Communication as the Catalyst for Enhanced Safety Outcomes: A Multi-stakeholder Perspective

Sperling, Lynette M., Charles, Michael B., Ryan, Rachel, & Brown, Kerry A. (2008) Communication as the Catalyst for Enhanced Safety Outcomes: A Multi-stakeholder Perspective. In Brown, Kerry, Hampson, Keith, Brandon, Peter, & Pillay, Janet (Eds.) Clients Driving Construction Innovation: Benefiting from Innovation. Icon.Net Pty Ltd, Brisbane, pp. 128-135.

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Safety in the construction industry is a multifaceted issue and a major concern across the globe. According to Sawacha et al. (1999), the risk of a fatality in the United Kingdom construction industry is five times higher than that experienced in the same nation's manufacturing industry. Not only is there human cost to consider, but also economic costs (Mohamed 2000). For instance, the UK Health and Safety Executive estimated that, in 2005–06, there was an annual loss of 1.3 days per construction worker on account of work-related illness and/or injuries sustained in the workplace. Thus there is a clear imperative to introduce practices and strategies that reduce death and injury on-site. Previous research suggests that one especial area of concern in the construction industry is the general inability to effectively manage occupational health and safety (OHS). It is not well understood what constitutes good communication, who are the critical parties, and which conditions facilitate communication. Communicating safety has been the responsibility of the constructor at the construction phase, as is evidenced by the legislation and safety interventions focusing on the constructor and the leadership role that they assume on-site. To facilitate an improvement in industry safety, the relationship between clients, designers and constructors (and also subcontractors and on-site personnel in general) warrants further investigation. Facets of this relationship, including the means by which effective communication can be promoted, have largely remained unexplored. According to Hua et al. (2005), previous research into construction industry communication has focused primarily on vertical communication within the project, rather than horizontal communication between the client, designer and constructor, all of whom play key roles in the overall construction process. While many studies have underlined the importance of effective communication in achieving project success, there has been little advance concerning the operationalisation of strategies for better team communication (Thomas et al. 1999). This research will seek to determine best practice for improving client, designer and constructor multi-party communications. Moreover, the study will examine and analyse data from research conducted on 27 best practice project case studies within the Australian construction industry. The research findings provide an approach that can help in the development of an effective and more openly communicative relationship between the parties under consideration.

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ID Code: 15196
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: OHS, Construction Industry, Communication, Australia, Stakeholders
ISBN: 9781741071566
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Business and Management not elsewhere classified (150399)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Icon.Net Pty Ltd
Deposited On: 15 Oct 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:43

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