Saf Health Work.  2013 Dec;4(4):187-196.

The Core Values that Support Health, Safety, and Well-being at Work

  • 1Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, TNO Work and Employment, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands.


Health, safety, and well-being (HSW) at work represent important values in themselves. It seems, however, that other values can contribute to HSW. This is to some extent reflected in the scientific literature in the attention paid to values like trust or justice. However, an overview of what values are important for HSW was not available. Our central research question was: what organizational values are supportive of health, safety, and well-being at work?
The literature was explored via the snowball approach to identify values and value-laden factors that support HSW. Twenty-nine factors were identified as relevant, including synonyms. In the next step, these were clustered around seven core values. Finally, these core values were structured into three main clusters.
The first value cluster is characterized by a positive attitude toward people and their "being"; it comprises the core values of interconnectedness, participation, and trust. The second value cluster is relevant for the organizational and individual "doing", for actions planned or undertaken, and comprises justice and responsibility. The third value cluster is relevant for "becoming" and is characterized by the alignment of personal and organizational development; it comprises the values of growth and resilience.
The three clusters of core values identified can be regarded as "basic value assumptions" that underlie both organizational culture and prevention culture. The core values identified form a natural and perhaps necessary aspect of a prevention culture, complementary to the focus on rational and informed behavior when dealing with HSW risks.


occupational health; organizational culture; occupational safety; social responsibility; social values

MeSH Terms

Occupational Health
Organizational Culture
Social Justice
Social Responsibility
Social Values
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