The relationship between job insecurity and accident under-reporting: A test in two countries

Although the problem of accident under-reporting is increasingly recognized in the literature, less is known regarding work environment variables that predict the severity of such under-reporting. Data on perceived job insecurity and on the numbers of both accidents that were experienced and accidents that were actually reported over a period of one year were obtained from 786 employees in 24 US organizations and 563 employees in 20 Italian organizations in sectors where safety is highly relevant. Analysis of these data suggested that not only is job insecurity related to the likelihood of experiencing an accident, but also perceptions of job insecurity may serve to inhibit the reporting of accidents to appropriate company officials. Overall, the rate of accidents was lower in Italy than the United States. Moreover, in both countries, when job insecurity was low, there was little difference between the total number of experienced accidents and the number that employees reported. However, as job insecurity increased, the under-reporting of accidents increased. The implications of these results are discussed in light of the globally increasing prevalence of job insecurity in today’s workplace.