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Article
Publication date: 16 April 2018

Rita Peihua Zhang, Payam Pirzadeh, Helen Lingard and Steve Nevin

The purpose of this paper is to use a longitudinal approach to measure safety climate at construction projects, and explore the relationship between safety climate and the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to use a longitudinal approach to measure safety climate at construction projects, and explore the relationship between safety climate and the level of project completion in the dynamic construction project environments.

Design/methodology/approach

Multi-wave safety climate surveys were conducted at four processing plant construction projects in New Zealand. Safety climate was measured with a multi-level measurement instrument, which measured construction workers’ perceptions of client’s organisational safety response (COSR), principal contractor’s organisational safety response (PCOSR), supervisors’ safety response (SSR) and co-workers’ safety response (CWSR).

Findings

At the organisational level, the research identifies a general downward change trend in workers’ perceptions of COSR and PCOSR. At the group level, no clear or consistent change trend is identified between the level of project completion and workers’ perceptions of SSR and CWSR.

Research limitations/implications

The research suggests that the construction project management should consistently emphasise the importance of safety, even when they are facing production pressure. The research highlights the opportunity to examine the role of supervisors’ leadership as an antecedent to the group-level safety climate and the development of workers’ safety concerns for their co-workers over time.

Originality/value

This research provides the starting point for understanding safety climate in the dynamic and constantly changing construction project environments, in which the relative priorities change, adverse events arise and production pressures fluctuate over time.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 24 August 2018

David Oswald, Rita Peihua Zhang, Helen Lingard, Payam Pirzadeh and Tiendung Le

The purpose of this paper is to present a critical review of the use of safety performance indicators in the construction industry. The authors consider the strengths…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a critical review of the use of safety performance indicators in the construction industry. The authors consider the strengths, limitations and managerial consequences associated with commonly used indicators.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors combine two separate data sets in this critical review. These include 32 semi-structured interviews with construction industry representatives involved in the collection and reporting of safety indicators, as well as a multi-level safety climate survey that was conducted at 12 construction sites across Australia.

Findings

The analysis provides new evidence that, in their current use, commonly used H&S indicators are subject to manipulation and misinterpretation. Their usefulness as tools to support safety management activities in construction projects and organisations needs to be understood in the context of their limitations. In particular, safety indicators do not reflect the full set of factors that affect workplace safety and there will always be disagreement about what should be counted and how.

Originality/value

As a result of the substantial shortcomings of safety indicators, great care needs to be taken when using them to determine or evaluate organisational safety policy and practices.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 25 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 8 July 2019

Helen Lingard, Rita Peihua Zhang and David Oswald

The leadership style and communication practices of supervisors in the Australian construction industry were measured. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the…

Abstract

Purpose

The leadership style and communication practices of supervisors in the Australian construction industry were measured. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of leadership style and communication practices of Australian construction supervisors on workgroup health and safety (H&S) climate and behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire was administered to members of 20 workgroups engaged in rail construction work on the Level Crossing Removal Project and the Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project in Victoria, Australia. The survey measured components of supervisors’ transformational and transactional leadership, communication practices, the group H&S climate and workers’ self-reported H&S compliance and participation.

Findings

Supervisors’ transformational and transactional leadership, as well as communication practices, were all positively and significantly correlated with group H&S climate and workers’ self-reported H&S behaviours. The transformational leadership component of providing an appropriate model was the strongest predictor of H&S participation, while H&S compliance was predicted by the transactional leadership component of providing contingent reward, as well as supervisors’ communication practices. H&S climate fully mediated the relationship between supervisory leadership and workers’ self-reported H&S behaviour.

