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Program overview | Projects

Construction Site Safety Culture [Cipolla, John Holland]2003-050-A

Project participants and team members


Dean Cipolla
Bovis Lend Lease Tom McFadyen, Linda Sokolich
John Holland Dean Cipolla - Project leader
Queensland University of Technology Herbert Biggs, Craig Furneaux, Neal Ryan
University of Western Sydney Don Dingsdag, Vaughn Sheahan

Project description

It is not uncommon to see two construction projects/sites which have robust Safety Management Systems in place, which have similar scopes of work, technology and employ similar trades, but which have vastly differing safety performance.

The elements which set the two apart are often the skills, knowledge competencies, understanding, attitudes, behaviours, norms and ultimate commitment of Line Management & Supervision to site/project safety. Another element is that much of the critical skills and know how are lost because of the transient nature of the construction labour process and the workforce including the reliance on sub contractors.

It is proposed that over a period of two years the project team conducts research in three key areas of safety management in construction sites in each of the metropolitan centres of Australia:
1. Which management & supervisory positions within a construction company/project are critical to safety performance (Safety Critical Positions);
2. What types of competencies/skills/knowledge/behaviours are required to shape the understanding, attitudes, behavioural competencies, norms and ultimate commitment of Line Management & Supervision to site/project safety and safety culture.
3. What type of training packages and learning tools are in place and to link their effectiveness to individual site and industry OHS outcomes and safety performance.

In order to ensure validity of the data collected the project team intends to sample by random selection at least two large and two medium sized construction organisations/principal contractors using structured interview and focus groups in each metropolitan area as well as two small to medium organisations; typically sub contractors who employ five to thirty workers. In addition, the team proposes to obtain data from at least two government OHS Field Officers or Team Leaders in each jurisdiction and representation from the Building Employees Redundancy Trust (BERT). If established, the Office of The Federal Safety Commissioner would also be involved in the research. On the basis of the data obtained by structured interviews on site, it is also proposed to develop and administer a survey instrument throughout the industry on representative sampling frames. A reference group of five people will be established for this project and will meet quarterly. The reference group will comprise of representatives from BERT, National Occupational Health and Safety Commission.
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