Construction: A culture for concern?

Rawlinson, Fred and Farrell, Peter (2008) Construction: A culture for concern? In: 24th Annual ARCOM Conference, 1-3 September 2008, Cardiff, UK.

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A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) study into 100 accidents found that poor safety culture was a key factor in over half of incidents reviewed. A culture can be defined as beliefs of society, represented through words and actions, ideas of what is held as important and expectations of acceptable behaviour. Clients arguably instil a culture of speed by placing great emphasis on completion of projects to time and cost budgets. Employers and operatives routinely promote piecework payments and transitory methods of employment; productivity is king. A predominantly male environment promotes a macho culture affecting certain behaviours including risk taking, bravado and high levels of physical exertion. The World Health Organisation has stated that ‘masculinity may be hazardous to health’. Safety culture is just one facet of site culture as a whole. Australian research shows there is a strong perception that culture of the construction industry can inhibit adoption of a proactive safety culture. The objective of this study is to establish and gain understanding about the areas of potential friction between site and safety culture. A literature review has been undertaken and qualitative data collected through six in-depth interviews. The population is operatives working for members of the Major Contractors Group (MCG) on large projects. In addition to the need for safety training, education is also required to bring about an understanding of the principles and creation of a belief in the system; but to educate many operatives to desired levels represents a considerable challenge. A fundamental cultural change is also required within the industry itself, and further conclusions are still under development. The study is at the early stage of a PhD.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: education, culture, health and safety, operatives
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Mohammed Gohrabian
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2016 15:36
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2022 15:21

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