Originality/value

The research demonstrates that both transformational and transactional supervisory leadership are important in the construction context. Effective communication between supervisors and workers is also important for H&S. The findings suggest that supervisory leadership development programmes may be an effective way to improve H&S performance in predominantly subcontracted construction workgroups.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 3 February 2021

Nor Haslinda Abas, Nick Blismas and Helen Lingard

The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of a risk assessment model to assess the occupational safety and health (OSH) risks presented by different…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of a risk assessment model to assess the occupational safety and health (OSH) risks presented by different construction approaches, namely traditional and industrialised building system (IBS). The development process applies the concept of argumentation theory, which helps construction designers integrate the management of OSH risk into the design process. In addition, an energy damage model is used as an underpinning framework for developing the model.

Design/methodology/approach

Development of the model was achieved through two phases. Phase I involved collection of data on the activities involved in the construction process and their associated OSH risks, derived from five different case studies, field observation and interviews. Knowledge of design aspects that have the potential to impact on OSH was obtained from document analysis. Using the knowledge obtained in phase I, a model was developed in the form of argument trees (Phase II), which represent a reasoning template with regard to options available to designers when they make judgements about aspects of their designs. Inferences from these aspects eventually determined the magnitude of the damaging energies for every activity involved. Finally, the model was validated by panels of experts, and revisions and amendments were made to the model accordingly.

Findings

The risk assessment model development revealed that the concept of argumentation theory and energy damage model is suitable to represent design safety risk knowledge and effectively address the designer's role in making decisions in their designs and further illuminate the level of OSH risk their designs pose.

Practical implications

The developed model provides best-practice reasoning support for construction designers, which help them to understand the impact of their designs decisions on worker's safety and health, and thereby assist them to further mitigate the risk to an acceptable level.

Originality/value

This study departs from the existing tool in that the model was developed based upon the combination of argumentation theory and energy damage model. The significance of the model is discussed.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 19 February 2018

Helen Lingard, Nick Blismas, James Harley, Andrew Stranieri, Rita Peihua Zhang and Payam Pirzadeh

The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential to use infographics to capture, represent and communicate important information to construction designers, such that…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential to use infographics to capture, represent and communicate important information to construction designers, such that it improves their ability to understand the implications of design choices for construction workers’ health and safety.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on information obtained through a photographic Q-sort, supplemented with a literature review, health and safety information related to the design of a façade was collected from subject matter experts. This information was used to develop infographics representing the subject matter knowledge. A facilitated workshop was then held with 20 design professionals to engage them in a hazard identification process using a case study scenario. The designers were provided with the infographics and asked to comment upon how the infographics changed their assessments of the health and safety risks inherent in the case study building design. A sub-set of participants was interviewed to explore their perceptions of the impact and usefulness of the inforgraphics.

Findings

Infographics were developed at different levels of detail, representing potential health and safety issues associated with the site location and surroundings, the construction site environment and the detailed façade design. Workshop participants identified a number of potential health and safety issues associated with the case study scenario. However, this number increased substantially once they had viewed the infographic. Further, the health and safety issues identified when participants had access to the infographic were more likely to be less visible issues, relating to ergonomic hazards, procurement or the organisation and sequencing of work. The workshop participants who were interviewed described how the infographics enabled them to make a more global assessment of the health and safety implications of the case study building design because it helped them to understand the design in the physical construction site context. Participants also favoured the visual nature of the infographics and suggested that this format may be particularly useful to communicate important health and safety information to novice designers with limited on-site experience.

Research limitations/implications

The infographics developed in this research were relatively simple two-dimensional representations produced and presented in hard copy format. It is possible that more sophisticated forms of infographic could have produced different results. Thus, it is important that future research develops different types of infographics and rigorously evaluates their effectiveness in developing designers’ health and safety-related knowledge and improving decision making.

Practical implications

The results indicate that simple infographics can help design professionals to better understand the health and safety implications of design decisions in the context of the construction site environment. In particular, the infographics appear to have increased designers’ ability to recognize less visible health and safety-related issues. The designers interviewed also described the potential usefulness of the infographics in design workshops as a tool to stimulate discussion and develop a shared understanding of the health and safety aspects of a particular design decision or choice.

