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SAFETY CLIMATE, SAFETY HAZARDS AND

ORGANIZATIONAL PRACTICES IN THE


CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IN COLOMBIA

BY

LUZ STELLA MARIN RAMIREZ


Ch. E. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE COLOMBIA (1993)
M.S. UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL (2010)

SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULLFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS


FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF SCIENCE
IN WORK ENVIRONMENT
OCCUPATIONAL ERGONOMICS AND SAFETY
UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL

Signature of
Author: Date: 0

Signature of Dissertation Chair: __________


Dr. Laura Punnett

Signatures of Other Dissertation Committee Members

Committee Member Signature:


Dr. Hester Lipscomb

Committee Member Signature:


Dr. Manuel Cifuentes
UMI Number: 3581972

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SAFETY CLIMATE, SAFETY HAZARDS AND
ORGANIZATIONAL PRACTICES IN THE CONSTRUCTION
INDUSTRY IN COLOMBIA

BY
LUZ STELLA MARIN RAMIREZ

ABSTRACT OF A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO THE


DEPARTMENT OF WORK ENVIRONMENT
IN PARTIAL FULLFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS

FOR THE DEGREE OF


DOCTOR OF SCIENCE
OCCUPATIONAL ERGONOMICS AND SAFETY
UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL
2014

Dissertation Supervisor: Laura Punnett, Sc.D.


Professor, Department of Work Environment
UML Distinguished University Professor (2013-16)
ABSTRACT

The overall aim of the study was to assess perceptions of safety climate and its

potential association with the work environment conditions in the construction industry.

The study was conducted in four parts. The first part was an evaluation of the

perceptions of safety climate across different job positions at the construction sites. Using

a 50-item safety climate questionnaire, construction workers, supervisors and site

managers were surveyed to evaluate their perceptions regarding safety priorities at the

work place. It was found that perceptions of safety climate differed across hierarchical

groups, workers’ perceptions being lower than supervisors’ and manager’s perceptions.

The second part of the study examined the association between the

management safety practices implemented at the construction sites and construction

workers’ perceptions of safety climate. This study measured four groups of management

safety practices: 1) those focused on improving the worksite hazard profile; 2) those

focused on enhancing management commitment with safety; 3) those focused on

improving safety systems; and 4) those focused on promoting workers participation. This

part of the study showed that workers’ perceptions of safety climate were independent of

safety management practices implemented at the studied companies.

The third section of this study examined the association between fall hazards

and manual material risk factors and perceptions of safety climate among construction
site personnel. The presence of these hazards was assessed by direct observation and

characterized both quantitatively and quantitatively. It was found that fall hazards

observed were negatively associated with workers’ perceptions of safety climate, while

no association was identified between the presence of fall hazards and site managers’

perceptions of safety. Further, no associations were found between manual material

handling hazards and construction workers’ nor site managers’ perceptions of safety

climate.

The final section of this study was a qualitative analysis evaluating the

perceptions of safety climate from construction workers, field supervisors and site

managers on the construction sites. The perceptions of safety climate were sorted into

four levels using as a framework the socio-ecological model: individual factors,

interpersonal relationships, organizational environment, and societal factors. The

qualitative approach supported several aspects of the quantitative analysis conducted in

the first part of this study. For example, there was evidence that suffering minor injuries

was regarded as a normal part of the job and of lack of coworkers’ support when it was

needed to comply with safety procedures. Moreover, a disconnection from the work

environment realities was notable among site and project managers.

Understanding the nature of the relationships between safety climate,

organizational practices, and hazards conditions at the construction workplace is

important in order to effectively diagnose underlying causes of safety gaps and develop

comprehensive safety interventions to enhance workers’ safety and health at the

construction sites.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

First, I would like to thank my advisor Dr. Laura Punnett for her insight, intellectual
challenge, and encouragement. She gave me the perfect balance of freedom and support
that was needed to shape this research.

Next I thank my committee, Dr. Hester Lipscomb and Dr. Manuel Cifuentes for their
guidance, criticism, and encouragement.

I wish to thank Dr. Cora Roelofs for her guidance, support, and especially for her faith in
me. I would like to thank Dr. Lenore Azaroff for her long distance continuous support,
along with Dr. Susan Shepherd for their academic and emotional support throughout this
road.

I would like to thank all of my colleagues and friends at the Department of Work
Environment: Rossy Alvarez, Homero Harari, Priya Dasgupta, Chuan Sun, Lukman
Tarigan, Rebecca Devries, Yaritza Roberts, Daniel Okyere, Ann Bauer, Gloria Foley, and
many more who took time to listen and discuss my questions. Special thanks to Sokny
Long and Mary Fadden.

I would like to thank Dr. David Kriebel, Dr. Bryan Bucholz, Dr. Rebecca Gore, and Dr.
Susan Woskie. Thank you Dr. Margaret Quinn for sending me “writing power”.

I would like to thank to the staff at Sura ARL who contributed to this research. Thanks to
all of the Colombian construction workers, “maestros”, and managers who participated in
this research.

Thank you to my friends in Colombia and for cheering me during this process: Fanny,
Claudia, Ximena, Patricia, Daria, Martha Lu, ...and special thanks to Uta Musgray.

Thanks to my family: my lovely mom for her support and all her prayers, my brother, and
our dear friend Felipe.

My deepest gratitude to my caring, loving, and supportive husband, Jaime. Thanks to my


lovely son Yliuz: your smile and weekend soccer games were a great comfort and relief.
This is a family achievement!

Lastly, I would like to dedicate this dissertation in memory of my dad who left me
physically when I was just at the beginning of this journey: I first learned about the
construction industry through your eyes.
TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT..............................................................................................................................ii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS....................................................................................................iv
LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................. ix
LIST OF FIGURES............................................................................................................. xi
CHAPTER 1...............................................................................................................................1
INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................... 1
BACKGROUND...................................................................................................................1
Construction industry characteristics...............................................................................4
Construction Safety and Health in Colombia................................................................. 9
Safety clim ate..................................................................................................................14
Study Research Questions..............................................................................................18
CHAPTER II...........................................................................................................................23
SAFETY CLIMATE IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IN COLOMBIA 23
BACKGROUND................................................................................................................ 23
Safety clim ate..................................................................................................................24
Research Questions......................................................................................................... 26
METHODS..........................................................................................................................27
Research Design and M ethods...................................................................................... 27
Measures.......................................................................................................................... 35
Pilot study........................................................................................................................41
Data analysis....................................................................................................................43
RESULTS............................................................................................................................ 48
Participants’ demographics............................................................................................ 48
Associations between the variables...............................................................................49
Instrument reliability......................................................................................................52
Overall perceptions of safety climate............................................................................54
Regression analysis......................................................................................................... 57
Safety climate dimensions..............................................................................................59
DISCUSSION.....................................................................................................................69
CONCLUSION...................................................................................................................76
CHAPTER II........................................................................................................................... 77
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SAFETY MANAGEMENT PRACTICES AND
SAFETY CLIMATE IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY....................................... 77
INTRODUCTION.............................................................................................................. 77
Safety Management Practices (SM Ps)..........................................................................79
Safety Management Practices (SMPs) on Construction Worksites.............................80
Research Questions......................................................................................................... 81
METHODS.......................................................................................................................... 82
Study design and sampling of participating companies...............................................82
Measures.......................................................................................................................... 83
Data collection.................................................................................................................90
Data analysis....................................................................................................................92
RESULTS............................................................................................................................ 95
Profile of respondents and participating companies.....................................................95
Safety management practices (SMPs) implemented....................................................96
Practices related to control fall hazards and ergonomic hazards.................................98
Company safety climate score......................................................................................100
Company SMPs and safety climate............................................................................. 104
Company SMPs and injury rates................................................................................. 113
Safety Climate and injury rates....................................................................................117
Manager-Worker Safety Climate discrepancy and injury rates................................. 120
DISCUSSION................................................................................................................... 122
CONCLUSION................................................................................................................. 129
CHAPTER III....................................................................................................................... 130
SAFETY CLIMATE AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH FALL AND MANUAL
MATERIAL HANDLING HAZARDS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
IN COLOMBIA.................................................................................................................... 130
INTRODUCTION.............................................................................................................130
Fall hazards in the construction industry..................................................................... 132
Ergonomics in the construction industry.....................................................................134
Safety Climate and hazards at the worksite.................................................................136
Research Questions....................................................................................................... 138
METHODS 139
Study design and study population.............................................................................. 139
Measures........................................................................................................................ 140
Data analysis..................................................................................................................147
RESULTS.......................................................................................................................... 149
Fall hazard situations observations.............................................................................. 149
Table 2 4 .................................................................................................................................150
Manual material handling risk factors......................................................................... 153
Relationship between safety climate scores and construction site hazard profile... 156
Manual material handling hazards............................................................................... 172
Non-controlled hazards and injury rates......................................................................182
DISCUSSION................................................................................................................... 185
CONCLUSIONS...............................................................................................................191
CHAPTER IV ....................................................................................................................... 192
A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF PERCEPTIONS OF SAFETY IN THE
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IN COLOMBIA.............................................................192
INTRODUCTION.............................................................................................................192
METHODS........................................................................................................................ 195
Study design and sample population........................................................................... 195
Data collection...............................................................................................................196
Data analysis.................................................................................................................. 197
RESULTS...........................................................................................................................199
Individual level............................................................................................................. 201
Inter-personal factors....................................................................................................204
Organizational factors...................................................................................................207
Others............................................................................................................................. 222
Societal Level................................................................................................................223
DISCUSSION...................................................................................................................224
CHAPTER V ........................................................................................................................ 229
CONCLUSIONS...................................................................................................................229
REFERENCES.....................................................................................................................234
APPENDDICES
Appendix 1. 3-year injury rate calculations for sample selection.................................246
Appendix 2. Potential participants’ companies’ invitation letter.................................254
Appendix 4. NOSACQ-50 Safety Climate Questionnaire English version.................258
Appendix 5. NOSACQ-50 Safety Climate Questionnaire Spanish version.................267
Appendix 6. NOSACQ-50 Questionnaire Spanish version adapted for the
Colombian construction sector........................................................................................ 276
Appendix 7. Safety Management Practices (SMPs) Assessment Tool........................ 282
Appendix 8. SMPS percentage of implementation in 25 construction.............................
companies in Colombia................................................................................................... 293
Appendix 9. Construction Workers’ Safety Climate Average Score by...........................
NOSACQ-50 dimension in 25 Colombian Construction Companies.......................... 302
Appendix 10. Interview guideline.................................................................................... 31
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF AUTHOR..................................................................... 314
LIST OF TABLES

Table 1. Examples of hazards at construction sites............................................................. 5


Table 2. Reported work-related injury and disease rates between 2000 and 2010 in
Colombian construction companies..................................................................... 12
Table 3. The NOSACQ-50 Safety Climate Questionnaire: dimensions and features....38
Table 4. The NOSACQ-50 Questionnaire positive and reversed item according to
the scoring system................................................................................................. 40
Table 5. The NOSACQ-50 Safety climate dimensions positive and reverse items and
mean score calculations......................................................................................... 45
Table 6. Distribution of participants’ demographic variables by job title.......................50
Table 7. Spearman's rho correlation matrix and p values of overall safety climate
scores and demographic variables.........................................................................51
Table 8. Comparison of internal consistency reliability coefficients from this study
with the results from NOSACQ-50 authors......................................................... 53
Table 9. Safety climate scores of the respondents by job title......................................... 55
Table 10. Robust linear regression analysis of demographics and safety climate........... 58
Table 11. Safety Management Practices Assessment Tool. Domains and practices........86
Table 12. Safety management practices (SMPs) scores in 25 participating construction
companies in Colombia........................................................................................ 97
Table 13. Descriptive of total safety climate scores in 25 Colombian construction
companies.............................................................................................................102
Table 14. Descriptive statistics of the safety climate scores in 25 construction
companies in Colombia.........................................................................................103
Table 15. Spearman rho correlations of safety management practices (SMPs) scores
and set of practices to company safety climate score and dimensions for
Colombian construction companies (n=25)...................................................... 106
Table 16. Mixed model linear regression of (SMPs) scores and company safety
climate score and dimensions for Colombian construction companies
(n=25) .................................................................................................................107
Table 17. Spearman rho correlations of safety management practices (SMPs) scores
and set of practices to company safety climate score and dimensions for
a sample of 266 Colombian construction workers.............................................112
Table 18. Spearman rho correlations of 3-year injury rate per 100 workers to safety
management practices (SMPs) scores and its domains from 25 Colombian
construction companies.......................................................................................113
Table 19. Spearman rho correlations of 3-year injury rate per 100 workers to safety
management practices (SMPs) scores and its domains from a sample of
266 Colombian construction workers............................................................... 116
Table 20. Spearman rho correlations of 3-year injury rate per 100 workers to safety
management practices (SMPs) scores and its domains from a sample of 266
Colombian construction workers........................................................................ 118
Table 21. Spearman rho correlations of 3-year injury rate per 100 workers to safety
management practices (SMPs) scores and its domains from a sample of 266
Colombian construction workers...................................................................... 118
Table 22. Spearman rho correlations of 3-year injury rate per 100 workers to
Manager-Worker Discrepancies in Safety Climate Scores from 25
Colombian Construction Companies..................................................................120
Table 23. Summary of fall hazard situations and implemented control in 25
Colombian construction companies...................................................................151
Table 24. Construction site fall hazard profile (quantitative and qualitative approach),
mean safety climate score by work-group, and 3-year injury rate per 100
workers for 25 construction companies in Colombia ..................................... 152
Table 25. Summary of manual material handling hazard situations and implemented
controls in 25 Colombian construction companies...........................................154
Table 26. Construction site MMH hazard profile (quantitative and qualitative
approach) for 25 construction companies in Colombia.................................... 155
Table 27. Results of the Generalized Linear Model regression of the association
between work-group safety climate scores and fall hazards profile
(qualitative approach) at 25 construction sites in Colombia............................ 164
Table 28. Results of the Generalized Linear Model regression of the association
between work-group safety climate score means and MMH hazard
profile at 25 construction sites in Colombia...................................................... 174
Table 29. Results of the Generalized Linear Model regression of the association
between group-level safety climate score means and MMH hazard profile
(qualitative approach) at 25 construction sites in Colombia............................ 178
Table 30. Summary of themes identified from the qualitative data organized around
four-level socio-ecological model: workers, field supervisors and managers
from 25 Colombian construction companies.....................................................200
LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Reported construction fatalities and fatalities rates from 2003-2012.................. 3


Figure 2. Safety climate and its relationship with later measure of safety outcomes 17
Figure 3. Proposed causal pathway of safety climate as a process indicator
in the construction industry..................................................................................21
Figure 4. Proposed injury model and safety climate as a measure of specific
contributing factors................................................................................................22
Figure 5. Sura ARL offices in Colombia.............................................................................28
Figure 6. Stratified Sample Selection Flowchart
Figure 7. Safety climate scores by dimensions and job position.....................................32
Figure 8. Dimension 1 Management Safety Priority scores...............................................56
Figure 9. Dimension 2 Management Safety Empowerment scores...................................62
Figure 10. Dimension 3 Management Safety Justice scores.............................................. 63
Figure 11. Dimension 4 Workers’ Safety Commitment scores......................................... 64
Figure 12. Dimension 5 Workers’ safety priority and risk non-acceptance socres...........65
Figure 13. Dimension 6 Safety communication, learning, and trust in co-workers safety
competence scores.............................................................................................. 66
Figure 14. Dimension 7 Workers’ trust in the efficacy of safety systems scores.............67
Figure 15. Comparison between implementation of SMPs aimed to reduce fall
hazards and manual material handling hazards (MMH) in 25 construction
companies in Colombia....................................................................................... 99
Figure 16. Construction workers’ total safety climate score: variability by
company (n=25)................................................................................................. 101
Figure 17. Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company safety
climate score and SMPs score for 25 Colombian construction companies ..108
Figure 18. Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company safety
climate score (Workers’ safety commitment) and SMPs score for 25
Colombian construction companies..................................................................109
Figure 19. Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company safety
climate score (Management safety empowerment dimension) and SMPs
score for 25 Colombian construction companies.............................................110
Figure 20. Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company safety
climate score (Worker’s safety commitment dimension) and SMPs score
for domain II (Practices focused on management commitment) for 25
Colombian construction companies..................................................................I l l
Figure 21. Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company 3-year
injury rate and overall SMPs score for 25 Colombian construction
companies...........................................................................................................114
Figure 22. Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company 3-year
injury rate and SMPs score (Domain III. Practices focused on improving
safety systems) for 25 Colombian construction companies............................115

