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Examining the perception of site workers of their risk-taking behaviours on construction sites in Ghana

Frederick Owusu Danso (Department of Building Technology, Takoradi Technical University, Takoradi, Ghana)
Kofi Agyekum (Department of Construction Technology and Management, Building Performance Laboratory, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)
Patrick Manu (Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Emmanuel Adinyira (Cidb Centre of Excellence, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa) (Department of Construction Technology and Management, Building Performance Laboratory, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)
Divine K. Ahadzie (Centre for Settlements Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)
Edward Badu (Department of Building Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 9 March 2023

253

Abstract

Purpose

Although many health and safety (H&S) studies have widely examined safety risk perception in the construction industry, few studies have explored how this perception influences site workers' risk-taking behaviours during construction. This study aims to examine how construction site workers perceive and judge safety risks in risk-taking behaviours of site workers for intervention safety policy framework that may encourage safe work.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employed Pictorial-based Q-Methodology, which documented 63 picture scenarios of risk-taking behaviours from building sites and submitted them for validation from H&S inspectors. In total, 33 pictures emerged as having great potential to cause harm. After using these 33 pictures to elicit data from randomised site workers, the study used Frequency Tabulation, Relative Importance Index (RII) and Kruskal–Wallis Test to analyse the collected data. To fully explain the analysed data for deeper understanding, the study conducted Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with these site workers to share the thoughts of site workers on these pictures.

Findings

Two distinctive pictures emerged from these analyses: one showing risk-taking behaviour likely to contract internal and skin disease and the other likely to fall from height. One of the implications is that construction site workers are unfamiliar with the dangerous contaminants in the materials the site workers use to work, which can potentially harm the site workers' skin and internal organs. Hence, site workers continue engaging in risk-taking behaviours. The other is that site workers are aware of and can mention catastrophic physical injuries attached to site workers' jobs. However, site workers continue engaging in risk-taking behaviours because of site workers' safety plights and rely on the favour and mercies of a supreme being as coping strategies to escape from these physical injuries.

Originality/value

This study is original in that the study uses picture scenarios of risk-taking behaviours to amass an empirical-based understanding of how site workers perceive and respond to H&S risks during construction. This piece of evidence is missing in the numerous research studies in this area. Again, the findings contribute to the state-of-the-art literature regarding risk-taking behaviours on construction sites.

Keywords

Citation

Danso, F.O., Agyekum, K., Manu, P., Adinyira, E., Ahadzie, D.K. and Badu, E. (2023), "Examining the perception of site workers of their risk-taking behaviours on construction sites in Ghana", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-02-2022-0113

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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