The relationship between recruitment processes, familiarity, trust, perceived risk and safety

J Safety Res. 2009 Oct;40(5):365-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2009.08.002. Epub 2009 Sep 16.


Introduction and method: Participants' perceptions of the safety-related aspects of their organization's recruitment processes were examined, as were their perceptions of safety aspects associated with new recruits.

Results: One hundred and fifty-four professional fire fighters indicated the trust they held in the safety-related aspects of their organizations' selection and pre-start training. Perceived trust in pre-start training was negatively correlated (r=-.24, p<.01) with the risk associated with new recruits, and positively correlated (r=.50, p<.01) with ratings of trust in recruits to immediately work safely. Furthermore, trust in recruits to immediately work safely was negatively correlated (r=-.21, p<.01) with crews' safety behavior toward recruits.

Conclusions: These results are interpreted as particularly dangerous for workers, as new recruits lack familiarity with aspects of their new workplace that cannot be addressed by either selection or pre-start training, making them a risk.

Impact on industry: Organizations should actively identify new recruits, and encourage existing team members not to immediately trust new recruits to work safely.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fires*
  • Humans
  • Job Description
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health*
  • Perception*
  • Personnel Selection*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Safety Management*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trust*