towards safety climate and safety motivation were also found to be significant predictors of NTS attitudes.

Conclusion: The results indicate the utility of individual characteristics, and environmental factors when predicting farming NTS attitudes. As a result these elements could be important when evaluating engagement with NTS, and developing NTS training initiatives in agriculture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-69
Number of pages10
JournalJournal Agromedicine
Issue number1
Early online date27 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This research was funded by the University of Aberdeen.


  • non-technical skills
  • safety
  • farming
  • attitudes
  • personality


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