Starting with initiatives dating back to the mid-1800s, this presentation will provide a high-level review of the key events, trends, developments, and pioneers in the application of psychology to the field of occupational safety. The discussion will be organized around three time periods characterized by major historical events, legislative developments, and applied research contributions that have led to significant advances in worker and workplace safety. Major lessons learned over the last 100+ years will be summarized with respect to our understanding of individual differences as predictors of safe work behavior, the efficacy of worker safety training, the role of frontline supervisors, and the criticality of a positive safety climate and culture.
Michael Burke is the Lawrence Martin Chair in Business at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business. Prior to moving to New Orleans, Professor Burke was an Associate Professor of Management at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Presently, his research and practice efforts are focused in the areas of workplace safety and organizational research methodology. In 2006, he was awarded the Decade of Behavior Research Award for his research on workplace safety from a federation of professional scientific associations and, he has served, by appointment of the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, on the Safety and Occupational Health Study Section of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Professor Burke is a Past-President of SIOP and former Editor of Personnel Psychology.