UK construction safety: a zero paradox?

Sherratt, Fred and Dainty, Andrew R. J. (2017) UK construction safety: a zero paradox? Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, 15 (2). pp. 108-116. ISSN 1477-3996

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The zero accident mantra has become embedded within the safety discourse of large UK construction organisations, but the extent to which zero-focused approaches yield reductions in accident frequency is yet to be empirically investigated. By way of an evidence-based critique, we examine the relationship between major accidents and zero approaches by drawing on Health and Safety Executive accident data over a 4 year period, together with an analysis of major contractors’ safety approaches. This reveals that working on a project subject to a zero safety policy or programme actually appears to slightly increase the likelihood of having a serious life-changing accident or fatality; a possible ‘zero paradox’. Although these findings should be treated with caution, they suggest that the apparent trend towards abandoning zero amongst some large organisations is well-founded. As such, if zero policies stymie learning whilst failing to reduce accidents, the need for a countervailing discourse is clear.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: construction industry, safety, zero paradox, zero
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Fred Sherratt
Date Deposited: 22 May 2017 11:13
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:59

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