Safety Culture Research, Lead Indicators, and the Development of Safety Effectiveness Indicators in the Construction Sector

By H. C. Biggs, D. P. Dingsdag, P. J. Kirk and D. Cipolla.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Construction sector application of Lead Indicators generally and Positive Performance Indicators (PPIs) particularly, are largely seen by the sector as not providing generalizable indicators of safety effectiveness. Similarly, safety culture is often cited as an essential factor in improving safety performance, yet there is no known reliable way of measuring safety culture. This paper proposes that the accurate measurement of safety effectiveness and safety culture is a requirement for assessing safe behaviours, safety knowledge, effective communication and safety performance. Currently there are no standard national or international safety effectiveness indicators (SEIs) that are accepted by the construction industry. The challenge is that quantitative survey instruments developed for measuring safety culture and/ or safety climate are inherently flawed methodologically and do not produce reliable and representative data concerning attitudes to safety. Measures that combine quantitative and qualitative components are needed to provide a clear utility for safety effectiveness indicators.

Keywords: Safe Behaviours, Safety Knowledge, Effective Communication, Lead Indicators, Safety Culture, Safety Climate

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.133-140. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 606.241KB).

H. C. Biggs

Director of Service, Innovation, and Engagement, School of Psychology and Counselling, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation , Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Dr. Herbert Biggs is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. Herbert is also a senior research consultant to CARRS-Q and has an extensive background in organisational psychology and rehabilitation counselling. His research interests include organisational change, occupational stress, rehabilitation counselling, therapeutic models in the counselling process, competency attainment in driving tasks, fatigue and vigilance in industrial settings, and occupational health and safety in the construction sector. Since 2004, he has been project leader or chief investigator in several competitively funded research projects in safety competency frameworks, safety leadership and safety effectives indicator development.

D. P. Dingsdag

Senior Lecturer and Consultant Occupational Safety and Health, School of Natural Sciences, College of Health and Science, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Dr. Don Dingsdag has been a Senior Lecturer in OHS in the School of Natural Sciences at UWS- Hawkesbury since 1999. Dr. Dingsdag can claim to have a demonstrated ability to attract research funding jointly with others and on his own which is recognised by his peers and in industry in three main areas; in OH&S, learning development and information technology transfer for SMEs. In research, he has won either as project leader or with others eleven competitive grants since 1994. Of this total there were seven competitive external grants specifically in safety management, safety culture development and injury. Two of these grants were in community learning development in technology and technology transfer.

P. J. Kirk

School of Psychology and Counselling, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Philip Kirk was for 2006-2009 the Principal Research Officer on a CRC Construction Innovation project on Safety Effectiveness Indicators. Philip has a background in psychology, anthropology and engineering. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

D. Cipolla

John Holland Group, Australia

Dean Cipolla is Group safety Manager with the John Holland Group, Australia. Dean’s expertise is widely sought in the construction sector. Since 2004 he has been a Project Leader on several CRC Construction Innovation projects and has represented the sector as a keynote speaker at a number of national and international industry and academic conferences. He currently is a member of an Industry Advisory panel to the Australian Federal Safety Commissioner.

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