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Safety leaders’ perceptions of safety culture in a large Australasian construction organisation

Biggs, Sarah E., Banks, Tamara D., Davey, Jeremy D., & Freeman, James E. (2013) Safety leaders’ perceptions of safety culture in a large Australasian construction organisation. Safety Science, 52, pp. 3-12.

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Abstract

This paper reports safety leaders’ perceptions of safety culture in one of Australasia’s largest construction organisations. A modified Delphi method was used including two rounds of data collection. The first round involved 41 semi-structured interviews with safety leaders within the organisation. The second round involved an online quantitative perception survey, with the same sample, aimed at confirming the key themes identified in the interviews. Participants included Senior Executives, Corporate Managers, Project Managers, Safety Managers and Site Supervisors. Interview data was analysed using qualitative thematic analysis, and the survey data was analysed using descriptive statistics. Leaders’ definitions and descriptions of safety culture were primarily action-oriented and some confusion was evident due to the sometimes implicit nature of culture in organisations. Leadership was identified as a key factor for positive safety culture in the organisation, and there was an emphasis on leaders demonstrating commitment to safety, and being visible to the project-based workforce. Barriers to safety culture improvement were also identified, including the subcontractor management issues, pace of change, and reporting requirements. The survey data provided a quantitative confirmation of the interview themes, with some minor discrepancies. The findings highlight that safety culture is a complex construct, which is difficult to define, even for experts in the organisation. Findings on the key factors indicated consistency with the current literature; however the perceptions of barriers to safety culture offer a new understanding in to how safety culture operates in practice.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Scopus
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2 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 52849
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Selected Papers from the 1st International Safety and Crisis Management in the Construction, Tourism and SME Sectors
Keywords: Safety culture, Qualitative research, Leaders' perceptions, Construction industry, Modified Delphi method
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssci.2012.04.012
ISSN: 0925-7535
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 2012 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Safety Science. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Safety Science, Volume 52, 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.ssci.2012.04.012.
Deposited On: 01 Aug 2012 09:09
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2014 06:07

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