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Safety culture research in the construction sector : interlocked projects in safety competency and safety effectiveness indicators

Biggs, Sarah E. & Biggs, Herbert C. (2012) Safety culture research in the construction sector : interlocked projects in safety competency and safety effectiveness indicators. In Boustras, G. & Boukas, N. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Safety and Crisis Management in the Construction, Tourism and SMEs Sectors, Brown Walker Press, EUC Cultural Center, Nicosia, Cyprus, pp. 352-363.

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Abstract

Safety culture is a concept that has long been accepted in high risk industries such as aviation, nuclear industries and mining, however, considerable research is now being undertaken within the construction sector, with varying levels of success. The current paper discusses three recent interlocked projects that have had some success in the Australian construction industry. The first project examined the development and implementation of a safety competency framework targeted at safety critical positions across first tier construction organisations. Combining qualitative and quantitative methods, the project: developed a matrix of safety critical positions (n=11) and safety managements tasks (SMTs; n=39); mapped the process steps for their acquisition and ongoing development; detailed the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for all SMTs; and outlined organisational cultural outcomes that could be anticipated in a successful implementation of the framework. The second project extended research on safety competency and leadership to develop behavioural guidelines for leaders to drive safety culture change down to second tier companies. This was designed to assist smaller construction companies to customise their own competency framework and develop implementation guidelines that match their aspirations and resources. The third interlocked project explored the use of safety effectiveness indicators (SEIs) as an industry-relevant assessment tool for reducing risk on construction sites. With direct linkages to safety competencies and safety management tasks, the SEIs are the next step towards an integrated safety cultural approach to safety and extend the concept of positive performance indicators (PPIs) by providing a valid, reliable, and user friendly measurement platform. Taken together, the results of the interlocked projects suggest that safety culture research has many potential benefits for the construction industry, particularly when research is conducted in partnership with industry stakeholders. Suggestions are made for future research, including further application and testing of the safety competency framework and aligning SEIs across construction projects of varying size, location and design.

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ID Code: 48271
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: safety culture, safety effectiveness indicators, competency, leadership, construction industry
ISBN: 978-1-61233-557-5
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > BUILDING (120200) > Building Construction Management and Project Planning (120201)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 27 Jan 2012 08:58
Last Modified: 15 May 2013 20:01

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