Figure 23. Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company 3-year
injury rate and Company Safety Climate score for 25 Colombian construction
companies...........................................................................................................119
Figure 24. Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company 3-year
injury rate and Manager-Worker Discrepancies in Safety Climate Scores
for 25 Colombian Construction Companies.................................................... 121
Figure 25. Scatter plot between worker-group’s safety score means and proportion of
implementation of engineering controls for fall hazard situations identified
at 25 Colombian construction companies........................................................ 158
Figure 26. Scatter plot between supervisor-group’s safety score means and proportion
of implementation of engineering controls for fall hazard situations
identified at 25 Colombian construction companies...................................... 159
Figure 27. Scatter plot between manager-group’s safety score means and proportion
of implementation of engineering controls for fall hazard situations
identified at 25 Colombian construction companies........................................160
Figure 28. Scatter plot exploring the linear relationship between worker-group’s
safety score means and proportion of implementation of fall protection
for fall hazard situations at 25 Colombian construction companies...............161
Figure 29. Scatter plot exploring the linear relationship between supervisor-group’s
safety score means and proportion of implementation of fall protection for
fall hazard situations at 25 Colombian construction companies.....................162
Figure 30. Scatter plot exploring the linear relationship between manager-group’s
safety score means and proportion of implementation of fall prevention for
fall hazard situations identified at 25 Colombian construction companies.. 163
Figure 31. Scatter plot worker-group’s safety score means and proportion of fall hazard
situations non-controlled at 25 Colombian construction companies..............165
Figure 32. Scatter plot exploring the linear relationship between supervisor-group’s
safety score means and proportion of fall hazard situations non-controlled
at 25 Colombian construction companies.........................................................166
Figure 33. Scatter plot exploring the linear relationship between manager-group’s
safety score means and proportion of fall hazard situations non-controlled
at 25 Colombian construction companies........................................................ 167
Figure 34. Scatterplot of construction sites hazard profile (qualitative approach)
and worker-group safety climate score means at 25 Colombian
construction companies......................................................................................169
Figure 35. Scatter plot of qualitative construction sites hazard profile and supervisor
group safety climate score mean among Colombian construction
companies (n=25)..............................................................................................170
Figure 36. Scatter plot of qualitative construction sites hazard profile and supervisor
group safety climate score mean among Colombian construction
companies (n=25)..............................................................................................171
Figure 37. Scatter plot between worker-group’s safety score means and proportion of
implementation of engineering controls for manual material handling
hazard situations identified at 25 Colombian
construction companies......................................................................................175
Figure 38. Scatter plot between supervisor-group’s safety score means and proportion
of implementation of mechanical aids for manual material handling hazard
situations identified at 25 Colombian construction companies...................... 176
Figure 39. Scatter plot between manager-group’s safety score means and proportion
of implementation of mechanical aids for manual material handling hazard
situations identified at 25 Colombian construction companies..................... 177
Figure 40. Scatterplot of construction sites MMH hazard profile (qualitative
approach) and worker-group safety climate score means at 25
Colombian construction companies.................................. 179
Figure 41. Scatter plot of qualitative construction sites MMH hazard profile and
supervisor group safety climate score mean among Colombian
construction companies (n=25).........................................................................180
Figure 42. Scatter plot of qualitative construction sites MMH hazard profile and
supervisor group safety climate score mean among Colombian construction
companies (n=25)..............................................................................................181
Figure 43. Scatter plot between company injury rate per 100 workers and proportion
of non-controlled fall hazard situations identified at 25 Colombian
construction companies.................................................................................... 183
Figure 44. Scatter plot between company injury rate per 100 workers and proportion
of non-controlled MMH hazard situations identified at 25 Colombian
construction companies..................................................................................... 184
1

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND

The construction industry is a substantial sector of the worldwide economy. It

is one of the mainstays of the economy in most countries, contributing significantly to

socio-economic development. However, it is also globally recognized as one of the most

hazardous industrial sectors with long history of high injury and fatality rates. For

example, in 2012, the United States construction industry accounted for the highest

number of fatal work injuries of any industry sector with a total of 775 fatalities which

represented 18% o f all fatal work-related reported. Besides it also ranked four among the

sectors with high rates of fatal occupational injuries (9.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent

workers) (BLS, August 22, 2013). In the United Kingdom, during the period 2012/13,

although the construction industry accounted for only about 5% of the employees it

accounted for 27% of fatal injuries to employees (HSE, 2013). In Colombia, injury rates
2

the construction industry show an increasing trend, remaining higher than other industrial

sectors (6.8 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers)(Fasecolda, 2012)'.

Work-related injuries and illnesses are a burden for companies and for society

as a whole. These injuries often represent an important cost for the national gross

domestic product (GDP). A study conducted by Lebeau et al., estimated the costs of

occupational injuries and illnesses occurring in a single year in Quebec at $4.62 billion,

on average, which represented about 0.45% of Canada GDP in 2005 (Lebeau, Duguay, &

Boucher, 2014). In 2012, the costs for medical expenses, 100% of lost wages, disability,

and death benefit of work- related injuries was estimated about 0.12% of Colombia GDP

in 2012(DANE, 2013; Fasecolda, 2012).

Although, in the last decade, the BLS statistics revealed a significant drop in

the number of construction fatalities, this reduction only represented a slight decreasing

trend in the construction fatality rates (Figure 1)(BLS, 2013b). However, the leading

causes of injuries in the construction sector remain similar. For instance, in 2003, from a

total of 1,131 fatal injuries in the sector, the main causes were fall, slips and trips

(32.2%); transportation incidents (25.6%); contact with objects (15.6%); and exposure to

harmful substances (15.8%). Similarly, in 2012, among 775 fatal injuries, the leading

causes were falls, slips and trips (36.1%); transportation incidents (27.9%); fires and

explosions (20.4%); exposure to harmful substances (17.4%); and contact with objects

and equipment (13.2%) (BLS, 2013a).

’Fasecolda (Federacidn de Aseguradores Colombianos) is a Colombian consortium o f private insurance


companies w ho com piles data from the insurance sector including workers compensation data.
3

FIGURE 1

Reported construction fatalities and fatalities rates from 2003-2012. Data source: U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics

1500

1300

JO n o o I I
■flj I ST
2 900 El
o
z T o ta l F a ta litie s n =3
700 10 «•»
♦J

500
r o ^ i n v o r ^ o o o t O r H i N
O O O O O O O v l ' H r H
o o o o o o o o o o
C N I C N l C M O M C s l f M t N O N l f S I C N j

Year

The way the construction process is organized and performed brings

multiple hazards to the worksite. The construction site changes day to day as the building

work progresses or the project phases overlap. Hazards can come from any of the

elements of a production system: the personnel, the tasks, the equipment, the materials,

the context, as well as from their interaction or from the effects of their interaction (Koh

& Rowlinson, 2012). Workers at a construction site may be exposed to various

hazardous factors including physical, chemical, mechanical, biological or psychosocial

(Table 1). A significant number of tasks must be performed at heights, which

continuously put construction workers at a high risk for falls. A wide range of equipment

such as powered and non-powered hand tools is used throughout the construction project,

which has the potential of causing serious injuries. Working with various parts of the

body in bent, extended or flexed position as well as repetitive manual handling of heavy

3
4

items such as pre-cast units, pre-cast concrete, cement bags, or planks are common tasks

at the work site which increased workers risk of suffering injuries and illnesses.

Construction industry characteristics

The construction sector is characterized by a number of particular

organizational and physical features that often differentiate it from other industrial sectors

and which may influence the health and safety conditions at the worksite. Each

construction project may have its own characteristics, methods of working, materials

employed, and techniques for construction which can also vary from country to country

(Lingard & Rowlinson, 2005). Some of the inherent characteristics comprise aspects such

as job fragmentation which brings as result involving several contractors and

subcontractors in the construction process; job specialization, very often performed by

small and relatively unstructured firms (Gervais, 2003); dynamic work environments

where multiple crews performing tasks simultaneously and in proximity; constantly

changing physical environments making difficult sometimes to anticipate and thus

control hazards timely; workforce mobility between subcontractors at the same

workplace; risky tasks combining numerous hazards such as working at heights, lifting

heavy loads in noisy areas.

These aspects are very often put forward to label the construction industry as

an intrinsically dangerous sector and to excuse companies’ poor safety performance.

Although is well known that these particular features may incorporate significant

challenges for effectively managing health and safety; it is also clear the necessity of

addressing most of these aspects in strategies for injury prevention.


TABLE 1

Examples of hazards at construction sites

Type of hazard Description


Noise:
- High noise levels from tools and machines
- Noise from background operations
Environmental
Extreme temperatures
Weather conditions (wind, ultraviolet rays)
Physically demanding task requiring:
- Manual material handling of heavy loads
- Awkward postures (kneeling, bending, crawling,
reaching)
- Working overhead or at extreme ranges of movement
Ergonomics - Whole body vibration from operating heavy
machinery
- Hand-arm vibration from the use of powered hand
tools
- Static work posture
- Extreme postures
Work at heights
Safety
Work in confined spaces
Use of powered and non-powered tools
Pressure to work harder
Worker-worker relationships
Psychosocial
Supervisor-workers relationships
Production pressures
Exposure to dangerous substances
- Silica dust
- Asbestos
Chemicals - Solvents
- Isocyanides and epoxy resins in paints, adhesives,
and bonding agents

Flow of materials
Workplace Scheduling of work
organization Coordination of tasks
Overtime
Biological Organic material (woods)
6

Organizational structure

Productivity in the construction industry is measured in terms of how well,

how quickly, and at what cost construction projects can be completed (The National

Academies Press, 2009). These three variables are jointly pursued through the efficient

utilization of resources such as labor, materials and equipment. In a construction project

this can be translated into continuous tradeoffs between fulfilling production schedules,

satisfying project specifications, and increasing profits. In this context, expected project

profits may be maximized only when labor time and cost related to materials or

equipment are minimized. This has important potential implications for expenditures on

health, safety and ergonomics protections.

When safety requirements are not integrated at the outset of the construction

project as an essential element to accomplish end products on time and within budgetary

boundaries, safety may be understood as an element imposed from the outside which

could delay scheduled activities or increase project cost. For instance, a delay in delivery

of materials such as concrete mixture must be often compensated with extending

workers’ work hours, which can be detrimental to their safety. Overtime increases

workers’ fatigue at the same time that reduces rest time and hours of sleep. In addition,

working at night may entail fewer co-workers or institutional resources (e.g., safety

officer) and aggravate workers’ exposure to the already hazardous worksite.


7

Overly tight project schedules, requiring rush jobs, are more the rule than the

exception in the construction industry. The industry is consistently and purposefully fast-

paced. As a means to increase productivity, the construction industry often provides

monetary incentives to motivate supervisors and other management personnel to

complete the job faster. While productivity may rise, these practices can also cause

unintended consequences. Bonus systems often tell people what is valued, expected and

important in the particular setting (Mattson, Torbiom, & Hellgren, 2014). The

construction industry is manpower intensive field, thus increasing the productivity effort

is very often reached only when workers’ job demands are also increased. These reward

practices have been considered as increasing risk because they can promote unsafe

practices given that only measure the final results (time to completion) without heeding

the compliance with safety implications along the way to achieve results (Langford,

Rowlinson, & Sawacha, 2000; Roelofs, Sprague-Martinez, Brunette, & Azaroff, 2011;

Vredenburgh, 2002).

Typically, large and complex construction projects require that multiple

organizations align their work experience and financial backing to work jointly for a

limited period. This has become a common practice in Colombia as well as other

countries. Two or more construction firms create a new company just for the duration of

the construction project, which can range from a couple of months to several years.

Bringing together two or more different safety cultures may thus impose another

challenge to managing the work environment.


8

Operational Characteristics

A common operational practice has been contracting and subcontracting

portions of a project in each construction trade to medium and small firms who have the

specific skills to carry out the work efficiently. Thus, multiple contractors and

subcontractors are required during the project life at a specific time and place.

Contractors and subcontractors coexist throughout the project and operate with several

crews which work simultaneously often with little or no interaction but permanently

influence each other’s work environment (Rowlinson, 2002). Usually, crews organize

their work activities to best suit their own needs in order to complete particular portions

of the project, regardless of how they are affecting the surrounding environment and

other individuals.

Subcontracting brings to the construction company other organizational

advantages such as labor flexibility meeting promptly variations in project demands,

externalizing less rewarding and more dangerous activities, reducing labor costs,

encouraging quicker completion of tasks, transferring financial risk, and avoiding

workers' compensation costs (Manu, Ankrah, Proverbs, & Suresh, 2013).

However, the high prevalence of subcontracting is often cited as a factor

contributing to the construction industry’s poor safety and health performance (Lingard

& Rowlinson, 2005). Problems include contractor selection based on lowest bid with no

consideration given to the safety qualifications of the contractors (Gambatese, Behm, &

Hinze, 2005); the multilayer subcontracting system through small firms and individual

workers (Yik & Lai, 2008) hired as “independent” subcontractors with the responsibility
9

of dealing with their own health benefits and workers’ compensation coverage; and the

typical payment-by-results system (i.e. piece work) where payment is based on the

amount of work completed (Mayhew, Quinlan, & Ferris, 1997), which can push workers

to work faster by even reducing or eliminating rest and recovery time during the working

day.

In addition, the construction site layout can impose work supervision

challenges and stimulates workers’ autonomy to perform the job according to their own

knowledge, skills and judgment of the situation which introduce potential plusses and

minuses. For example, worker’s autonomy and empowerment to adjust the job pace and

methods according to their actual capacities may have a positive impact in the way safety

is treated. However when messages regarding the importance of integrating safety to

daily tasks are inappropriate communicated to workers or, for instance, piece-work

payments are applied, worker’s decisions may be oriented to overestimate productivity

over safety to the detriment of their own safety and health.

Construction Safety and Health in Colombia

As in many countries, the construction industry in Colombia is a cyclical

business that responds to economical fluctuations and governmental policies. Housing

and infrastructure have been identified by the 2010-2014 government as one of the five

key sectors to contribute to the economic growth. The government’s medium-term goal

in housing is to build 100.000 houses during the period 2012-2014, and in the

infrastructure subsector two large dams are currently being built. Also, under the

requirements of the approved free trade agreement with the United States, building and
10

maintaining the road system is another priority of the current government. From January

to June of 2012, the construction sector provided employment to an estimated 1.2 million

people, who represented nearly 12% of the working population. This is a 15% increase in

employment from the preceding year which places the construction sector as a major

source of employment (Colombian Statistics Administrative Department DANE, July

2012 ).

As noted earlier, along with its contribution to economic development, a

growing construction industry may bring an increase in work-related injury rates.

Official statistics indicate that injury rates have grown considerably in the last years

(Table 2). The drastic reduction showed in 2009 was due to the inclusion of data from the

largest public workers compensation which increased the number of construction

workforce. Before 2009 the statistics only reported data from private workers

compensation insurance carriers. Once the data were adjusted, the injury rate resumed its

increasing trend. In 2011, the construction industry accounted for 11% of the total

workforce in the formal sector but accounted for 13% of total work-related injuries, 14%

of total fatal injuries, and 14% of permanent disabilities.

According to these statistics, in 2011, construction workers had an injury rate

1.5 times higher than of all workers in Colombia (11.2 per 100 construction workers vs.

7.6 for all workers); a 1.5 times higher disability rate (3.6 per 100.000 construction

workers vs. 2.4 for all workers); and a 1.4 times higher fatal injury rate (6.8 per 100.000

construction workers vs. 5.1 for all workers). These statistics provide an overall view of

the health and safety conditions only in the formal sector given that they do not reflect the
11

informal workers or those classified as “independent workers” for whom, until 2008, it

was not mandatory to pay workers compensation premiums.


12

TABLE 2

Reported work-related injury and disease rates between 2000 and 2010 in Colombian construction companies. Source: Fasecolda
Colombia

Year Workforce in the No. o f injuries in Injury rate per No. of fatal Fatal injury Occupational No. o f partial Partial disability Permanent Permanent
construction construction and 100 workers injuries in rate x 100.000 illnesses in disabilities in rate x 100.000 disabilities in disabilities rate
industry and % of % o f the total construction and workers construction and construction workers construction and x 100.000
the total workforce % o f the total % o f the total and % of the % of the total workers
total

2000 66,226 - (3.3%) 7,423 - (4.9%) 11.2 18-(3.9% ) 27.2 5 -(1 .0 % ) 118-(7.4% ) 178.2 18 - (3.9%) 13.6

2001 103,756- (4.2%) 8,295 - (5.4%) 8.0 2 6 -(8.1% ) 25.1 5 - (0.8%) 171 -(12.3% ) 164.8 26-(8.1% ) 7.7

2002 87,228 - (3.2%) 8,379 - (4.8%) 9.6 29 - (8.5%) 33.2 12-(1.6% ) 143 - (10.0%) 163.9 29 - (8.5%) 9.2

2003 127,952 - (4.4%) 11,138-(5.8%) 8.7 20 - (5.5%) 15.6 36 - (3.5%) 235 - (9.3%) 183.7 20 - (5.5%) 10.9

2004 132.568 - (4.5%) 15,201 - (7.3%) 11.5 46-(11.3% ) 34.7 16 - (2.0%) 205 - (7.2%) 154.6 46-(11.3% ) 6.8

2005 133,970 - (4.2%) 19,213 - (7.7%) 14.3 50 - (9.5%) 37.3 17-(1.2% ) 237 - (7.3%) 176.9 50 - (9.5%) 19.4

2006 168,966 - (4.4%) 22,785 - (7.8%) 13.5 48 - (10.2%) 28.4 50-(1.8% ) 282 - (7.3%) 166.9 48- (10.2%) 14.2

2007 229,198 - (5.5%) 28,213 - (8.9%) 12.3 58 - (15.6%) 25.2 55-(1.7% ) 388 - (8.1%) 169.3 58 - (15.6%) 8.7

2008 221,145 - (5.3%) 32,861 - (9.5%) 14.9 45-(12.8% ) 20.3 117 - (2.2%) 512 - (9.4%) 231.6 45-(12.8% ) 4.3

2009* 640,572 - (9.6%) 38,652 - (9.4%) 6.1 101 -(17.1%) 15.8 92-(1.3% ) 701 - (9.6%) 109.4 101-(17.1% ) 6.1

2010 619,231 - (9.1%) 46,430 - (10.5%) 7.5 53 - (10.6%) 8.7 149-(1.6% ) 1,027 - (10.6%) 169.4 53 - (10.6%) 4.8

2011 809,445-(10.8%) 71,086-(13.0%) 8.8 55 - (13.7%) 6.8 123-(1.3% ) 1,001 - (10.0%) 123.7 55-(13.7% ) 3.8

*Data from 2000 to 2008 do not include information from the public workers compensation insurance carrier. Data from 2009
and forward include public and private workers compensation insurance carriers in the Colombian social security system.
13

Workers Compensation System in Colombia

Until 1993, the Colombian social security system was entirely administered by

the Government. In that year the social security system was reformed through a law

called Law 100 that created foundations of the General System of Social Security in

Health. Although the system continues to be regulated by the Government, both public

and private insurance companies are now allowed to participate. Thus, employers have

diverse options to choose a workers compensation insurance carrier. Under this new

regulation, private workers’ compensation insurance companies (Administradoras de

Riesgos Laborales (ARL)) began to play an important role in providing occupational

health and safety services to their commercial customers. It is mandatory for all ARLs to

implement safety prevention and health promotion programs as well provide medical

assistant, rehabilitation. They must also cover 100% of the worker’s salary in case of

absence due to work-related injuries, and compensation for temporary and permanent

disabilities, or death as a result of an occupational injury.

