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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: 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…

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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: 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: 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: 3 August 2020

Sainan Lyu, Carol K.H. Hon, Albert P.C. Chan, Arshad Ali Javed, Rita Peihua Zhang and Francis K.W. Wong

Previous studies have highlighted that communication barrier was one of the major safety problems faced by ethnic minority (EM) workers. This study aims to model the…

Abstract

Purpose

Previous studies have highlighted that communication barrier was one of the major safety problems faced by ethnic minority (EM) workers. This study aims to model the predominant safety communication networks of EM crews and explore the relationships among safety communication networks, individual attributes, safety climate, near misses and injuries of EM crews.

Design/methodology/approach

Case studies were conducted with EM crews in the Hong Kong construction industry. Demographic attribute, network, safety climate and accidents data were collected through questionnaires and analyzed by a combination of social network analysis (SNA), cross-case comparison and nonparametric tests.

Findings

The results revealed that language proficiency, network density and level of reciprocity were contributing factors of distinguishing high and low safety performing EM crews. EM management received more safety information from EM workers than local management. The centrality of EM workers was significantly related to their age, the perceived priority of safety and language ability.

Practical implications

The research findings regarding the impact of safety communication network characteristics on the safety performance of EM crews provides insights to employers on how to cultivate effective safety communication patterns within EM crews that can lead to better safety performance. The connections between personal attributes and their positions in safety communication networks could help the employers identify the EM workers who are positioned on edges of networks and need more attention.

Originality/value

This study contributes to knowledge by enriching the limited research on analyzing safety communication of small construction crews using SNA and expanding the research object to EM construction crews in the literature, who are more vulnerable to construction accidents. This research also extends the existing body of knowledge from studies mainly carried out in Western culture to Eastern culture. Although safety communication has been regarded as important for EM workers, there is a lack of quantitative analysis on this at a crew level. The present study provides empirical research to reveal authentic safety communication networks and their connections with safety performance and personal attributes.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2012

Peihua Zhang and Fung Fai Ng

The purpose of this paper is to employ the theory of reasoned action (TRA) as a theoretical framework to investigate factors affecting individuals' attitudes toward…

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3267

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to employ the theory of reasoned action (TRA) as a theoretical framework to investigate factors affecting individuals' attitudes toward knowledge sharing in construction teams in Hong Kong. Specifically, the factors are analyzed from a cost and benefit perspective grounded in social exchange theory.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory study using semi‐structured interviews is conducted first to explore context‐specific cost and benefit factors. Based on the exploratory study results and TRA, a research model and hypotheses are developed. A questionnaire survey is then conducted among professionals working in contractors in Hong Kong. The quantitative data are analyzed using structural equation modelling.

Findings

The research results indicate that individuals' attitudes toward knowledge sharing are positively affected by knowledge self‐efficacy and knowledge feedback, while negatively affected by losing face. Further, it is revealed that attitude toward knowledge sharing significantly determines intention to share knowledge, which then determines knowledge sharing behavior.

Originality/value

The paper is one of the first to employ existing theories in social psychology to examine knowledge sharing behavior in the construction sector. The research results provide important implications for construction companies to promote knowledge sharing in project teams.

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