Originality/value

The value of the research lies in the development and evaluation of infographics as a tool supports the integration of health and safety into design decision making. The potential to develop these tools into digital or web-based resources is also significant.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 13 March 2020

Salman Shooshtarian, Helen Lingard and Peter S.P. Wong

In an attempt to create national harmonisation of legislation, a set of model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations were developed in Australia. These regulations…

Abstract

Purpose

In an attempt to create national harmonisation of legislation, a set of model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations were developed in Australia. These regulations require principal contractors to undertake specific WHS planning and coordination activities if the construction works to be completed cost AU $250,000 or more. However, there are some doubts about the usefulness of this monetary threshold. This study aimed to investigate how effective this threshold can be in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

To evaluate the performance and operation of this threshold in the Australian construction industry, this study modelled the costs of construction for four construction project scenarios – small classroom, two-storey home renovation with adjacent pool, small commercial warehouse and single-storey house (volume home builder) – under various conditions based on historical data (2011–2017) and in eight Australian jurisdictions.

Findings

Among the six study factors (i.e. the types for construction, geographical location, design specification, delivery method, contracting approach and inflation), the research found considerable variation in the operation and performance of the monetary threshold.

Originality/value

The research highlights some potential challenges associated with the use of a monetary threshold in the regulation of WHS planning in construction projects. Thus, the results are expected to contribute to addressing these challenges, leading to the development of an appropriate balance to achieve efficient and effective WHS regulation in Australia.

Details

Built Environment Project and Asset Management, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-124X

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Article
Publication date: 2 April 2019

Helen Lingard, Amanda Warmerdam and Salman Shooshtarian

In Australia, national harmonisation of occupational health and safety (OHS) regulation was pursued through the development of model Work Health and Safety legislation…

Abstract

Purpose

In Australia, national harmonisation of occupational health and safety (OHS) regulation was pursued through the development of model Work Health and Safety legislation. The model Work Health and Safety Regulations specify that construction works above a threshold cost of AU$250,000 are deemed to be construction projects requiring the appointment of a principal contractor with duties relating to OHS planning and coordination. The purpose of this paper is to explore the effectiveness of the monetary threshold as a suitable trigger for specific OHS planning and coordination duties.

Design/methodology/approach

Interviews were conducted with 46 Australian construction industry stakeholders, including union representatives, employer groups, construction firm representatives and regulators, as well as four international construction OHS experts, to explore perceptions about the effectiveness of the monetary threshold. Two construction scenarios were also modelled to test for variability in operation of the threshold by geographical location of works and design conditions.

Findings

The monetary threshold was perceived to be subject to two forms of capture problem, reflecting inadvertent capture of low risk works or failure to capture high risk works. Organisations were also reported to deliberately split contracts to avoid capture by the threshold. The cost-estimate modelling revealed inequalities and variation in the operation of the monetary threshold by geographic location and design specification.

Practical implications

The analysis suggests that limitations inherent in the use of a monetary threshold to trigger duties relating to OHS planning and coordination in construction works. Opportunities to use more sophisticated risk-based mechanisms are considered.

Originality/value

The study explores a fundamental challenge of risk-based OHS regulation, i.e., how to ensure that workers’ health and safety are adequately protected without creating an unnecessarily high regulatory burden. The research provides evidence that using a monetary value as a proxy measure for OHS risk in construction projects may be problematic.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 3 September 2019

Janet M. Nwaogu, Albert P.C. Chan, Carol K.H. Hon and Amos Darko

The demanding nature of the construction industry poses strain that affects the health of construction personnel. Research shows that mental ill health in this industry is…

Abstract

Purpose

The demanding nature of the construction industry poses strain that affects the health of construction personnel. Research shows that mental ill health in this industry is increasing. However, a review mapping the field to determine the extant of research is lacking. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to conduct a scientometric review of mental health (MH) research in the construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 145 bibliographic records retrieved from Web of Science and Scopus database were analyzed using CiteSpace, to visualize MH research outputs in the industry.