Unlike the United States, where the workers’ compensation premium is

negotiated based on variables such as number of employees, total wages, type of jobs

performed, and experience rating, in Colombia the insurance premium is dictated by

legislation on the basis of sector-specific average risk for occupational injuries and

illnesses regarding of the individual company’s experience. For instance, a “low-risk”

company such as a call center might pay 0.59% of their total payroll, while a

manufacturing company pays 3.59%, and a construction company pays 6.59%.


14

According to Law 100, all formally established companies must be enrolled in

an AR, whether private or public. In the last decade, construction companies have

become less informal and are increasingly enrolled in formal insurance policies.

According to Fasecolda data, in 2011, the workers compensation insurance carriers

covered about 50,300 construction companies. This may bring the possibility of

addressing safety and health needs more effectively through better occupational health

and safety programs.

Safety climate

Safety climate is a construct proposed by Zohar to assess employee’s

perceptions held by employees about safety aspects of their organizational environment,

assuming that these perceptions and expectations have utility in serving as a frame of

reference for guiding behaviors (Zohar, 1980b). Safety climate is considered as a specific

form of organizational climate which describes group perceptions of the value of safety

in the work environment (Coyle, Sleeman, & Adams, 1995; Griffin & Neal, 2000; Zohar,

2010a; Zohar, 1980b).

Based on a literature search, Zohar identified organizational characteristics that

differentiate between high versus low accident-rate manufacturing companies. It was

assumed that these features describe a particular type of organizational climate in which

employees developed sets of perceptions forming the safety climate of that organization.

Taking for granted that causes of occupational injuries lie mainly in worker’s safety

behaviors, Zohar suggests that operationalized safety climate can serve as an useful tool
15

in understanding workers’ occupational behavior and enhancing safety outcomes (Zohar,

1980b).

In general, safety climate refers to employees’ shared perceptions of

organization’s policies, procedures, and practices and their value and importance to

safety within the organization (Cooper & Phillips, 2004a; Griffin & Neal, 2000;

Mohamed, 2002; Zohar, 2010a). Safety climate is often considered as measurement of

the “true safety” because it attempts to reflect actual procedures and practices in the shop

floor (Vinodkumar & Bhasi, 2009). Measuring safety climate allows detecting those

attitudes or behaviors that are either, deliberately or unintentionally, rewarded, supported

or promoted by the organization. Through measuring safety climate, researchers attempt

to identify the underlying structure of values that the organization promotes: what arethe

actual values? What are the organizational priorities competing with safety?

Safety Climate dimensions

Safety at the workplace may involve several elements at multiple levels from

the individual to the organizational. Thus defining the specific elements that comprise a

safe workplace is challenging, as it is to identify which dimensions should be measured

to describe safety climate. Although, researchers in the field agree about the

multidimensional nature of safety climate, consensus has not been reached yet regarding

either the specific elements to be assessed, the appropriate scale or instrument to use. On

the contrary, a range of factors has been identified as being important components of

safety climate. Those proposed safety climate dimensions include: management

commitment to safety, work pressure, supervisor safety support, coworkers support, risk
16

perception, organizational safety practices and procedures, communication, employment

participation, adequacy of training and providing safety equipment. Although most of the

studies highlighted the importance of management commitment to safety as well as

support of supervisors and coworkers, each study varied in the number of items

measured, the content and scope of this dimension (Cooper & Phillips, 2004b;

Dedobbeleer & Beland, 1991a; Flin, Meams, O'Connor, & Bryden, 2000a; Gillen, Baltz,

Gassel, Kirsch, & Vaccaro, 2002; Marin, Cifuentes, & Roelofs, ; Varonen & Mattila,

2000 ).

Why measure safety climate

Employees learn the actual organizational priorities through constantly

observing management safety attitudes, practices and procedures. Thus, safety climate is

a proxy measure of the discrepancies between what it is socially desirable (core values) in

terms of company safety policies and the observable expression of those values within

the organization. It is a measure of gaps between organizational policies and practices

and enacted ones2. It can be inferred as a measure of organizational coherence regarding

safety polices and the actual conditions in the workplace. This extent of coherence may

reinforce worker’s perceptions about true company priorities.

The practical value of safety climate has been founded on its role as a predictor

of worker’s safe behavior (Cooper & Phillips, 2004a; Gittleman et al., 2010; Griffin &

Neal, 2000; Gyekye & Salminen, 2010; Zohar, 2010a). Unlike injury rates long-term

2 D ov Zohar’s Safety Climate seminar at Harvard School o f Public Health, December 16, 2013.
17

trends and lost time days which reflect workplace safety performance retrospectively

(Payne, Bergman, Rodriguez, Beus, & Henning, 2010a), safety climate might be used as

a leading indicator which offers a proactive route for improving aspects affecting

worksite safety (Kines et al., 201 la).

In a prospective linear approach, safety climate is conceptualized as an early

antecedent or cause of an incident/injury, having a direct effect on safety-related

behaviors which in turn have a direct effect on injuries (Payne et al. 2009; Zohar, 2010;

Gittleman et al, 2010; Gyekye, 2006). Payne et al proposed a theoretical model of safety

climate as predictor of safety behavior (Figure 2) (Payne, Bergman, Beus, Rodriguez, &

Henning, 2009). However, this model would seem tosuggest that safe conditions at the

worksite are guaranteed and only workers’ behavior should be monitored, without

exploring worker’s attitudes as a simple response to unsafe conditions at the work

environment.

FIGURE 2

Safety climate and its relationship with later measure of safety outcomes (Payne et al.,
2009)
18

Study Research Questions

An alternative view is that injury occurrence is multicausal. The safety climate

causal pathway assumes that safe conditions are controlled and the work area is a safe

place where only worker behavior must be modified, which is very far from the reality on

most the construction sites. Because of our concern about the conceptual model proposed

by Neal et al., 2002, and reiterated by Payne et al, 2009, this study proposes instead a

broader framework in which safety climate (workers’ perceptions of the organization’s

priorities) is a process indicator that responds to the material work conditions, such as the

presence of hazards, as well as the practices implemented in the worksite (Figure 3).

To date, little research has been conducted to investigate how workers form

perceptions of safety climate. The purpose of this study therefore conducted in the

framework stated in Figure 4. This study aimed to assess perception of safety climate

among construction workers, supervisors and site managers as well as to investigate the

relationships among management safety practices implemented at the construction sites,

construction workers’ perceptions of safety climate, and the presence of observed

hazards. In order to test the relationship between these variables the following research

questions were stated:

Q1: What is the safety climate among construction personnel in the construction

industry in Colombia?

Q2: Do workers and upper/middle management in the construction industry share

perceptions of safety?
19

Q3: What are the differences in perception of safety across personnel in the

construction industry?

Q4: Are there differences in perceptions of safety across the dimensions of safety

climate?

Q5: Could individual variables such as age, experience, seniority, or suffering work-

related injuries explain differences in perceptions of safety across construction

personnel in Colombia?

Q6: Are SMPs implemented at construction sites related to with perceptions of safety

climate?

Q7: Are differences in the implementation of SMPs focused on fall hazards and

ergonomic hazards?

Q8: Are there differences in the relationship between fall hazards and ergonomic

hazards and perceptions of safety at the construction site?

Q9: Are the SMPs implemented related to injury rates?

Q10: Are workplaces conditions associate with perceptions of safety priorities at the

construction site?

Q11: Are there differences in the relationship between workplace conditions and

perception of safety in the workplace by job title?

Q12: Does the presence of specific fall hazards have an association on perceptions of

safety priorities at the construction site?

Q13: Does the presence of specific ergonomics hazards related to construction

workers’ perceptions of safety priorities at the construction site?


20

Q14: Are there differences in the relationship between fall hazards and ergonomic

hazards and perceptions of safety at the construction site?

Q15: Is the presence of hazards in the workplace related to injury rates?


21

FIGURE 3

Proposed causal pathway of safety climate as a process indicator


in the construction industry

Monitoring safety measures


(indicators)
22

FIGURE 4

Proposed injury model and safety climate as a measure of specific contributing factors.

STUDY II STUDY I
Management Safety Practices (MSPs) and Perceptions of Safety Climate among
Workers’ Perceptions of Safety Climate construction personnel groups

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS
Societal STUDY IV
Organizational Practices Perceptions of
SAFETY CLIMATE Safety Climate
Inter-personal Relationships
Qualitative
Individual approach

INJURY/
EXPOSURE
MM >■ ILLNESS

STUDY III - SAFETY OUTCOM ES


Hazards Observed and Perceptions of Injury rate
Safety Climate
23

CHAPTER II

SAFETY CLIMATE IN THE CONSTRUCTION

INDUSTRY IN COLOMBIA

BACKGROUND

The construction industry is globally recognized as one of the largest

employers with important contributions to economic and social objectives of the

countries. It is also recognized as one the most hazardous industries in both developed

and developing countries. The fatal and non-fatal work-related injury rates in this sector

are considerably higher than many other industries. Causes of this disproportion have

been very often attributed to the nature of the construction industry which exhibits

particular characteristics in terms of the construction process and project organization.

For instance, the need of having multiple contractors and subcontractors, permanent and

temporal workers working simultaneously and sharing physical areas as well as

individual workers performing similar tasks day by day but in an evolving work

environment bring important challenges to the construction company in order to

guarantee a safe environment for all employees at any particular time.


24

Safety climate

Given the dynamic nature of the construction process, having accurate and

opportune information about safety gaps in the work area can contribute to the design and

implementation of more effective safety interventions. Safety climate, a component of

the organizational culture which some studies have found related with safe behavior and

injury occurrence in the workplace (Christian, Bradley, Wallace, & Burke, 2009; Clarke,

2006; Zohar, 2003), has been proposed as a leading indicator of the workplace

safety(Beus, Payne, Bergman, & Arthur, 2010; Payne, Bergman, Rodriguez, Beus, &

Henning, 2010b). Safety climate is conceptualized as a measure of workers’ shared

perceptions regarding the priority given to safety at the workplace Safety climate has

been considered as a relevant element in the study of injury occurrence because some

studies have reported an association between safety behaviors and injury rates, suggesting

that there is a link in the causal pathway.

Safety climate is a concept introduced by Zohar in 1980 to describe a specific

component of organizational climate related to safety in the industry (Zohar, 1980a).

Based on a literature search, Zohar (1980) identified organizational characteristics that

differentiate between high versus low accident-rate companies. It was assumed that these

features describe a particular type of organizational climate in which employees develop

sets of perceptions forming the safety climate of that organization. In general terms,

safety climate describes shared perceptions held by employees about the value,

importance and priority given to safety in each organization (Cooper & Phillips, 2004c;
25

Hahn & Murphy, 2008; Mark et al., 2007; Mohamed, 2002; Zohar, 2010b) and denotes

attitudes to safety within an organization (Guldenmund, 2000).

Safety climate is defined as a work-group variable where workers sharing

particular features such type of job, physical work area, or even supervisors who may

share perceptions regarding the place given to safety by managers in comparison to other

organizational variables. Safety climate perceptions as shared y members of a particular

group but are not necessarily homogenous across the organization. Perhaps due to

differences in roles and responsibilities, previous studies in the construction industry and

other industries have found that perceptions of safety climate differ between workers and

supervisors (Arcury et al 2012, Gittleman et al, 2010).

Around the world, the construction industry is a risky environment where very

often minor, severe and fatal injuries occur. Examining the organizational influences on

workplace safety and on workers’ attitudes to safety may contribute to understand the

underlying values and assumptions contributing to the high injury rates in this sector. A

quantitative study was conducted among Colombian construction workers with the aim to

examine perceptions of safety among construction personnel, regarding management

safety priorities, empowerment, and commitment, as well as workers’ commitment and

communication.
26

Research Questions

The following research questions were examined in this study:

■ What is the safety climate among construction personnel in the construction

industry in Colombia?

■ Do workers and upper/middle management in the construction industry share

perceptions of safety?

■ What are the differences in perception of safety across personnel in the

construction industry?

■ Are there differences in perceptions of safety across the dimensions of safety

climate?

■ Could individual variables such as age, experience, seniority, or suffering work-

related injuries explain differences in perceptions of safety across construction

personnel in Colombia?
27

METHODS

Research Design and Methods

The study was carried out with 30 construction companies in Colombia.

Participating companies were customers of the largest private insurance company in the

country, Sura ARL. Data were collected at both the worksite and individual levels.

Personnel from different job titles (construction workers, supervisors, and site managers)

at the construction site were contacted individually to complete a safety climate

questionnaire. The study involved measures of perceptions of safety climate at one point

in time for three workgroups: workers, supervisors (including foremen), and managers

(including site and project managers).

Sample selection

Recruitment of construction companies was accomplished through contact with

Sura ARL, which provides insurance services to customers in all industrial sectors

throughout all of Colombia across four regions. Sura ARL customers include a wide

range of construction companies performing residential, commercial, and infrastructure

construction. The study was conducted with Sura’s construction customers in the Central

Region, which includes Colombia’s central and east regions (Figure 5). The study was

limited to 30 companies with construction projects located in the Bogota metropolitan

area and surroundings due to time and budgetary constraints.


28

FIGURE 5

Sura ARL offices in Colombia. Source: Sura ARL

Sura ARL Offices

Q N orthern region

f A ntioquia region

Q W estern region

Q Central region

Sura ARL provided a database of construction company policy holders

(company name, contact information, number of workers, and injury rate) and made the

initial contact with potential participants. Besides, Sura ARL also provided a separated

database o f workers compensation claims from 2010 to 2012. Sura ARL had no direct

contact with study subjects or access to the raw data or any part of the work in progress.

It was agreed that, upon completion of the data analysis, Sura ARL would receive a

summary report which could be used as input to design or improve safety intervention

programs for their customers. This summary report will include descriptive information

while protecting participants’ confidentiality including the identities of all individuals and

companies.
29

Company-level recruitment

A database o f 612 construction companies with projects in the Central Region

was provided by Sura ARL (Figure 6). Potential participating companies were chosen

based on several factors:

1. Employing more than 20 construction workers (no administrative employees)

2. Involving in commercial or residential projects

3. Being a Sura ARL client for at least one year before the present study

4. Developing construction projects in the Bogota metropolitan area and

surroundings

In addition when several construction companies owned by the same holding

group met the selection criteria, only one company was selected at random to be included

in the sample. Sura ARL’ s workers compensation data contained claims by company

and year from January 2010 to September 30 ,2012. Information included number of

injuries, average number of workers, injury claims whether or not each incident resulted

in lost work time.

Company number o f workers was used as an initial filter in order to select

potential participants. In this first step, 272 companies with more than 20 workers

remained in the database. In the second step, an individual analysis was conducted in

collaboration with Sura ARL’s account executive3 for each company. Then, projects in

3 Sura ARL counts with safety professionals assigned to each client w ho are responsible for integral
customer service by maintaining ongoing contact with the customer, visiting worksites, and conducting
safety activities.
30

the final stages (i.e. landscaping minor finishing) or located outside of the geographical

according to the selection criteria were excluded. Subsequently, a total of 87

construction companies were selected as potential participants.

Additionally, companies were sorted based on the proportion of injuries in the

period of study using a stratified random sample. The criterion chosen to carry out the

stratified sampling was the average of the total number of injuries reported over the total

number of company construction workers in the period 2010-2012. Proportion of injuries

was calculated as the total number of injury claims in the period divided by the total of

workers in the same period, times 100.

