SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHN622986
Module Leader Billy Hare
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Construction and Surveying
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Causes of occupational accidents and ill health, Management theory and practice.

Summary of Content

The main aim of the module is to enable students to develop an understanding of theories underpinning 'Safety Leadership' and its interaction with safety management. Students will reflect on key concepts, issues and debates relating to the development and role of Safety Culture, Safety Climate and how these combine with management to influence human behaviour. They will evaluate the various methods of organisational and leadership strategies in relation to workers' safety behaviour. This leads to the topics of 'Behavioural Safety' and 'Worker Engagement', reviewing a more 'bottom up' approach to improving the management of health and safety. Combining these elements with an established safety management system will allow the students to understand how human influencing factors can be integrated with more traditional risk management skills.


The concept of health and safety leadership will be explained, using a combination of academic literature and HSE guidance on the subject. This is primarily aimed at senior managers and is strategic in nature. The module addresses more advanced theories for improving health and safety performance. As such, the concepts of safety culture and safety climate will be covered. The differences between the two will be explained, followed by case studies to explain the main theoretical constructs. The actions and behaviour of managers, in relation to how these can influence behaviour of subordinates, will be discussed in depth. Theories on how leadership characteristics (e.g. transformational vs. transactional) will be explained, along with good practice behaviours that demonstrate health and safety leadership. These theories represent 'top-down' strategies, and will be complemented by discussion on 'bottom-up' strategies of behavioural safety and worker engagement. The theory of behavioural safety will be covered before moving to the more recently developed strategy of worker engagement. The latter is seen as a sub-component of the former in the guise of employee participation. However, the evolution of this into an area of study in its own right will be explored, along with examples of each approach in practice. The module concludes by understanding how these various 'human influencing' factors can be practically integrated with traditional models of health and safety management i.e. Safety Management Systems (SMS).

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:1. Discuss theories of safety culture and climate in relation to the management of health and safety (A3, B3, B6, C1, C6, D2, D3, D7) 2. Discuss theories of leadership characteristics in relation to the health and safety of subordinates (A3, B3, B6, C1, C6, D2, D3, D7) 3. Evaluate how strategies developed from culture, climate and leadership theories influence safety behaviour (A6, B1, B5, C2, C3, C4, D1, D4, D8, D10) 4. Discuss theories of behavioural safety and worker engagement (A2, B2, B6, C1, C2, C3, C5, D2, D3, D7, D 12, D14)5. Evaluate methods of involving workers in the management of health and safety to develop solutions (A6, B1, B5, C2, C3, C4, D1, D4, D8, D10) 6. Discuss how to integrate human influencing factors with traditional safety management systems (A2, A3, A6, B1, B2, B5, B6, C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, D1, D2, D3, D4, D7, D8, D10, D14)All: A2, A3, A6, B1, B2, B5, B6, C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, D1, D2, D3, D4, D7, D8, D10, D12, D14

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module will be delivered via a combination of lectures, tutorials, directed and independent learning. Materials will be produced on GCU Learn to support the delivery of the learning outcomes. Within a traditional lecture and seminar format, projects and case studies will be approached using problem based learning.

Indicative Reading

Cooper D (1997) Improving Safety Culture: A Practical Guide, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN-10: 0471958212, ISBN-13: 978-0471958215 Crutchfield & Roughton (2013) Safety Culture: An Innovative Leadership Approach, Butterworth-Heinemann, ISBN-10: 0123964962, ISBN-13: 978-0123964960 Zohar, D., (2003). "Safety Climate: Conceptual and Measurement Issues". In: J. Quick & L. Tetrick (Eds.), Handbook of Organizational Health Psychology. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association (2003, pp. 123-142) Zohar, D., (2003). "The Influence of Leadership and Climate on Occupational Health and Safety". In: D. Hofman & L. Tetrick (Eds.), Health and Safety in Organizations: A Multilevel Perspective. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Frontiers Book Series (2003, pp. 201-230) Stranks (2007) Human Factors and Behavioural Safety, 1 st Edition HSE (2006) An investigation of approaches to worker engagement, RR516, HMSO HSE (2013) Managing for Health and Safety (HSG 65), HMSO

Transferrable Skills

Critical thinking and problem solving Knowledge and understanding in the context of the subject Independent working Planning, monitoring, reviewing and evaluation of own learning Group Working skills Communication skills, written, oral and listening

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 140.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Assessment (FT) 24.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 60.00 35% 4 questions from 6, Unseen exam
Coursework 1 n/a 40.00 35% Assignment 2000 words