AbstractDespite the prevalence of unsafe behaviors on construction sites, limited attention has been paid to why and when some individuals on construction crews imitate their coworkers’ unsafe behaviors. This research proposes a theoretical model wherein coworkers’ unsafe behaviors are transmitted to other individuals through two pathways: safety silence and role stress, which includes role conflict and role ambiguity. Furthermore, the psychological contract of safety acts as a boundary condition. Empirical data were collected using a questionnaire administered to 498 Chinese construction workers and were analyzed using structural equation modeling and hierarchical linear regression. The results indicated that individuals were more prone to violate safety rules when witnessing coworkers’ unsafe behaviors. These behaviors indirectly affected individuals through safety silence and role conflict. The psychological contract of safety could mitigate the adverse effect of coworkers’ unsafe behaviors on individual safety violations and role stress. The findings contribute to the existing body of knowledge by offering a deep understanding of construction workers’ responses toward unsafe behaviors. Practically, this research will assist managers in developing appropriate strategies for preventing the spread of unsafe behaviors within construction crews.