Proportion of injuries = (Total injury claims in accounting period) x 100


(Total workers in accounting period)

Potential participating companies were sorted into three groups according to

the 3-year average proportion of claims: low, medium and high. The average proportion

of injuries for the construction sector in Colombia (8.5 injuries per 100 workers) during

the period of analysis (2010 to 2012) was used as the cut-off point from low to medium.

Double of the Colombian proportion of injuries for the sector (17.0 injuries per 100

workers) was used as the cut-off point from medium to high. A detailed calculation of

categories is presented in (Appendix 1).

Then the percentage of all companies in each category was calculated. The

intended sample size was 30 companies, so the size of the sample in each range was

calculated in proportion to the size of the sample frame (Figure 6). After that, random

sampling was applied within each set; companies in each group were numbered and
31

randomly picked, using the RANBETWEEN function (Excel Microsoft Office), to

complete the size of the sample in each group. Expecting a 25% of refusals, about 50%

more companies than the calculated goal were invited to participate.

A letter signed by Sura A R L ’s Bussiness Unit Manager and the researcher was

sent to each selected company’s general manager to invite them to take part in the study

(Appendix 2). The invitation letter provided information regarding the study and

informed them about the confidentiality and voluntary nature of the participation.

Meetings were set up between a company project manager and safety coordinator and the

researcher. These initial meetings aimed to provide an understanding of the study scope

and methodology, potential benefits for the industry, confidentiality, role of Sura ARL in

the study, as well as to answer specific questions. When meeting in person was not

possible, a phone conference was arranged.

Once a company agreed to participate, information regarding the company’s

current projects, stages, and locations were provided and reviewed with the company’s

general manager and/or safety officer. Within the construciton sites that met the criteria

selection, the researcher chose at random the construction site and the specific date to

conduct the study. The sample included only one construction site per company. The

company’s safety coordinator was responsible for informing the worksite personnel about

the study and making logistic arragements in order for the researcher to visit the

worksite.
32

FIGURE 6

Stratified Sample Selection Flowchart

1 612
| Construction
1: companiesinSum
i ARLdatabase

1 1 1

wmmm
companywithno
companieswith
1 272
|fi companiesWith.
Selection criteria:
No. workers> 20 without including
administrative workers
informationabout fewerthan20workers
num berofworkers Ijporethan20workers

I
Verify with SU R A ’s safety
executive account the
wmamm8sm 106
current projects status o f
companieswhichare Nosafetyofficer,
Constructionsites each company
outsideofBogota partofa closetofinishinga
m etropolitanarea holdinggroup projectornot
havingaproject

X
35 (40%) 20 (23%) 32 (37%)
Cluster companies and
3-y Injuiy rate < 8.5 8.5 < 3-y injury rate < 17.0 3-y Injury rate > 17.0
calculate proportions within the
sample frame potential "Low" "Medium" "High"
participants in three groups

18 12 14
Random select invited to participate | invited to participate invited to participate
(Expectedparticipating \ (Expected participating (Expected participating
group companies n—12) companies n=7) companies n=ll)
33

Individual-level recruitment

The intended population for the study of group differences in perceptions of

safety and health was 300 workers, 60 supervisors/foremen, and 30 site managers. At

each construction site at least 10 workers, 1-2 supervisors/foremen, and 1-2 site managers

were invited to voluntarily participate in the safety climate survey.

Surveys were conducted during work hours and on the construction site. Once

on the construction site, the site safety officer introduced the researcher to site managers,

field supervisors and foremen to explain the study as well as its confidentiality and

voluntary nature. In the field, the worksite was quickly reviewed with the safety officer

to find an appropriate place to conduct the survey and interviews. According to each

particular construction site layout, places offering privacy and low noise levels included

the locker room, the safety officer’s office, the cafeteria, the nurse’s office, or the site

manager’s office. When it was not possible to have access to one of these areas, the

survey or the interview was conducted in an isolated place in the field using the typical

environmental noise as a distractor to avoid being heard by others.

The next step was to choose the workers to be surveyed. It is common practice

at the construction sites to monitor workers’ arrival and dismissal hours through use of a

daily log kept in the security gatehouse (Appendix 3). The log allowed us to identify the

number of workers on the worksite at any time. According to the number of workers at

the worksite, and using the RANBETWEEN function (Excel Microsoft Office), a random

sample of workers at each construction site was selected to respond to the survey. If the
34

worker refused to take the survey, a new potential participant was selected randomly

from the daily log form.

The worker selected was contacted in the field by the safety officer and invited

to come to the place chosen to conduct the survey. Once there, and in absence of the

safety officer, the study was explained to the participant and he was told that the survey

sought information that would be useful to improve safety in the construction sector. The

informed consent form was read aloud, and, if the worker agreed to participate, it was

signed.

The survey was conducted as an in-person interviewer-assisted survey and

between December 2012 and April 2013. Survey assistants were safety professionals

from Sura ARL, who provided safety services to companies in the construction sector.

All of them held a degree in Industrial Engineering, specialization in Health and Safety

Management and had at least four years of experience as consultants in the construction

industry. Survey assistants were instructed to provide potential participants with

information such as the goal of the research, contact name and email address of the

researcher, as well as details about how and why the respondent was selected, and when

and where the information provided and how the data would be used. The survey

assistants conducted the survey during one regular visit to the construction. A total of five

survey assistants collected the entire survey sample.


35

PHOTO 1

Construction workers during surveys at the worksite

All survey assistants were trained in human-subjects protections and the survey

protocol. Training consisted of a thorough review of study purpose, survey objectives,

and recruitment protocols. In addition, several line-by-line reviews of the questionnaire

and informed consent protocol as well as realistic practice interviews were conducted.

Measures

The Nordic Occupational Safety Climate Questionnaire (NOSACQ-50) was

administered on the construction sites to project managers, site managers, supervisors,

and workers to assess perceptions of safety and health at the worksite. These data were

used to compare perceptions of safety climate across organizational positions.

Perceptions o f Safety and Health

The instrument chosen to assess safety and health perceptions for this study

was the Nordic Occupational Safety Climate-NOSACQ-50 (Appendix 4) which was

developed by the National Research Centre for the Working Environment (NRCWE) in

Denmark (Kines et al, 2010). According to the authors, the NOSACQ-50 encompasses
36

elements from organizational theory, safety climate theory, psychological theory, and

previous research conducted by the authors. It was initially validated with 500

construction workers in the Nordic countries and available in 22 languages, including

Spanish. The NRCWE has compiled a database of survey responses from 1.111

construction workers from 19 studies, eight languages versions, with the present study as

the first in Spanish, which can be used as a benchmarking tool.

The NOSACQ-50 gathers major themes in the operationalization of safety

climate, i.e. perceived management relationship with safety and how workers relate to

safety at work. Perception of the management relationship with safety is reflected in

aspects of management actions such as:

• Priority given to safety in the day-to-day worksite activities

• Being active in promoting safety

• Reacting to unsafe behavior

• Empowering workers and supporting participation

• Treating workers involved in work-related injuries

In turn, workers’ relationship to safety at work is assessed through facets such as the

following:

• Promoting safety, and care for each other’s safety

• Prioritizing safety before production goals

• Acceptance of risk-taking

• Discussing safety issues and learning from experience


37

• Taking safety suggestions from each other seriously

• Considering formal safety systems as effective

The NOSACQ-50 questionnaire

The NOSACQ-50 safety climate questionnaire consists of 50 items across

seven safety climate dimensions (Table 3) and three demographic questions. By

performing a factor analysis on data from the original studies in the construction industry,

Kines et al. (2010) extracted the seven safety climate dimensions. The first section of the

NOSACQ-50 safety climate instrument included the participant’s basic information (year

of birth, gender and job title), while the second part contained the 50 items related to

safety climate perceptions from the 50 items, 22 items elicited management commitment

to safety at the workplace while the remaining 28 items assessed how workers deal with

safety (Appendix 5).


38

TABLE 3

The NOSACQ-50 Safety Climate Questionnaire: dimensions and features. Adapted from Kines et al. 2010

Number of
Dimension Features
items
Workers' perceptions regarding site managers commitment in aspects
such as:
1. Management safety
- Safety priority
priority, commitment, and
- Safety encouragement and response to unsafe actions
competence
- Ability and skills to safety management
- Safety communication
Workers' perceptions about site managers commitment to encourage
2. Management safety
7 workers participation in safety
empowerment
3. Management safety Workers' perceptions about how site managers treat workers
6
justice
4. Workers’ safety Workers' perceptions regarding their commitment to safety and who they
6 take care of each other
commitment
Workers' perceptions regarding how they prioritize safety over tasks
5. Workers’ safety priority
advancement and how they accept to take risks
and risk non-acceptance

6. Safety communication, Workers' perceptions regarding co-workers support, encouraging to talk


learning, and trust in co- 8 about safety, and their ability to guarantee daily safe workplaces
workers safety competence
Workers' perceptions regarding the safety systems effectiveness, benefits
7. Trust in the efficacy of 7 of safety planning and goal-setting tools
safety systems
39

For this study, two modifications were made concerning the background

information and terminology. The background section was expanded and the Spanish

version was revised to adapt to the common terminology at Colombian construction

worksites. Questions regarding construction trades (suggested by NOSACQ-50’

author4), experience in the construction industry, seniority, type of job performed before

being a construction worker, work-related injuries at the current and previous

construction sites, and being a safety committee member were added in order to examine

correlations between demographic variables and safety climate dimensions.

In order to adapt the Spanish version to the Colombian work environment and

construction terminology, the NOSACQ-50 Spanish version was discussed with two

safety experts from Sura ARL and with a group of ten safety executives from Sura ARL

with broad experience in this sector. They were specifically asked to evaluate the

language used throughout the questionnaire. Feedback was incorporated into the original

Spanish version to reflect the appropriate terminology. For example, given the

organizational structure of a construction site which involves site managers, contractors,

supervisors and foremen, the term “management” may address only the top management

leaving aside immediate bosses such as supervisors. Thus, in questions 1 to 22 the term

“management” was replaced by “Manager responsible for the construction site” to allow

including both upper and middle managers (project manager, site engineers, supervisors

and foremen).

4 Unpublished correspondence with Pete Kines PhD, Senior Research at the Norwegian National Research
Centre for the Working Environment (NRCW E) from Norway. July 27,2012 and January 31, 2013.
40

The final instrument comprised 13 background questions and 50 safety climate

perception items (Appendix 6). All responses were made on a four point Likert scale

with strongly disagree, disagree, agree, and strongly agree. As in the original Nordic

version, the instrument preserved items asked in both a positive way and in a reversed

(negated) one. All the items were answered in the same way but scored depending on the

formulation o f the question (Table 4).

TABLE 4

The NOSACQ-50 Questionnaire positive and reversed item according to the scoring
system. Source: Analyzing NOSACQ-50
www.arbeidsmilioforskning.dk/en/Dublikationer/spoergeskemaer

Strongly Disagree Agree Strongly

disagree agree

Score for positive items 1 2 3 4

Score for reversed items 4 3 2 1

Data were collected using QuickTapSurvey (TabbleDubble Inc., 2013), an

application created for collecting survey responses on tablets. The questionnaire was

created on line and downloaded to the tablets carried by the interviewers where responses
41

were collected. The data were stored on the application and exported by uploading to a

secure server at University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Data collection methods and protocols used in this study were reviewed and

approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Massachusetts Lowell

(IRB 12-131-PUN-XPD). All survey assistants were trained in human-subjects

protections and the survey protocol. All respondents agreed to participate via oral

informed consent according to the approved protocols. Participation was voluntary and

confidential and no personal identifiers were collected or associated with survey

responses.

Pilot study

The pilot study was designed for testing adequacy of survey protocol, research

instruments including NOSACQ-50 questionnaire and organizational practices

assessment, and the individual recruitment approach. The pilot study aimed to evaluate

whether once at the construction site, the research protocol was realistic and workable,

identify logistical issues such as getting access to potential participants, availability of a

“private” place to conduct the survey, time and people needed for conducting surveys,

and training survey assistants on how to conduct the surveys.

From the database provided by Sura ARL, four construction companies were

selected to conduct the pilot study. Companies were selected based on the selection

criteria mentioned above. Site managers and safety officers were contacted via phone to

explain the study and the pilot aims and to obtain permission for construction site access.
42

Once on the construction site, the researcher was introduced to site managers to present

the study and obtain authorization to visit the workplace, survey and interview workers,

supervisors (maestros) and site managers. The results from the four companies

participating in the pilot study were excluded from the final sample.

According to the protocol, workers to be surveyed were selected from the daily

log and invited to participate after reading the informed consent. Availability of “private”

places within the construction sites may vary according to project progress. Places

identified as viable to conduct the survey included the dining area, site management

offices, workers changing rooms, or the work area. The dining area was very often

located within the construction facility but a distant from the work area. Although it was

an open area, it was only accessible to workers during meal hours (9:00 am, 11:30 am,

and 2:30 pm). Trailers and provisional facilities used as offices for site managers were an

appropriate option when no people were there. Given the construction site layout,

surveying workers in their work area was also a possibility. Although, they might be

watched by other workers the noisy environment was used as a natural way to avoid

being heard by others around.

Within the four companies, 37 participants were surveyed in order to assess

whether the NOSACQ-50 Spanish version needed adaption to reflect local interpretations

and wording. Given the low literacy level in the construction sector, a self-administered

questionnaire with 16 demographic questions and 50 safety climate items required at least

1 hour of reading and responding, making it less likely to reach the intended sample (10

workers, 2 supervisors and 1 manager). Based on that premise, the survey was conducted
43

through an interviewer-assisted questionnaire, without hard copy. In instead, the survey

software Quick Tap Survey and tablets device (Ipad 2) were used to collect data

electronically. Conducting the survey using this approach reduced the time to 12-15

minutes.

The scale o f responses presented particular confusion to workers when

negative questions were asked. In these cases it was necessary to rephrase the question as

well as the participant’s response to assure that he/she understood the question and the

response matched his/her understanding . After the pilot, these questions were reworded

for ease of understanding.

During the pilot, when participants were asked regarding injuries suffered on

the current or previous construction sites, most of them reported having had no work-

related injuries. However, when examples about minor injuries such as slips, trips, cuts,

hit, or pinch were provided, an important number of participants agreed to have had this

sort of injuries, but they had not reported them because they considered minor injuries as

“just part of the job”. Based on these responses, examples of minor and severe injuries

were included in the questionnaire for all items regarding injuries.

Data analysis

The questionnaire data were exported from QuickTap Survey App into

Microsoft Office Excel and then analyzed by using IBM SPSS Statistics versions 18 and

21. The items were divided into two groups as positive and reversed items and scores

were assigned according to values shown in Table 4. The score for each dimension was
44

calculated as the sum of the positively formulated items plus the sum of reversed

formulated items and then the true mean was calculated as is show in Table 5.

Participants were grouped into three job titles workers, supervisors and

managers. Supervisors and foremen were categorized into one group (supervisors); site

and project managers were grouped as managers. A safety climate mean score was

calculated for each participant, as mentioned above. Safety climate mean scores by

dimension were calculated by aggregating the individual mean scores divided by the

number of items in each dimension. A measure of the total safety mean score was

obtained by aggregating the dimension mean scores.


45

TABLE 5

The NOSACQ-50 Safety climate dimensions positive and reverse items and mean score calculations. Source: Analyzing
NOSACQ-50 www.arbeidsmilioforskning.dk/en/publikationer/spoergeskemaer

Reversed
Reversed formulated
Positively formulated items formulated Mean score calculation
items
items

Dim ension 1- management safety (A 1+A 2+f5-A 31+A 4+f5-A 51+A 6+A 7+f5-A 81+f5-A 911
A l, A 2, A 4, A 6, A7 A 3, A 5, A 8, A9
priority and ability (9 items): Number o f answered items

Dim ension 2 - management safety A 10, A l l , A 12, ( A 10 + A 11+ A 12+C5-A131+A14+C5-A151+A161


A 13, A 15
empowerment (7 items): A 14, A 16 Number o f answered items

Dim ension 3 - management safety A 17, A 19, A 20, ( A 17+C5-A181+A 19 + A 2 0 + f 5 -A 2 11+A221


A 18, A21
justice (6 items): A 22 Num ber o f answered items

Dim ension 4 - workers’ safety (A 23+A 24+(5-A 251+(5-A 261+A 27+(5-A 2811
A 23, A 24, A 27 A 25, A 26, A 28
commitment (6 items): Num ber o f answered items

Dim ension 5 - workers’ safety priority A 29, A 30, A3 1, (Y5-A291+ (5-A301+ f5 -A 3 11+ f5-A 321+A 33+f5-A 341+ T5-A3511
A33
and risk non-acceptance (7 items): A 32, A 34, A 3 5 Number o f answered items

Dim ension 6 - Peer safety A 36, A 37, A38,


fA 36+ A 37+ A 38+ A 39+ A 40+ f5-A 411+ A 42+ A 431
communication learning, and trust in A 39, A 40, A42, A41
Number o f answered items
safety ability (8 items): A 43

Dim ension 7 - workers’ trust in efficacy A 44, A 46, A 48, ( A 44+ f5-A 451+A 46+f5-A 471+A 48+f 5-A491+A501
A 45, A 47, A 49
o f safety system s (7 items): A 50 Number o f answered items
46

The dependent variable was evaluated to see whether the distribution deviated

from a normally distribution. Kolmogorov-Smimov and Shapiro-Wilk tests of normality

showed the data were non-normally distributed. Data and residuals violated the

assumption of normality. Transforming data and robust regression were assessed as

alternatives in order to explore the relationship of the variables under study. First,

logarithm, natural log, and square root transformations were applied to see what effect

they would have on reducing the skewed distribution of the data and induced normality.

