Safety specific transformational leadership, safety motivation and personal protective equipment use among firefighters


Health Promotion and Physical Education

Document Type


Publication Date



© 2020 Elsevier Ltd Personal protective equipment (PPE) use, although normally the last line of preferred hazard control, is vital to protecting firefighters. It is vital that research identify factors that positively influence firefighter behaviors associated with PPE use. Data were collected from 742 career firefighters working for metropolitan fire departments in both the eastern and western United States. Structural equation modeling was used to assess the hypothesized model and relationships between safety-specific transformational leadership, safety motivation and effective use of personal protective equipment. Safety-specific transformational leadership was positively associated with firefighter safety motivation and safety motivation was positively associated with personal protective equipment use. There was also a significant direct relationship between safety-specific transformational leadership and personal protective equipment use. Transformational leadership has not been an emphasis in the fire service because of its hierarchical structure and paramilitary-like traditions. Current fire service stakeholders have called for changes in leadership strategies and the overall culture within the fire service. This research provides additional evidence that safety-specific transformational leadership can bolster safety motivation among firefighters and can result in enhanced safety performance, including the proper and effective use of personal protective equipment.

Journal Title

Safety Science

Journal ISSN




Digital Object Identifier (DOI)