Near Misses in High–Risk Occupations

The Role of Justice Perceptions, Distractions, and Engagement


  • Patrick L. Yorio CSP, SPHR,

    1. University of Pittsburgh
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    • Patrick L. Yorio, CSP, SPHR, is a PhD candidate in research methodology at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a lecturer in the Safety Sciences Department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and serves in various research capacities in university and government settings. Prior to his research career, he consulted domestically and internationally with both private and public organizations. His research interests focus on management systems and organizational safety performance, human behavior in organizations, and multilevel research methods. He may be reached at

  • Jan K. Wachter ScD, MBA

    1. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
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    • Jan K. Wachter, ScD, MBA, is associate professor on faculty in the Safety Sciences Department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His major areas of interest are promoting safety ethics, applying quantitative methods and approaches to the safety field, and improving human performance in safety through worker and manager engagement. He may be reached at


In this study, the authors hypothesize that safety-specific job engagement is important to prevent occupational near misses in high-risk occupations. The authors also hypothesize that safety program–focused justice perceptions and the absence of job distractions provide the workplace conditions necessary to support this engagement. Further, safety-specific job engagement mediates the prediction of occupational near misses by justice perceptions and job distractions. Results of a survey administered to 2,488 full-time employees working in the manufacturing, nuclear research and production, and mining industries provide support for the hypothesized relationships among the individual constructs and partial support for the mediation hypothesis. Through structural equation modeling, the authors found that safety-specific job engagement mediated the relationship between safety program–focused justice perceptions and near misses. Another finding was that the relationship among job distractions, safety-specific job engagement, and near misses is more complex, and a clear understanding of their relationship is subject to future investigation.