The natural log transformation approximated the data to a normal distribution. The

relationships of variables were also explored using robust linear regression which showed

similar results to transforming data in terms of significance of associations. Therefore,

given that robust multiple regression reduces the standard errors and can be directly

interpreted, it was used to test the relationship between dependent variable (safety

climate) and independent variable (job title), and to explore the effect on the association

caused by other independent variables. Linear regression analysis was used to determine

the relative influence of individual factors (age, years worked in construction, years on

the company, months on the worksite, previous work-related injuries, education, and

being a safety committee member) and organizational factors (construction trade) on

safety climate and its seven dimensions in the construction sites.

Variables such as previous injuries suffered on the worksite or other worksites,

and being a safety committee member were dummy coded (0 = Yes and 1= No). In Step

1, safety climate was entered as the dependent variable and job title as the independent

one. In the next steps, individual variables and organizational factors were entered one at
47

a time into the regression in order to evaluate their impact on the association between job

title and safety climate.

Job positions across the construction organizational structure present a clear

differentiation based on education. Requirements for being a site or project manager

include at least having a university degree in Civil Engineering or Architecture, so it was

decided that they should not be entered simultaneously into the regression analysis.
48

RESULTS

Participants’ demographics

A total of 353 construction personnel across 26 construction sites completed

the NOSACQ-50 questionnaire. On average, 10 construction workers, 2 supervisors, and

one manager from each company responded to the survey. Companies from six different

construction trades were surveyed, with more participants from formwork (39.4%),

tunnels and highways (15.9%), and masonry (15.6%)

The mean age of respondents was 36 years (Table 6). the average length of

time in the construction industry was 10 years, average tenure with the current company

was 4 years, and time averaged 8 months at the current construction site. Three quarters

of the respondents were construction workers (n=266), primarily male (98%), with an

average age of 34.5 years. Construction workers had an average 8.6 years in the

construction industry (ranging from 15 days to 49 years); had worked with their current

company an average of 3.2 years (ranging from 15 days to 30 years), and had worked at

the current construction site an average of 7.2 months (ranging from 15 days to 36

months). As might be expected, all site and project managers had an Engineering degree

or higher. O f all the supervisors, 24% had some elementary school education, 48% had

some high school education or high school degree, and 27 % had some college or

technical school education. Twenty four percent of the respondents stated having

suffered work-related injuries in previous jobs while 13% indicated having suffered

injuries at the current construction site. Supervisors had the higher seniority in the

construction industry with a mean of 19 years, six years more than managers’ average
49

(x=13 years), and 12 years more than workers (3c= 8.6 years). Site and project managers

had an average tenure at their current construction site of 1 year (ranging from 1 to 30

months).

Only 15% of the respondents were members of any safety committee,

including the basic emergency response team. There were significant mean differences

among the three job titles on age, years worked in construction, years worked on this

company, and months worked on the worksite. Also composition of the sample in

relation to injuries suffered in previous construction worksites was significantly different

across job titles (%2(2) =7.210,p <0.05).

Associations between the variables

Correlation coefficients among the individual variables and safety climate

dimensions are displayed in Table 7. Total safety climate mean scores were not

significantly correlated with years worked in the construction industry or with either

years worked in the current company but showed modest levels of correlation with age

and months worked on the worksite (r s= 0.113 and r $= -0.130). In general, the seven

safety climate dimensions presented positive and low but significant Pearson’s

correlations (p < 0.1) with each other, ranging from 0.227 to 0.606. Among the seven

safety climate dimensions, management safety empowerment and management safety

justice presented the highest correlation while the lowest was found between peer safety

communication and workers' trust in efficacy of safety systems.


TABLE 6

Distribution of participants’ demographic variables by job title

Job Title
Total
Variables
sam ple M anagers
W orker Supervisors

Participants 353 266(75.4%) 55(15.6%) 32(9.1%)

Age

Mean ±SD 35.9 i 10.7 34.5 ±10.3 41.8 ±10.7 36.5110.5

Median 34.0 33.0 42.0 35.5

G ender

Male 340(96.3%) 259(97.4%) 55(100%) 26(81.3%)

Female 13(3.7%) 7(2.6%) - 6(18.8%)

Years in construction (m ean ±SD)

Mean ±SD 10.61 9.4 8.6 ±7.9 19 ±11.0 12.7 ± 10.0

Median 6.5 20.0 10.0

Years on th e company (m e a n t SD)

Mean ± SD 3 .9 1 6.1 3.0± 6.1 5.4 ±5.5 6.2 ±5.8

Median 2.0 3.0 4.0

Months on th e worksite (m e a n t SD)

Mean iS D 7.9 ±7.4 7.3 ±4.3 8.7 ±7.4 11.5 ± 10

Median 6.0 6.0 8.0

Injuries on previous construction sites (Yes) 84(23.8%) 62 (23.3%) 19 (34.55) 3 (9.4%)

Injuries on th e current construction sites


47(13.3%) 37(13.9%) 7(12.7%) 3 (9.4%)
(Yes)
Company trade

Masonry 55(15.6%) 40(15%) 11(20%) 4(12.5%)

Formwork 139 (39.4%) 105 (39.5%) 21(38.2%) 13(40.6%)

Tunnel-Highway-road 56(15.9%) 42 (15.8%) 9(16.4%) 5(15.6%)

Precast 17 (4.8%) 10 (3.8%) 5(9.1%) 2(6.3%)

Steelwork 48(13.6%) 39(14.7%) 4(7.3%) 5(15.6%)

Elect inst 38(10.8%) 30(11.3%) 5(9.1%) 3 (9.4%)

Education

Elementary school 109 (30.9%) 96(36.1%) 13(23.6%)

Some high school 87 (24.6%) 75(28.2%) 12(21.8%)

Com pleted high school 88(25.0%) 73 (27.4%) 15(27.3%)

Technical/vocational training 31 (8.8%) 21 (7.9%) 10(18.2%)

Bachelor 37(10.5%) - 5(9.1%) 32(100%)

Safety com m ittee m em ber (Yes) 52(14.7%) 37(13.9%) 9(16.4%) 6(18.8%)


51

TABLE 7

Spearman's rho correlation matrix and p values of overall safety climate score and demographic variables (n=353)

Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
1 Age 1.000
2 Years in construction .649“ 1.000
Years on this
3 .424“ .511“ 1.000
company
Months on this
4 .279“ .254" .347“ 1.000
worksite
Management safety
5 .137“ .090 .079 -.119* 1.000
priority
Management safety
6 .075 .022 .083 -.082 .606" 1.000
empowerment
Management safety
7 .066 .039 .045 .588" .540" 1.000
justice .140“
Workers' safety
8 .108* .066 .123* -.070 .564** .511“ .502“ 1.000
commitment
Workers' safety
9 .038 .013 -.013 -.126* .516" .446“ .467** .527“ 1.000
priority
Peer safety
10 .071 .043 .121* -.093 .499“ .396“ .468“ .610** .417" 1.000
communication
Workers' trust in
— — _**
11 efficacy of safety .085 .050 .070 -.021 .314“ .251“ .297 .457" .227** .519“ 1.000
systems

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).


*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
52

Instrument reliability

The internal consistency of the instrument items was confirmed by a

Cronbach’s alpha of 0.917. Reliability analysis showed Cronbach alphas greater than 0.6

for the 7 dimensions (Table 8). Examination of the individual Cronbach’s alpha

coefficients revealed moderate consistency in most of the dimensions (a>0.7); relatively

low internal consistency of the peer safety communication dimension for the total sample

(a>0.619), workers (a>0.662), and supervisors (a>0.635); and of the worker’s safety

priority dimension for supervisors (a>0.648) and workers (a>0.624). The management

safety priority dimension presented low consistency for managers (a>0.615).

Cronbach’s alpha coefficients of the total sample were close to the values reported by the

NOSACQ-50 authors..
53

TABLE 8

Comparison of internal consistency reliability coefficients from this study with the results from NOSACQ-50 authors.

Cronbach's alpha
Number
Dimension Reported by Total sample W orkers Supervisors Managers
of items
Kines e t al. (n=353) (n=266) (n=55) (n=32)

1 Management safety priority 9


0.87 0.775 0.776 0.803 0.615

2 Management safety em powerm ent 7


0.73 0.653 0.698 0.767 0.796

3 Management safety justice 6


0.71 0.746 0.747 0.718 0.826

4 Workers' safety com m itm ent 6


0.77 0.733 0.721 0.778 0.729

5 Workers' safety priority 7


0.80 0.697 0.648 0.624 0.838

6 Peer safety communication 8


0.79 0.619 0.662 0.635 0.715

7/ Workers' trust on efficacy o f safety 7


systems 0.82 0.738 0.729 0.712 0.842
54

Overall perceptions of safety climate

The total safety climate mean score by job position ranged from 2.83 to 3.06.

Workers had the lowest mean safety climate score both in the total mean safety climate

scores as well as for each one of the NOSACQ-50 seven dimensions. The order of job

positions based on the lowest to highest mean safety climate score was as follows:

worker, supervisor, and manager (Table 9). The workers' safety priority dimension,

which is an indicator of the perceived priority given to safety before production goals,

had the lowest safety climate score of all dimensions (2.47, SD 0.47). By contrast, the

“workers’ trust in the efficacy of safety systems” dimension, which is concerned with the

perceived importance of adequate safety training, status of the safety officer, and

confidence in safety policies, had the highest mean score (3,24, SD 0,39) in total and by

job title (Figure 7).


55

TABLE 9

Safety climate scores o f the respondents by jo b title

Job Title
Total respondents
Mean (SD)
Dimension in- 3 5 3 )
Mean (SD) Worker Supervisor Manager
(n=266) (n=55) (n=32)

Total Safety Score 2.86 (0.31) 2.82 (0.30) 2.93 (0.32) 3.06 (0.31)

Management safety priority 2.90 (0.39) 2.86 (0.37) 2.94 (0.44) 3.20 (0.34)

Management safety empowerment 2.57 (0.46) 2.53 (0.43) 2.63 (0.51) 2.79 (0.54)

Management safety justice 2.77 (0.47) 2.72 (0.46) 2.91 (0.44) 2.94 (0.51)

Workers' safety commitment 3.04 (0.43) 3.00 (0.40) 3.11 (0.49) 3.26 (0.43)

Workers' safety priority 2.47 (0.47) 2.41 (0.44) 2.52 (0.46) 2.87 (0.56)

Peer safety communication 3.03 (0.30) 3.00 (0.31) 3.08 (0.30) 3.13 (0.27)

Workers' trust on efficacy of safety systems 3.24 (0.39) 3.21 (0.30) 3.33 (0.40) 3.27 (0.52)
56

FIGURE 7

Safety climate scores by dimensions and job position

Management safety
priority
3.5

Workers' trust on
3.0 Management safety
efficacy o f safety
empowerment
systems

2.5

Peer safety Management safety


communication justice

Worker
— Supervisor
Workers' safety Workers' safety
Manager
priority commitment
57

Regression analysis

The results of the linear robust regression analysis are presented in Table 10.

At Step 1, it was found that job title was a significant predictor of current safety climate

such that managers reported higher scores of safety climate than supervisors and workers;

and supervisors also reported higher scores than workers. Perceptions of safety climate

were significantly more positive when compared to those of respondents in the supervisor

and worker group. Although there were significant differences among the perceptions of

the three groups (worker, supervisor, and manager) in the total safety climate mean

scores some dimensions do not differ significantly when supervisors and managers were

compared to workers.

At Step 2, age emerged as a low but significant predictor ((5=0.003,/?=0.05)

such that an increment of one year in the participant’s age increases safety climate score

by 0.003 points. At subsequent steps, individual variables were added. However, with

these predictors only years worked at the worksite, months at the worksite, being a safety

committee member, and construction trade were significantly associated with safety

climate. Variables that were not significantly associated with total safety climate mean

scores were years worked in the construction industry and injuries suffered at the current

or previous construction sites.


58

TABLE 10

Robust linear regression analysis o f demographics and safety climate

S tep 1 S tep 2 S tep 3 S tep 4 S tep 5 S tep 6 Step 7 S tep 8 S tep 9 S tep 10
Step P redictors
P P P P P P P P P P
1 Job title
Intercept 2.82* 2.7* 2.81* 2.8* 2.85* 2.9* 2.84* 2.81* 2.69* 2.8*
Supervisors 0.11* 0.09* 0.1* 0.09* 0.12* 0.11* 0.11* 0.11* 0.09* 0.09
M anagers 0.25** 0.24*** 0.24** 0.22*** 0.27** 0.24** 0.25** 0.24** 0.23** 0.04***
2 Age 0.003**
3 Years in construction 0.001
4 Years in this company 0.007**
5 Months in this worksite 0.004***
6 Safety commmitte member
No -0.09**
7 Injuries in this worksite
No -0.012
8 Injuries in previous w orksites
No 0.012
9 Company trade
Elect in st 0.11**
Steelwork 0.14*
P recast 0.70*
Tunnel-Highway-road 0.20*
Formwork 0.09**
M asonry * 0
10 Education
Bachelor 0.23**
Technical 0.01
High shcool 0.04
Elementary 0
*p< 0.001
** p <0.05
*** p<0.10
59

Safety climate dimensions

The NOSACQ-50 safety climate questionnaire comprises three dimensions at

the organizational level and four at the workgroup level. Organizational level dimensions

include management safety priority, management safety empowerment, and management

safety justice. Entering each of the dimensions as the outcome variable and job title as the

independent variable, a regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the impact of

individual factors on the relationship between each safety climate dimension and job title.

The management safety priority dimension intended to measure to what extent

the respondents perceived the commitment of management as far as encouraging

worksite personnel to timely correct safety issues, enforce safe rules, prioritize safety

over production, and possess the knowledge and abilities to manage safety (Figure 8). Job

title differences in safety climate were found still at each safety climate dimension level.

Significantly differences in perceptions of management safety priority ([3=0.344,

/K0.001), where found between managers and workers but not between supervisors and

workers. Individual variables were introduced one at time to the regression to test for

confounding. Age, months worked at the worksite, and being a safety committee member

showed small effect on the association between job title and management safety priority.

The management safety empowerment dimension assessed to which extent

management involved workers in safety decisions, value and trust their abilities and

judgment to contribute to construction site safety (Figure 9). Significant differences were

found between managers’ and workers’ perceptions ([3=0.264,/?<0.001), but not between
60

supervisors and workers. Age and injuries suffered in previous worksite had a small

effect on the association between job title and this safety climate dimension.

The management justice dimension assessed perceptions related to the extent to

which management treats workers fairly when they are involved in accidents (Figure 10).

Significant differences in perceptions of the management justice dimension were found

between managers and workers (P=0.213,/K0.05) and supervisors and workers

(p=0.182,/?<0.01). When individual factors were introduced into the regression months

worked at the worksite showed small effect on the association between job title and

perceptions of the management justice dimension.

The NOSACQ-50 questionnaire includes four dimensions at the work-group

level as follow workers ’ safety commitment, workers ’ safety priority and risk non-

acceptance, peer safety communication and trust in the efficacy o f safety systems. The

workers ’ safety commitment dimension assesses perceptions of how they are committed

with safety, promoting safety and care for each other (Figure 11). The workers ’ safety

priority and risk non-acceptance dimension assesses to the extent to which workers

prioritize safety over production, accept risk-taking in order to get the job done, or do not

show fearlessness (Figure 12).

The peer safety communication dimension explores workers’ perceptions

regarding if they generally discuss safety issues and learn from the experience, take co­

workers safety suggestion seriously, and trust in each other’s ability to ensure safety in

every day work (Figure 13). The last work-group dimension is workers ’ trust in the
61

efficacy o f safety systems. This dimension assesses workers’ perceptions about the

importance and effectiveness of formal safety systems, safety committees, and the

benefits o f early planning and training (Figure 14).

Work-group dimensions showed significant differences in perceptions between

managers and workers but not between supervisors and workers across the three of the

four dimensions: workers ’ safety commitment (P=0.250, p<0.01), workers ’ safety

priority and risk non-acceptance (P=0.458,/?<0.001), and peer safety communication

(P=0.126,/?<0.05). Age and years worked in the construction site had a small effect in the

association between job title and workers ’ safety commitment. Months worked in the

construction site and being a member of safety committee showed a small effect on the

association between job title and workers ’ safety priority and risk non-acceptance

dimension. Individual factor did not show any effect on the association between job title

and peer safety communication and trust in the efficacy of safety systems respectively.

The workers ‘ trust in the efficacy o f safety systems dimension showed

significant differences in perceptions between supervisors and workers (P=0.182,/?<0.01;

P=0.118,/?<0.05) but not between managers and workers. There were not found

significant effect of the individual variables into the association between job title and

perception of the trust in the efficacy o f safety systems.