Findings

Top co-cited authors are Helen Lingard, Mei-yung Leung, Paul Bowen, Julitta S. Boschman, Peter E.D. Love, Martin Loosemore and Linda Goldenhar. Previous studies focused on healthy eating, work efficiency, occupational stress and workplace injury. Emerging research areas are centered around physiological health monitoring, work ability, and smart interventions to prevent and manage poor MH.

Research limitations/implications

Result is influenced by the citations in retrieved articles.

Practical implications

The study found that researchers in the construction industry have intensified efforts to leverage information technology in improving the health, well-being, and safety of construction personnel. Future research should focus on developing workplace interventions that incorporate organizational justice and flexible work systems. There is also a need to develop psychological self-reporting scales specific to the industry.

Originality/value

This study enhances the understanding of researchers on existing collaboration networks and future research directions. It provides information on foundational documents and authors whose works should be consulted when researching into this field.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2013

Helen Lingard, Tracy Cooke and Ehsan Gharaie

The paper analyses the nature and causes of fatal incidents involving excavators occurring in the Australian construction industry. A three-level incident causation model…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper analyses the nature and causes of fatal incidents involving excavators occurring in the Australian construction industry. A three-level incident causation model developed by researchers at Loughborough University forms the theoretical framework for this analysis, which seeks to identify immediate circumstances, shaping factors and originating influences in selected incidents.

Design/methodology/approach

Case study incidents were identified from the National Coronial Information System database. These incidents were subjected to content analysis to identify causal factors.

Findings

Ten cases were analysed in total. In all of these cases immediate circumstances could be identified. These included the use of unsafe work methods and the condition, suitability or useability of plant. In several cases shaping factors, such as communication between work-team members and the design of work processes, were identified as likely contributors to the incidents. In none of the cases could originating influences be identified.

Research limitations/implications

The research was limited by the relatively small number of cases for which detailed investigation reports were available and the fact that, for the most part, the reports focused on the immediate circumstances surrounding the incidents.

Practical implications

The circumstances of the fatal incidents in Australia are similar to those reported in the UK and the USA and the identified causes have known safety solutions. The persistence of these incidents in the Australian construction industry suggests that there may be underlying reasons why known safety solutions are not implemented. Further in-depth analysis of incident causes may help to identify organisational and/or cultural causes of incidents involving excavators.

Originality/value

The analysis provides a more detailed qualitative analysis of the causes of fatal incidents involving excavators than would is possible using national compensation data, which restricts analysis to a classification of the mechanism and agency of injury.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 20 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 16 January 2007

Helen Lingard and Valerie Francis

The paper sets out to describe the testing of a model of work and family life among a sample of professional and managerial employees in the Australian construction…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper sets out to describe the testing of a model of work and family life among a sample of professional and managerial employees in the Australian construction industry. The model positioned work‐family conflict as a variable linking experiences in one domain (i.e. work or family) with outcomes in the other domain.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey exploring experiences of work and family life was conducted among employees of one large private and one large public sector construction organization in Queensland, Australia. Regression analyses were performed to test the validity of the work‐family interface model.

Findings

The model was partially supported in that time and strain‐based demands in the work domain were linked to family functioning via work interference with family. However, time and strain‐based demands in the family domain were not linked to work role outcomes via family interference with work.

Research limitations/implications

The survey was cross‐sectional so the causal direction of relationships could not be ascertained. Longitudinal research is needed to establish the causal direction of the work‐family relationships supported by the research. Further research is also required to examine the effectiveness of strategies designed to reduce work interference with family life in the construction sector.

Practical implications

The asymmetry in the relationship between construction employees' work and family lives indicates that the family life of professional and managerial construction employees in Australia is more susceptible to interference from work than work life is susceptible to interference from family life.

Originality/value

Provides evidence that, when construction professionals and managers face obligations in one role that interfere with the enactment of a second role, performance in the second role suffers.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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