A conceptual safety-oriented job demands and resources model for the fire service

Todd D. Smith (Department of Applied Health Sciences, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana, USA)
Mari-Amanda Dyal (Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia, USA)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Publication date: 7 November 2016



The purpose of this paper is to develop and present a safety-oriented job demands-resources (JD-R) model that supports the notion that excessive job demands in the fire service, when not controlled or countered, may increase firefighter burnout and diminish firefighter safety.


The approach for the present project includes a review of the JD-R literature and the presentation of a conceptual model specific to fire service organizations.


A conceptual model, relevant to fire service organizations was derived. The model argues that excessive job demands associated with workload, physical demands, emotional demands, and complexity can result in burnout if not controlled or countered. Safety-specific resources, including recovery, support, safety-specific transformational leadership and safety climate are theorized to buffer these effects and are suggested to enhance firefighter engagement. These effects are argued then to improve firefighter safety. Ultimately, the findings will help guide future research, intervention projects and workplace safety and health management programs and initiatives.


This paper and conceptual model extends the application of the JD-R model to fire service organizations. Further, the conceptual model supports the application of safety-specific job resources vs more traditional job resources as a means to enhance firefighter safety.



Smith, T.D. and Dyal, M.-A. (2016), "A conceptual safety-oriented job demands and resources model for the fire service", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 443-460. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-12-2015-0073

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