FIGURE 8

Dimension 1 Management Safety Priority scores

1. M anagem ent encourages


em p lo y ees here to w ork in
accordance w ith safety rules -
ev en w hen th e w ork sch ed u le
is tight
4.C
2 . M anagem ent ensures that
9. M anagem ent lacks the
ev ery o n e receiv es the
ability to deal w ith safety
necessary inform ation on
properly
safety

8. W hen a risk is detected, 3. M anagem ent lo o k s th e other


m anagem ent ignores it without w ay w h en so m eo n e is ca reless
action w ith safety

7. M anagem ent ensures thal


safety problem s d iscovered
4 . M anagem ent p la ces safety
during safety
b efore production
rounds/evaluations are
corrected im m ediately
6. W e w h o w ork here f
ii anagem ent accepts
co n fid en ce in the m p lo y e e s here taking risks
m anagem ent's ability to deal w hen the w ork sch ed u le is Manager
w ith safety tight Supervisor
Worker
FIGURE 9

Dimension 2 Management Safety Empowerment scores

10. M anagem ent strives to


d esign safety routines that are
m eaningful and actually w ork
4 XL

16. M anagem ent in v o lv es 11. M anagem ent m akes sure that


em p lo y ees in d ecisio n s regarding everyon e can in flu en ce sa fety in
safety their w ork environm ent

15. M anagem ent never asks


12. M an agem ent en cou rages
em p lo y ees for their op inions
e m p lo y ee s here to participate in
before m aking d ecisio n s regarding
d ecisio n s w h ich a ffect their safety
safety

14. M anagem ent strives foi


M anagem ent n ever con sid ers
everyb ody at the w ork site to havi
em p lo y ees' su g g estio n s regarding
high co m p eten ce concerning
safety
safety and risks

Manager
Supervisor
Worker
64

FIGURE 10

Dimension 3 Management Safety Justice scores

17. M anagem ent co llects


accurate inform ation in accident
investigations
4 .0

3.5 18. Fear o f san ction s (n eg a tiv e


22 . M anagem ent treats co n seq u en ces) from
em p lo y ees in volved in an m anagem ent d iscou rages
accident fairly em p lo y ee s here from reporting
n ear-m iss accid en ts
2 .5

. 2.0

19. M anagem ent listens


2 1 . M anagem ent alw ays
carefully to all w h o h ave b een
b lam es em p lo y ees for accidents
in v o lv ed in an accid en t

^ — Manager
2 0 . M anagem ent looks for
Supervisor
cau ses, not guilty persons, w hen
an accident occurs Worker
65

FIGURE 11

Dimension 4 Workers’ Safety Commitment scores

23. W e w h o work here try hard


together to ach ieve a h igh le v el o f
safety
4 .0

3.5
24 . W e w h o w ork here take jo in t
2 8 . W e w h o w ork here take no
resp onsibility to ensure that the
resp onsibility for each other’s safety
w ork place is a lw a y s kept tidy

27. W e w h o w ork here help each 25 . W e w h o w ork here d o not care


other to w ork safely about ea ch others' sa fety

M a n a g er
S u p e r v iso r
2 6 . W e w h o work here av o id
tackling risks that are d iscovered ■Worker
66

FIGURE 12

Dimension 5 Workers’ safety priority and risk non-acceptance socres

29. W e w h o work here regard


risks as unavoidable
4.(K

3 0 . W e w h o w ork here
35. W e w h o w ork here accept
con sid er m inor accid en ts to b e a
risk-taking at w ork
normal part o f our d aily w ork

34. W e w h o w ork here 3 1. W e w h o w ork here accep t


con sid er that our w ork is dangerous b eh avior as lo n g as
unsuitable for cow ards there are n o accid en ts

33. W e w h o w ork here nevi 2. W e w h o w ork here break


accept risk- taking even i f the safety rules in order to co m p lete
w ork sch ed u le is tight w ork on tim e
Manager
Supervisor
Worker
67

FIGURE 13

Dimension 6 Safety communication, learning, and trust in co-workers safety competence scores

3 6. W e w h o w ork here try to find a


solution i f som eo n e p oints out a
sa fety problem
4 .0 ,

4 3 . W e w h o w ork here can talk W e w h o w ork here feel sa fe


freely and op en ly about safety w hen w ork in g together

4 2 . W e w h o w ork here alw ays 3 8 . W e w h o w ork here h ave great


d iscu ss safety issu es w hen such trust in each others' a b ility to ensure
issu es co m e up safety

41. W e w h o w ork here seldom talk 3 9. W e w h o w ork here learn from


about safety our exp erien ces to prevent accid en ts

Manager
4 0 . W e w ho work here take each Supervisor
others' op in ion s and su g g estio n s
Worker
con cern in g safety seriou sly
68

FIGURE 14

Dimension 7 Workers’ trust in the efficacy of safety systems scores

44. We who work here consider


that a good safety representative
plays an important role in
preventing accidents
4.0„

50. We who work here consider it 45. We who work here consider
important to have clear-cut goals that safety rounds/evaluations
for safety have no effect on safety

46. We who work here consider


49. We who work here consider
that safety training to be good for
safety training to be meaningless
preventing accidents

48. We who work here consid' We who work here consider


that safety rounds/evaluations early planning for safety as
help find serious hazards meaningless — Manager
Supervisor
Worker
69

DISCUSSION

This study examined the perceptions of safety climate in 25 construction

companies in Colombia with a focus on the differences among three groups of

construction personnel: construction workers, field supervisors, and site managers.

Construction personnel were surveyed using the NOSACQ-50 questionnaire developed

by Kines et al. (2010). The overall safety climate (mean=2.86 ±0.31) reported in this

study can be considered as slightly positive (1- 4 Likert response scale, mean=2.5), but

with a substantial window for improvement according to the criteria proposed by the

Kines et al. (2010).

Perceptions of safety climate in this study, as well as in previous studies

(Findley, Smith, Gorski, & O’neil, 2007), varied between job groups. This finding agrees

with the definition of safety as a shared feature of a work group. These findings also

suggest that safety climate in the construction industry is not a homogenous characteristic

across the hierarchy, at least in Colombia. Site and project managers reported higher

safety climate scores than supervisors and construction workers.

In particular, there were major discrepancies between construction workers’

and site managers’ perceptions in the workers ’ safety priority dimension while their

perceptions regarding the workers' trust in efficacy o f safety systems dimension were

quite similar. In contrast to previous studies (Arcury et al., 2012; Wu, Liu, & Lu, 2007),

individual variables such as age, experience and seniority were not significant

determinants of the participants’ perceptions of safety in this material.


70

Differences in perceptions of safety climate may be explained by differences

among the three groups studied in duties, responsibilities and characteristics, as well as

educational background. The organizational hierarchy presents clear boundaries

regarding factors such as tasks performed, educational requirements, experience and

responsibilities. Vertical mobility is almost nonexistent in construction. Being a site

manager or project manager is only possible for those who hold a university degree in

civil engineering or architecture. Wage labor in the construction industry attracts mainly

unskilled manpower; it is very unlikely to find construction workers who hold a

university degree or even a technology degree. Differences in safety perceptions across

the groups may reflect dissimilarities in roles (Huang, Leamon, Courtney, Chen, &

DeArmond, 2011; Wu et al., 2007). For the purposes of achieving project objectives, a

site manager’s major role is to accomplish deadlines and budgeting. Thus, site managers

perform mainly administrative tasks with limited exposure to a hazardous environment,

whereas workers constantly experience the risky conditions of the worksite. Field

supervisors combine low administrative tasks with more operational responsibilities

which require their presence at the actual worksite, allowing them to closely experience

the daily working conditions.

Site managers reported significantly higher perceptions of safety climate than

construction workers. A more positive perception of safety climate may reflect that site

managers are less knowledgeable about actual working conditions and, in turn, that they

have little direct interest in monitoring safety issues at the construction site or in

allocating an appropriate budget for safety issues.


71

Additionally, the fact that the major discrepancy between site managers and

workers was in the workers ’ safety priority and risk non-acceptance dimension may play

a negative role in defining safety priorities. Workers’ and managers’ perceptions that

construction work is unsuitable fo r cowards, and that dangerous behavior is acceptable

as long as there are no accidents, may have negative impacts on safety management

because they could reduce or delay efforts to control hazard exposure through

engineering controls.

Given that there is still no agreement on the dimensional structure of safety

climate, researchers have used a variety of safety climate scales even within the same

industry (Dedobbeleer & Beland, 1991; Jorgensen, Sokas, Nickels, Gao, & Gittleman,

2007; Kines et al., 201 lb). Zohar et al. suggested that safety climate scales are most

useful when developed specifically for a particular industry and that variability of the

content among sectors is not undesirable (Zohar, 2010a). However, despite the

importance that measuring safety climate in construction has taken on recently

(Cigularov, Adams, Gittleman, Haile, & Chen, 2013a; Hon, Chan, & Yam, 2014; Sparer,

Murphy, Taylor, & Dennerlein, 2013), most studies are not comparable because of the

lack of unified scales.

In this study, although the statistical results confirmed the reliability and

validity of the NOSACQ-50 questionnaire, its ability to assess realities in the

construction industry should be discussed. For instance, the organizational structure of

the construction site, based on contractors and subcontractors, and even workers labeled

as “independent contractors”, may create confusion for workers assessing management’s


72

practices and safety attitudes. When workers are asked if “management strives...” or

“management encourages...” who should be the object of their responses? The contractor

who hired and pays them? The field supervisor, who decides task assignments? The site

managers who rarely talk to them or inspect safety conditions of the workplace? The

safety managers or coordinators who set up the safety rules? Respondents may have

different references when they respond to the survey (Sparer et al., 2013). Moreover, the

construction industry’s organizational structure adds particular challenges to measuring

construction workers’ perceptions. Previous studies have demonstrated differences in

safety perceptions across trades (Cigularov, Adams, Gittleman, Haile, & Chen, 2013b).

Workers from several contractors and diverse trades do work simultaneously at

construction sites. Therefore, statements such as “we who work here...” are broad and

may not differentiate among workers from diverse trades, possibly with different cultures

and facing different hazards.

The workers ’ trust in the efficacy o f safety systems dimension obtained the

highest score in all groups. It was also the safety dimension with the lowest discrepancy

between site managers and workers. Perceptions regarding the role played by safety

officers, as well as the effectiveness of safety walkthroughs and safety training, were

scored highly. However, the high values obtained in this dimension could be due to

design. For instance, items such as “we who work here consider safety training to be

meaningless”, can be understood as a question about general perception rather than

about practice implemented at a particular worksite.


73

The results in this study were also compared to the international NOSACQ-50

database compiled by the NRCWE5. The Colombian construction workers reported

significantly lower overall scores than 1,111 Nordic construction workers compiled in the

NRCWE database from 19 studies (8 language versions, none in Spanish). In this

comparison, significantly lower scores were also reported for the specific dimensions of

management safety empowerment (dimension 2), management safety justice (dimension

3) and workers’ safety priority (dimension 5) but significantly higher scores were

reported for workers ’ trust in efficacy o f safety systems (dimension 7). These differences

might reflect the effects of national culture, legislative or regulatory requirements in the

Nordic countries compared to Colombia. Also, NRCWE researchers reported that

companies in their database volunteered to participate. It is highly likely that companies

willing to administer the safety climate questionnaire to their employees have better

safety standards.

Assessments of safety climate perceptions often focus only on workers.

However, since site and project managers make worksite policies and establish work

procedures, while field supervisors execute these procedures at the floor shop (Hoivik,

Tharaldsen, Baste, & Moen, 2009; Huang et al., 2013), it would be relevant to study

those job groups, as well. Investigating the perceptions of representatives of various

hierarchical levels at the construction site may contribute to gaining an understanding

5 Unpublished correspondence with the author, Pete Kines PhD, Senior Research at the Norwegian
National Research Centre for the Working Environm ent., October 23,2013.
74

regarding characteristics of the entire workplace as well as the safety priorities of those

who hold the power and authority to promote changes at the workplace.

In principle, safety climate measures assess workers’ perceptions of the way in

which safety is being operationalized at the work place. Measuring safety climate might

bring advantages over just hazard awareness because it should facilitate identification of

worksite priorities which can be competing with safety. The presence of hazards at the

construction site may share similar root causes. Because of the evolving environment at a

construction site, anticipating hazards can be difficult. Thus, safety climate measures can

be a proactive indicator to identify potential gaps in safety management which may affect

safety conditions at the workplace. However, in order to achieve that goal more fully,

improved precision of the wording of these survey items may be necessary

Strengths and Imitations

Although the companies selected for this study came from the same workers’

compensation insurance company, the sample was stratified on 3-year injury rates to

assure better coverage of the population of interest in terms of injury experience. The 3-

year injury rate was considered to be more representative of a company’s injury history

than the injury rate from a single year, which could be unusually good or bad compared

to the long-term pattern simply because of low absolute numbers.

Results from the pilot study allowed exploration of the particular logistical and

technical issues, as well as an understanding of the items which might potentially have

undesirable impact on the survey administration and results. Rewording and rephrasing
75

questions, providing appropriate prompts, and identifying areas inside the construction

sites which guaranteed worker’ privacy to conduct the survey contributed to reducing

survey time, improving data quality and ensuring confidentiality.

This study also presented several limitations. It was based on a small sample

limited to a specific geographic location. These findings may not be applicable to all

construction workers or to other areas of the country or other countries. Despite these

limitations, the survey responses are indicative of a diverse group of policy-holders a

good insurance company as well as construction field and site managers.

Other strengths of this study include the fact that surveys were conducted inside the

construction site during working hours. This facilitated obtaining the expected sample

and is reflected in the very low rate of refusal (1.1%, or 3 workers from the same

company). Although approaching survey participants inside worksites could potentially

generate discomfort to them, this was not reported during the survey; instead survey

assistants reported great interest among the participants who responded


76

CONCLUSION

The construction industry presents basic differences in both work organization

and process when compared to the manufacturing sector, where the safety climate

concept was originally developed. The multidimensional nature of safety climate and the

complexity of the construction industry need to be addressed in appropriate instruments

designed to capture the day-to-day realities of the construction industry. This study

provides a comprehensive picture of the safety climate in a range of construction

companies with variations in safety performance (3-year injury rate) by assessing

hierarchical groups with clear differences in roles and responsibilities.

The results agree with previous research which describes safety climate as a

shared group perception but not as a homogenous characteristic of the organization.

Understanding differences in perceptions among hierarchical levels may contribute to

designing comprehensive organizational safety interventions which incorporate different

perspectives to improve the commitment to safety at all levels of the organization.


77

CHAPTER II

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SAFETY MANAGEMENT

PRACTICES AND SAFETY CLIMATE IN THE CONSTRUCTION

INDUSTRY

INTRODUCTION

Fatal and severe injuries as well as disabling illnesses disproportionately affect

workers in the construction industry around the world. The poor health and safety record

in this industrial sector is often attributed to particular features of the construction

industry such as the nature of construction operations, dynamic layouts (Gervais, 2003),

deficiencies in the implementation of management systems (including lack of

management commitment to safety, poor training, lack of hazard identification and

control, inadequate approaches of accident investigation), a risk -taking culture, and

specific work organization features (including temporary multi-organizations, contracting

and subcontracting, low-bid based contracts, and an unit-based payment scheme)(Lingard

& Rowlinson, 2005). All these risk factors are very often exacerbated by management

decisions aimed at maximizing project profits by imposing short deadlines and budgetary

constraints.
78

In general, most injuries occur due to a combination of an unexpected event

and ineffective safety measures, rather than a single cause (Hollnagel, 2008). Extensive

research has addressed causes of work-related injuries in order to improve safety

outcomes in the construction industry. Interventions focused on single or multiple factors

have been developed to implement safety measures and decrease injuries. Interventions

such as enforcing the implementation of engineering controls, safety campaigns and

programs, housekeeping, worker training and exercise programs have been evaluated to

corroborate their effectiveness in the complex work environment of construction sites

(Lehtola et al., 2008; Rinder, Genaidy, Salem, Shell, & Karwowski, 2008; Rivara &

Thompson, 2000).

Recently, safety climate has been suggested as a key factor related to safety

outcomes across different industries and environments. Several studies have focused on

how to operationalize and measure safety climate, but to date little research has explored

its potential determinants. Such understanding would be relevant since it may contribute

to identification of safety interventions aimed to enhance workplace safety climate and

therefore lower injury rates. Policies related to the implementation of safety standards,

safety training, resources for safety, safety committees, and safety performance feedback

have been considered as important elements of effective safety programs (i.g. Swuste

and Guldenmund, 2012; Abudayyeh et al 2006;Goldenhar, Moran and Colligan, 2001;

chen, ryan and Kelly 2006; Feng, 2013). Safety climate emphasizes the perceptions held

by employees regarding the importance of safety in their organization (DeJoy, Schaffer,

Wilson, Vandenberg, & Butts, 2004).


