Age and workers' perceptions of workplace safety: a comparative study

Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2009;68(2):171-84. doi: 10.2190/AG.68.2.d.


The study examined the relationship between age and (i) safety perception; (ii) job satisfaction; (iii) compliance with safety management policies; and (iv) accident frequency. Participants were Ghanaian industrial workers (N=320) categorized into 4 age groups: 19-29 years; 30-39 years; 40-50 years; and 51 years and above. Workplace safety perception was assessed with Hayes, Perander, Smecko, and Trask's (1998) 50-item Work Safety Scale (WSS): a scale that effectively captures the dimensions identified by safety experts to influence perceptions of workplace safety. ANOVA was used to test for differences in the mean scores of the 4 groups. Post Hoc analysis revealed differences of statistical significance between the 2 younger cohorts and the 2 older cohorts. The results indicated a positive association between age and safety perception. Older workers had the best perceptions on safety, indicated the highest level of job satisfaction, were the most compliant with safety procedures, and recorded the lowest accident involvement rate. From a practical perspective, understanding age-related perceptions of workplace safety would benefit management's decisions regarding workers' adaptability, general work effectiveness, accident frequency, implementation of safety management policies, and handling of age-related accident characteristics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cohort Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Ghana
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health* / statistics & numerical data
  • Perception*
  • Workplace / psychology*