Safety representatives' views on their interaction with workers in a context of unequal power relations: An exploratory qualitative study in Barcelona (Spain)

Laia Ollé-Espluga, María Menéndez-Fuster, Carles Muntaner, Joan Benach, Montse Vergara-Duarte, María Luisa Vázquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The interaction between workers and safety representatives (SRs), a factor that determines SRs' effectiveness, is an unexplored issue within occupational health research. Methods: We undertook a qualitative exploratory interpretative-descriptive study by means of semi-structured interviews with SRs from Barcelona (Spain) to analyze the SRs' perspective on the interaction with workers and its determinants Results: SRs' interaction with workers is mainly limited to information processes and to identifying occupational hazards. Prominent factors determining this interaction are associated with the way SRs understand and carry out their role, the firm sector and size, and workers' fear of dismissal, exacerbated by changes in the labor market and the current economic crisis. Conclusions: Interaction with workers is influenced by a more prevalent technical-legal view of the SRs' role and by unequal power relations between workers and management. Poor interaction with workers might lead to decreasing SRs' effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-350
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Volume57
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Mar

Keywords

  • Interaction
  • Occupational health
  • Qualitative study
  • Safety representatives
  • Spain
  • Unions
  • Workers
  • Workers' participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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