79

Safety Management Practices (SMPs)

Safety is a responsibility of top management and not of those with less power

and authority for changing the work place. SMPs encompass a wide range of top-down

activities or initiatives implemented at the work site with the ultimate goal of generating

numerous layers o f barriers between the workers and the hazards (Wachter & Yorio,

2014). Accordingly, upper management should establish and support specific safety

practices and guarantee that they are put into practice at the workplace in order to make it

safer. However, there is no group of practices clearly identified to lead to the desired

safety outcomes, elements such as safety policies, worker participation, training,

communication, planning and control have all been suggested as key aspects for a good

occupational health and safety management system that is capable of reducing workplace

injuries (Femandez-Muniz, Montes-Peon, & Vazquez-Ordas, 2009).

Several SMPs have been incorporated into voluntary or mandatory consensus

standards such as OHSAS 18001:2007 (British Standards Institute), AS/NZS 4801:2001

(Australia and New Zealand Standards), Guidelines on Occupational Safety and Health

Management Systems -ILO-OSH 2001- (International Labor Organization), OSHA

Safety and Health Management Systems (United States), and in the upcoming

international standard Safety Management ISO 45001:2016. Some common elements in

a safety management system include (Robson et al., 2007; Thomas, 2012):

• Safety policies

• Hazard identification and control


80

• Risk management

• Goals and objectives

• Safety performance measures

• Management responsibilities, accountabilities and authorities

• Management commitment and resources

• Safety planning

• Employee participation

• Training

Safety Management Practices (SMPs) on Construction Worksites

Rates of work-related injuries can be reduced through technical and

organizational interventions which should be implemented systematically attending to the

hierarchy of controls. In light of the public health primary prevention approach, hazards

can be directly prevented by implementing controls that attack the problem at its source.

Firstly, elimination of hazards through engineering controls. Secondly, reduction of

exposure to hazards through administrative controls, and lastly providing workers with

personal protective equipment according to the type and magnitude of hazards. Several

SMPs successfully applied in the manufacturing sector have been implemented with

relative effectiveness in the construction industry. Practices such as hazard checklists,

work permits, planned inspections, safety training, safety performance indicators, or goal

setting have been suggested as initiatives to reduce injuries and illnesses over time

(Cameron & Duff, 2007; Entzel, Albers, & Welch, 2007a; Hoonakker, P., Loushine, T.,

Carayon, P., Kallman, J., Kapp, A. and Smith, M., 2005; Westgaard & Winkel, 1997).
81

Taking safety management systems as a framework, this study assessed

management practices implemented at construction sites including practices focused on

hazard identification and control, management commitment to safety, hazard inspection,

accident reporting and investigation and worker training. This study aimed to examine

the relationship between construction workers’ perceptions of safety climate and

organizational safety practices implemented at the construction site.

Research Questions

This study section focused on the following research questions:

• Are SMPs implemented at construction sites related to with perceptions of safety

climate?

• Are differences in the implementation of SMPs addressed to fall hazards and

ergonomic hazards?

• Are there differences in the relationship between fall hazards and ergonomic

hazards and perceptions of safety at the construction site?

• Are the SMPs implemented associated to construction site injury rates?


82

METHODS

Study design and sampling of participating companies

Potential participating companies were recruited through Sura ARL in Colombia which
provides medical assistance and pays medical costs and wages lost for workers injured on
the job. Construction companies had to meet the following criteria of eligibility:
• A minimum number of 20 construction workers (not including administrative

employees)

• Involved in commercial or residential projects

• Sura ARL client for at least one year before the present study

• Construction projects in Bogota and surrounding metropolitan areas

• Construction site with safety officers

• One company per construction holding group

• Construction sites not at the last steps of the project

Criteria and methods for choosing potential participating companies were

explained in detail in Study I. The intended sample comprised a stratified random sample

of 30 construction companies. In the first step, there were 272 construction companies

from an original pool of 612 that had more than 20 workers (without including

administrative personnel). Construction companies located outside of the Bogota

metropolitan area, or without a current safety coordinator, or without current construction

projects were excluded. A total of 86 potential participating companies remained after

these steps. Demographics and injury rate data from 2000 to 2012 from each
83

construction company were provided by the workers’ compensation insurance company

(Sura ARL).

Using the 3-year (2010 to 2012) proportion of injuries these potential

participating construction companies were grouped into three categories: low rate,

medium rare, and high rate. Injury rate for the entire construction sector in Colombia

from 2010-2012 was used as a cut-off point (8.5 injuries per 100 workers). Companies

for which the injury rate was less than 8.5 per 100 workers were classified as “low”,

greater than 17.0 were “high”, and “medium” otherwise. For the purposes of this study,

proportion of injury was defined as the number of injuries divided by the total number of

workers reported during 2010 to 2012. In order to gather the intended sample of 30

construction companies, stratified sample selection was used inviting a total of 45

companies with approximately 15 from each group, expecting a refusal rate around 50%.

Measures

Safety Management Practices (SMPS) assessment tool

Safety practices include a broad range of activities, such as management

participation on walkthroughs or accident investigations, worker involvement in work

procedure modifications, developing procedures for hazard reports and investigation,

conducting meaningful toolbox talks, and addressing resources for safety. In addition

and to provide general data on the nature of the project, information was collected

pertaining to the expected duration, current stage, number of contractors, number of

workers and estimated project budget for each construction site.


84

To evaluate the implementation of different desired safety practices at the

organizational and project levels, an assessment tool was developed to be administered to

safety coordinators at each construction site. Practices incorporated into the tool were

adapted from several sources such as management system audits (ISO 9000, OHSAS

18000), best safety practices reported in the literature, elements for successful safety

programs, special regulatory requirements (mandatory practices, fall prevention

standards), or particular industrial practices (lean construction) [citations]. These SMPs

were sorted into four groups, which represent components contained in common safety

management systems consensus standards. The items included in this study evaluating

each SMPs were chosen through a literature review about the most effective or known

practices administered in the construction industry. Practices were grouped into (Table

1 1 ):

• Practices focused on the construction site hazard profile: this category was

comprised of 32 practices oriented to identify, assess and prioritize hazards at the

construction site as well as how contractors and subcontractors participate in this

process. It also appraised the type of controls implemented to minimize fall

hazards and manual material handling hazards.

• Practices focused on management commitment: this group was comprised of 25

practices reflecting aspects of management duties including safety planning,

safety roles and responsibilities, management participation, and measuring safety

performance.
85

• Practices focused on safety systems: this category was comprised of 17 items

assessing practices regarding safety inspections, near-misses and accident report

and investigation, and goal setting.

• Practices focused on people: this category involved 12 initiatives oriented to

improve personnel safety knowledge and skills and worker participation.


86

TABLE 11

Safety Management Practices Assessment Tool. Domains and practices

Safety Management
Practices (SMPs) Practices Items Total
Domains

Hazard identification 4

I. Practices focused on
Hazard assessment oo
defining construction site Hazard prioritization 7 32
hazard profile
i Contractors participation 3
Hazard control 10
Safety planning 4
Safety responsibilities 5
II. Practices focused on Safety committee 25
management involvement
Management participation 7
Measuring safety
performance 4
Goal setting 8
III. Practices focused on Safety inspections 3 17
improving safety system
Accident report and
investigation 6
IV. Practices focused on Workers participation 4 11
IA
improving people skills Training 8
87

Pilot the SMPs assessment tool

The assessment instrument was reviewed by four experienced safety

professionals from Sura ARL and it was piloted with safety managers from four

construction companies to clarify and refine. The final assessment instrument consisted

of 86 questions about safety practices requiring “Yes” or “No” answers, indicating the

practice was being followed at the construction site, and seven questions about the

current project stage (Appendix 7). The index of construction site safety practices

implemented was measured as the percentage of “Yes” responses over the total number

of responses. Therefore, companies with higher percentages had more SMPs in place.

When the practice assessed required verification of documents, for instance

discussion of accident investigations or contractor safety performance, safety committee

or project minutes were reviewed with the safety manager. This information included

hazard identification matrix and risk assessment, specific safety programs, meeting

minutes or workers training reports. Records were revised during the time of the

assessment and no hard copies or files were provided by the company to the researcher.

Safety climate survey

To survey employees at all levels about perceptions of safety climate, this

study used the Nordic Safety Climate Questionnaire (NOSACQ-50) developed and

validated by Kines et al. (2010). The NOSACQ-50 was developed by a Nordic network

of occupational safety researchers. It is based on organizational and safety climate theory,


88

psychological theory, previous empirical research, and empirical results acquired through

international studies and a continuous development process (Kines et al., 201 la).

The NOSACQ-50 measures perceptions of safety climate through 50 items

grouped into seven dimensions. Each item uses a 4-point Likert scale that ranges from 1-

4 (strongly agree, agree, disagree and strongly disagree). The seven dimensions are:

• Management safety priority, commitment, and competence

• Management safety empowerment

• Management safety justice

• Workers’ safety commitment

• Workers’ safety priority and risk non-acceptance

• Safety communication, learning, and trust in co-workers’ safety competence

• Trust in the efficacy of safety systems

In this instrument, participants are asked to rate both the importance given to

safety by the construction site management (site managers and field supervisors) as well

as the degree to which safety is a real priority of their co-workers. The original

instrument consisted of 50 items measuring safety climate perceptions and three

demographic questions related to year of birth, gender and job position. The

questionnaire is available in 18 languages, among them Spanish. In a first step, the

demographic questions were extended from three to 13 questions. In a second step, the

Spanish version was reviewed by a group of seven safety professionals from Sura ARL

who have broad experience in the construction sector, in order to adapt it to the actual
89

wording and organizational structure of the construction industry in Colombia. For

example, the term “Management” in the original version was replace by “Manager

responsible for the construction site” in order to reflect the organizational structure of a

construction site where site managers, contractors, and field supervisors have authority

over and influence the workers’ job.

In a final step, the instrument was piloted with a group of construction workers,

supervisors and managers from a total of four construction companies. A detailed

description of the pilot study and the NOSACQ-50 questionnaire was included in Chapter

I.

Company injury rates

A database with the workers compensation claims for each company from

2010 to 2012 was provided by the workers compensation insurance company (Sura

ARL). The data included the number of employees and the number of reported injuries

each year. For each company, the 3-year injury rate per 100 workers was calculated by

using the total number of injuries reported from 2010 to 2012 as the numerator over the

total number of employees in the same period which was estimated by adding the number

of workers year by year. Information about hours worked daily or weekly was not

available given that it is not mandatory for companies in Colombia to report to the

workers’ compensation insurance company to report this information.

Injury rate = (Total injuries in accounting period) x 100


(Total workers in accounting period)
90

Data collection

Construction site safety climate

For this study, data from supervisors and managers reported in Chapter II were

excluded and only data from participants identified as construction workers were

included. The survey was conducted as in-person interviewer-assisted from December

2012 to April 2013. Surveys were conducted during work hours on the construction site.

Construction workers to be invited to respond to the survey were randomly selected from

the daily log. If the selected worker refused to take the survey, a new potential

participant was randomly selected from the daily log form with the goals of surveying at

least construction workers per site. Only construction workers performing operational

tasks were included.

The in-person interviewer-assisted survey was conducted by trained

interviewers who were safety and health specialists with broad experience in the

construction industry. Training consisted of a thorough review of the study purpose,

survey objectives, and recruitment protocol. Survey assistants received on average 4

hours of training: 2-hour class room training and 3 hours on site. In addition, several line-

by-line reviews of the questionnaire and informed consent protocol as well as realistic

practice interviews were conducted. Interviewers were instructed to provide potential

participants with information such as overall study objectives, contact name and address

of the researchers, details about how and why the respondent was selected, and the
91

confidential nature of the study. Survey assistants accompanied the researcher during the

pilot study to observe and practice the survey protocols.

Safety management practices (SMPs) assessment tool

The SMPs assessment tool assessing practices at the construction site level was

administered once between October 2012 and April 2013 at each worksite. The

researcher interviewed the construction site safety manager at each construction site and

determined the implementation of specific practices. When the safety manager was not

available, the safety coordinator was the person deemed most appropriate to answer the

questionnaire. Only one respondent was interviewed per workplace.

Permission to conduct the study and access to the construction site and to

survey the safety personnel was previously obtained from the company general manager

or project manager. Once on the workplace the researcher contacted the safety manager

or safety coordinator to inform her/him of the scope of the study, overall objectives and

confidential nature of the information and they were invited to respond to the SMPS

assessment tool. Responding to the SMPS assessment tool took approximately an hour.

Data from the safety climate survey and the SMPS assessment tool were

collected using QuickTapSurvey (TabbleDubble Inc., 2013) an application created for

collecting survey responses on tablets. Both the safety climate questionnaire and the

safety practices instrument were created electronic and downloaded to the tablet where

responses were collected. The data were stored on the App and exported for subsequent

analysis.
92

Data collection methods and protocols used in this study were reviewed and

approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Massachusetts Lowell

(IRB Protocol #12-131-PUN-XPD). All survey assistants were trained in human-subjects

protection and the survey protocol. All respondents agreed to participate via oral

informed consent according to the approved protocols. Participation was voluntary and

confidential and no personal identifiers were collected or associated with survey and

assessment tool responses.

Data analysis

The main objective of this study was to explore the relationship between SMPs

and safety climate perceptions. Along with the overall objective, two additional

questions were explored. First, SMPs and safety climate perceptions as well as each one

of their dimensions were independently analyzed as input variables in relation to injury

rates. Second, discrepancies in safety climate perceptions between managers and

workers were analyzed as independent variables in relation to injury rates. SPSS versions

19 and 21 were used for all statistical analyses.

Safety management practices index

In order to evaluate the overall implementation of SMPS, a single index was

used to express the percentage of items implemented at the construction site. For each

construction site, the SMPS index for the total SMPS implemented and for each group of

practices was calculated by dividing the number of “Yes” response items by the total

number of items, and the resulting number was multiplied by 100.


93

Relationship between SM PS and safety climate

The total number of construction workers surveyed in each company ranged

from 9 to 12. Since by definition, safety climate is a group-level variable, in order to

assign a safety climate score to each company, a company safety climate score was

calculated by averaging individual safety climate scores from all construction workers

who responded to the NOSACQ-50 questionnaire in each company. The standard

deviation was used to explore the variability of individual safety climate scores around

the company’s average safety climate score value. Correlations between company safety

climate score and SMPs scores were assessed at the company level using Spearman’s

correlation coefficients.

An exploratory analysis was initially conducted by viewing scatterplots of

SMPs and total safety climate as well as each safety climate dimensions. Additionally,

given the structure of the data (construction workers and company level), a multilevel

analysis was performed to explore the association between SMPs and Safety Climate

scores. Multilevel mixed model analysis was conducted in SPSS using SMPs as the

predictor variable. The analysis started by clustering the construction workers who

responded to the NOSACQ-50 safety climate survey in each construction company.

Since SMPs were measured at the company level and assuming that this value can be

representative of the practices implemented at the construction site for all workers

throughout the project duration, workers were assigned their company’s SMPs score.
94

Safety climate managers-workers discrepancy

In a second step, the differences in safety climate perceptions between

managers and workers were analyzed to explore their ability to explain variances in

construction company injury rates. The discrepancy in safety climate perceptions

between managers and workers was calculated for each company as the difference

between the average safety climate scores in each group (Warren, 1997). In this analysis,

manager-worker discrepancies in the total safety climate score and in each dimension

were considered as the independent variable to predict injury rate at the company level.
95

RESULTS

Profile of respondents and participating companies

Since safety managers and coordinators were directly dealing with the

implementation of on-site practices and involved in following construction site safety

performance, they were able to provide information regarding safety practices data. A

total of 25 safety managers or coordinators from the same number of construction sites

responded to the SMPS assessment tool. Sixty percent of them were safety coordinators

while 36% were safety managers and only 1 respondent was a worker in charge of safety.

Fifty-two percent of the respondents were female. Respondents mean age was 32.1

years; they had on average 5.6 years of experience in safety and had less than two years

working in their current position. From the total of respondents, 52% were engineers

with graduate studies in Occupational Health and Safety, 36% were safety technicians,

and 12% (3 respondents) had no formal studies in the safety field.

Almost half of the respondents (48%) reported to have other responsibilities

than safety such as managing workers’ recreational activities (e.g. monthly birthday

celebrations), implementing wellness programs, or accomplishing tasks to be comply

with the environmental management system (OHSAS 14000). They also conducted

administrative safety tasks such as daily verification that new workers have been enrolled

in the workers’ compensation system before entering the worksite as well as checking

that contractors have paid their dues with the workers’ compensation insurance company

on time.
96

Safety management practices (SMPs) implemented

As reported by safety managers and coordinators at each construction site, the

domain of practices focused on improving management commitment and safety

participation resulted in the highest score while practices to improve worker safety skills

resulted in the lowest score (Table 12). Among practices focused on improving

management participation, defining roles and responsibilities throughout the

organizational structure obtained the highest score. Safety planning and management

participation were scored lower in this set of practices. Across all four dimensions,

implementation of planning tools such as goal setting, contractor participation, and

worker participation obtained the lowest score.

The average percentage score in domain I was 40.6%. In this domain, hazard

prioritization obtained 19.5% and contractor participation in identifying, prioritizing and

controlling hazards at the construction site received the lowest percentage score (12%) in

this set of practices and in total. Domain II presented the higher percentage of

implementation (58%). Safety responsibility practice achieved the highest score (76.0%)

in this domain. Conducting safety committee meetings at the company level or at the

construction site level is a common practice as well (64.8%). In contrast, safety planning

got the lowest score (45.0%) and high variability among these construction companies.

In domain III goal setting was the lowest percentage of implementation (6.0%)

whereas conducting safety inspections was the practice most often implemented (81.3%).

In the domain IV, all of the practices obtained values lower than 30% of implementation.
97

TABLE 12

Safety management practices (SMPs) scores1 in 25 participating construction companies


in Colombia2

SMPs No. Mean Median SD Range Min Max


Practices
Domain items (% ) (% ) (% ) (% ) (% ) (% )

I . Hazard identification 4 36 50 35 100 0 100

2. Hazard assessm ent 8 50 50 22 63 25 88


I. Practices
focused on 3. Hazard prioritization 7 20 13 20 63 0 63
construction
4. Contractors
site hazard 3 12 13 12 38 0 38
participation
profile
5. Hazard control 10 51 50 15 50 30 80

Dom ain score 32 41 44 16 59 16 75

S afety planning 4 45 50 39 100 0 100

S afety responsibilities 5 76 72 12 28 60 88

II. Practices S afety com m ittee 5 65 68 36 88 12 100


focu sed on
M anagem ent
m anagem ent 7 48 57 29 100 0 100
participation
involvem ent
M easuring safety
4 56 75 32 100 0 100
perform ance

D om ain score 25 58 56 20 72 16 88

G oal setting 6 0 14 50 0 50
8
III. Practices Safety inspections 81 100 26 100 0 100
3
focused on
im proving A ccid en t report and
43 50 24 100 0 100
safety system investigation 6
D om ain score 17 32 35 14 53 12 65

4. Practices W orkers participation 4 23 25 30 100 0 100


focu sed on
Training 8 30 25 11 38 13 50
im proving
p eop le skills D om ain score 12 27 25 15 58 8 67

Each score is expressed as a percentage of the total number of practices assessed in each
domain
2 A detailed report of responses by set of practices is showed in Appendix 8.
98

Practices related to control fall hazards and ergonomic hazards

Implementation of SMPs aiming to minimize fall hazards were compared with

the level of implementation of SMPs addressing ergonomic hazards, more specifically

manual material handling (MMH) hazards. Results presented in Figure 15 show that

practices aimed to reduce fall hazards received far more attention that those focused on

MMH hazards.

In addition, when safety controls were implemented they were mainly oriented

to provide personal protection or promote worker safety attitudes rather than the

implementation of engineering or administrative controls. For instance, although body

harnesses and connectors were provided in all companies evaluated, little attention was

given to provide appropriate anchor points undermining the comprehensive personal fall

protection system concept. With respect to MMH hazards, although working in pairs to

handle heavy loads was identified as an option, this was mainly a worker decision which

was not enforced by supervisors. For example, no additional information was provided

to workers regarding what should be considered a “heavy” load in order to ask for

assistance or in turn offer it to coworkers.


Percentage o f im plem entation n0
oSp
M N > u j ^ i n a ) ' s i o o i o o
osP o vP o sP o nC o sp o sp o \p o \o o spo sp 1
^ q\ qS qN qN (p, qv 0V (Js ©N
CO
O
Hazard 3
O'
identification
O
rt
Hazard priorities 3
3
3
Safety program rT
3

Engineering
controls &
o
3
O
Safety procedures &0
*0
co
PPE
o
o 3
3
CO
3
r>
Cl
Work in groups
S'
o O
3 <T>

FIGURE 15
o O.
Hazard analysis o 3
3 o

*3
3^
Goal-setting plan aC>
O
3‘
Accident C
coL
O
investigation o_
o'
3 O-
Worker participation o'
hazard identification 3' 3
c
W orker suggestion 3 ,

hazard control 3
B
o
Identify training 3.
needs PL

Specialized training
3
OQ
3*
Induction training
■ MMH hazards

CL
Site m anagem ent CO

zr
01 training

Q.
in
3
to
Ol vO
VO
100

Company safety climate score

Results of the total safety climate scores disaggregated by each construction

company are shown in and for each safety climate dimension in Appendix 9. Variability

in safety climate scores within construction workers at each company was low in most of

the companies as is shown in Figure 16. The total company safety climate score ranged

from 2.49 to 3.49 with a mean of 2.83 and SD 0.21). When scores were analyzed by

safety climate dimension, the lowest mean score was for the workers ’ safety priority and

risk non-acceptance dimension (x=2A, SD= 0.21) while the highest mean scores were in

the workers ’ trust in the efficacy o f the safety system dimension (x=3.0, SD= 0.27) (Table

14).
101

FIGURE 16

Construction workers’ total safety climate score: variability by company


(n=25)

4.50

4.00
Total Safety Climate S co re

3.50

3.00
Oo
(> O U
2.50

2.00

1.50
n— i— i— i— i— i— i— i— i— i— i— i— i— i— i— i— I— i— i— i— i— i— i— i— r
1 2 3 4 S 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

C o n stru ctio n C o m p a n y
102

TABLE 13

Descriptive of total safety climate scores in 25 Colombian construction companies

T otal S afety C lim ate Score (P o ssib le range 1 to 4)


C om pany
N o. Standard
M ean M edian M in im u m M axim um
w orkers D eviation

1 11 2.72 0.27 2.79 2.17 3.16


2 10 2.71 0.19 2.77 2.43 3.04
3 10 2.74 0.13 2.81 2.50 2.90
4 10 2.95 0.10 2.94 2.82 3.16
5 10 2.77 0.11 2.81 2.59 2.91
6 12 3.03 0.57 3.03 2.31 3.73
7 10 2.71 0.16 2.72 2.35 2.91
8 10 2.58 0.21 2.62 2.17 2.83
9 10 2.80 0.21 2.75 2.55 3.25
10 9 2.87 0.12 2.88 2.71 3.06
11 10 3.25 0.23 3.28 2.89 3.50
12 10 2.74 0.35 2.67 2.33 3.52
13 11 2.64 0.12 2.64 2.40 2.80
14 12 2.69 0.17 2.67 2.35 3.01
15 9 2.76 0.10 2.74 2.62 2.92
16 9 2.97 0.16 2.97 2.75 3.19
17 10 2.90 0.14 2.88 2.66 3.14
18 12 2.89 0.09 2.89 2.74 3.09
19 11 2.57 0.23 2.61 2.13 2.83
20 10 2.49 0.11 2.49 2.33 2.69
21 10 3.49 0.20 3.39 3.23 3.79
22 10 2.91 0.15 2.94 2.64 3.13
23 10 2.88 0.31 2.90 2.37 3.43
24 10 2.70 0.15 2.70 2.46 2.92
25 10 2.99 0.32 3.08 2.48 3.37
103

TABLE 14

Descriptive statistics of the safety climate scores in 25 construction companies in Colombia

95% Confidence
Std. Interquartile
Mean Interval for Median Minimum Maximum
Deviation Range
Mean

Total Safety Climate Score 2.8 2.7 to 2.9 .21 2.8 2.5 3.5 .23

Management safety
2.9 2.8 to 3.0 .24 2.9 2.4 3.5 .31
priority
Management safety
2.5 2.4 to 2.7 .29 2.5 2.1 3.3 .27
empowerment
Management safety
2.7 2.6 to 2.8 .23 2.7 2.3 3.5 .27
justice
Workers’ safety
3.0 2.9 to 3.1 .26 3.0 2.7 3.8 .27
commitment
Workers’ safety priority
2.4 2.3 to 2.5 .24 2.4 2.0 2.9 .29
and risk non-acceptance

Safety communication 3.0 2.9 to 3.1 .22 3.0 2.7 3.6 .27

Trust in the efficacy of


3.2 3.1 to 3.3 .27 3.2 2.9 3.8 .23
safety systems
104

Company SMPs and safety climate

A multilevel comparison was conducted and most of the correlations between

SMPs scores and safety climate scores were weak at both the company (n=25) level. At

the company level (n=25), the Spearman correlation between total SMPs and total safety

climate scores was weak (Table 15), for company total SMPs with all seven dimensions

of safety climate except of the Workers ’ Safety Commitment dimension (r =0 .408;

p=0.043) as shows Figure 18.

Spearman correlations were also calculated between each SMPs domain and

the seven dimensions of safety climate. The Workers ’ Safety Commitment dimension

exhibited stronger correlations with all four SMPS domains and it was significant for

Practices Focused on Management Commitment (r =0 .415; p=0.039)). The Practices

Focused on Management Commitment also showed moderate Spearman coefficients for

four Safety Climate dimensions: Management Safety Empowerment (r=.343; p=093)

(Figure 19), Management Safety Priority (r = .332; p=.105), Management Safety

Commitment (r = .237; p=.25), and Workers Trust in the Efficacy o f Safety Systems (r =

.216; p=.30).

A multilevel analysis was conducted using linear mixed models to investigated company

SMPs score was a predictor of company safety climate overall score. SMPs scores was

used as the independent variables while construction workers’ scores were clustered at

the company level and introduced into the analysis as the dependent variable to examined

the linear regression association. Results from the multilevel analysis in Table 16
105

showed that company safety climate scores were independent of the SMPs company

score.

Correlations examined at the individual level (n=266) exhibited similar trends.

There was no correlation at all between total SMPs and total safety climate scores (Figure

17- Table 17). SMPs focused on improving management commitment showed low but

statistically significant correlations with Total Safety Climate Score and with four

dimensions: Management Safety Commitment, Management Safety Empowerment,

Workers ’ Safety Commitment, and Workers ’ Safety Priority.


106

TABLE 15

Spearman rho correlations of safety management practices (SMPs) scores and set of practices to company safety climate score and
dimensions for Colombian construction companies (n=25)

Company Safety Climate Score


Safety Management Total Safety 1. 2. 3. 4. Workers 5. Workers 6. Safety 7. Trust in th e
Practices SMP Score Climate M anagem ent M anagem ent Management Safety Safety Communication efficacy o f
Safety Safety Safety Justice C om m itm ent Priority Safety System s
Com m itm ent Empowerment
Total S a fety M an agem en t
.1 8 0 .1 0 2 .2 2 1 -.0 9 4 .4 0 8 * .1 7 0 .0 9 9 .1 4 1
Practice (SMP)
1. Practices focused on
.0 7 0 - .0 7 2 .1 0 4 -.0 0 9 .2 4 4 .0 2 4 .0 1 9 .0 4 0
hazards profile
II. Practices focused
.2 4 0 .2 3 7 .3 4 3 .0 0 0 .4 1 5 * .3 3 2 .1 6 2 .2 1 6
m anagem ent com m itm ent
III. Practices focused safety
.1 3 3 .0 4 2 .1 4 7 -.1 5 9 .3 8 4 .0 9 1 .1 3 9 .0 3 4
system s
IV. Practices focused on
.2 1 2 .2 1 7 .0 9 5 -.0 7 9 .3 6 6 .1 1 4 .0 7 2 - .1 1 3
workers skills
**. Correlation is significant at th e 0.01 level (2-tailed).
*. Correlation is significant at th e 0.05 level (2-tailed).
107

TABLE 16

Mixed model linear regression of (SMPs) scores and company safety climate score and dimensions for Colombian construction
companies (n=25)

Independent
variable Dependent variable bo p-value b p-value

Total Safety Climate 2.74 0.000 0.0018 0.549


Management safety priority,
commitment, and competence 2.78 0.000 0.0046 0.653

Management safety empowerment


2.35 0.000 0.00084 0.312

Management safety justice


oatety 2.7 0.000 0.0047 0.817
Management
practices Workers’ safety commitment
2.82 0.000 0.0023 0.244
Workers’ safety priority and risk
non-acceptance 2.33 0.000 0.000 0.623
Safety communication, learning,
and trust in co-workers safety
competence 3 0.000 0.000 0.928
Trust in the efficacy of safety
systems 3.22 0.000 0.0003 0.942
108

FIGURE 17

Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company safety climate score and
SMPs score for 25 Colombian construction companies

3 .5 0 -
Company Total Safety Climate score

3 .2 5 -

3 .0 0 -

y=2.?1 +2.83E-3**
2 .7 5 -

10.0 20.0 3 0 .0 4 0 .0 5 0 .0 60.0 70.0

Company Total SMPs score


109

FIGURE 18

Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company safety climate score
(Workers’ safety commitment) and SMPs score for 25 Colombian construction
companies

3 .7 5 “
Company Safety Climate score - 4. Workers' Safety

3 .5 0 -
Commitment

3 .2 5 -

OO

3 .0 0 ' y = 2 ,7 7 + 5 .7 E - 3 * X

2 .7 5 '

10.0 20.0 3 0 .0 4 0 .0 5 0 .0 60.0 70.0

Company Total SMPs score


110

FIGURE 19

Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company safety climate score
(Management safety empowerment dimension) and SMPs score for 25 Colombian
construction companies
Company Safety Climate score -2. Management Safety

Q
Empowerment

o O

y=2.38+3.76E-3*X o
o
O
°o o

o O
o
o
o

1 0 .0 2 0 .0 3 0 .0 4 0 .0 5 0 .0 6 0 .0 7 0 .0

Com pany Total SM Ps sc o re


Ill

FIGURE 20

Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company safety climate score
(Worker’s safety commitment dimension) and SMPs score for domain II (Practices
focused on management commitment) for 25 Colombian construction companies

3 .7 5 '

3 .5 0 -

rr
■ 4 -i
<u c
v. o>
° £ 3 .2 5 -
5—
oin ■
at |
i i
lo o o
3 .0 0 “
y= 2.75+ 4.44E -3*X

(/)
>>
c
IS
CL. 2 .7 5 "
E
o
o

0 20 40 60 80 100

Com pany SM Ps sco re - II P ractices fo c u se d on M anagem ent


Commitment
112

TABLE 17

Spearman rho correlations of safety management practices (SMPs) scores and set of practices to company safety climate score and
dimensions for a sample of 266 Colombian construction workers

Company Safety Clim ate Score

Safety M anagem ent 1. 2.


3. 4 . W o rk e rs 7 . T r u s t in t h e
Practices SMP Score T o ta l S a f e ty M anagem ent M anagem ent 5. W o rk e rs 6 . S a fe ty
M anagem ent S a fe ty e ffic a c y o f
C lim a te S a fe ty S a fe ty S a fe ty P rio rity C o m m u n ic a tio n
S a f e ty J u s tic e C o m m itm e n t S a f e ty S y s te m s
C o m m itm e n t E m p o w e rm e n t

Total S a fety M an agem en t


0 .0 4 3 0 .0 3 9 .1 1 1 * - 0 .0 1 4 .1 4 7 * * 0 .0 3 7 - 0 .0 2 8 - 0 .0 0 4
Practice

1. P r a c tic e s f o c u s e d o n
- 0 .0 0 2 - 0 .0 0 8 0 .0 1 9 0 .0 1 1 .1 1 4 * - 0 .0 1 4 0 .0 3 6 0 .0 4 7
h a z a r d s p ro file

II. P ra c tic e s f o c u s e d
.1 8 5 * * .1 6 7 * * .2 1 9 * * 0 .0 4 8 .2 2 6 * * .1 4 2 * 0 .0 5 8 0 .0 5 3
m a n a g e m e n t c o m m i tm e n t

III. P r a c tic e s f o c u s e d
- 0 .0 2 2 - 0 .0 0 6 0 .0 2 5 - 0 .0 4 6 0 .0 8 5 - 0 .0 1 7 - 0 .0 0 4 - 0 .0 9
s a f e t y s y s te m s

IV. P r a c tic e s f o c u s e d o n
0 .0 5 2 0 .0 6 9 0 .0 4 6 - 0 .0 2 8 0 .0 7 3 0 .0 7 5 - 0 .0 3 4 - 0 .0 9
w o r k e r s skills
**. Correlation is significant at th e 0.01 level (1-tailed).
*. C orrelation is significant at th e 0.05 level (1-tailed).
113

Company SMPs and injury rates

Small negative correlations, but not statistically significant, were found at the

company level (n=25) between total SMPs as well as the four separate sets of practices

with the 3-year company injury rate x 100 workers (Table 18- Figure 21). The strongest

association with the 3-year company injury rate was found for the specific SMPs focused

on improving the safety system (Figure 22).

TABLE 18

Spearman rho correlations of 3-year injury rate per 100 workers to safety management
practices (SMPs) scores and its domains from 25 Colombian construction companies

1. P ractices II. P ra c tice s III. P ra c tice s IV. P ractices


T otal S a fe ty
fo c u s e d on fo c u s e d f o c u s e d s a fe ty fo c u se d on
P ra c tice S c o re
h a z a rd s p rofile m anagem ent s y s te m s w o rk e rs skills

3 -y e a r In ju ry r a te
-.2 5 3 -.2 6 7 -.0 5 6 -.3 4 6 -.2 0 3
x 1 0 0 w o rk e rs

* * . C o r r e la tio n is s ig n if ic a n t a t t h e 0 .0 1 l e v e l ( 2 -t a ile d ) .

*. C o r r e la tio n is s ig n if ic a n t a t t h e 0 .0 5 l e v e l ( 2 -t a ile d ) .
114

FIGURE 21

Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company 3-year injury rate and
overall SMPs score for 25 Colombian construction companies

5 0 .0 0 -

4 0 .0 0 -
3-year injury rate x 100 workers

3 0 .0 0 -

20 .00 -

10 .00 -

.00-

10.0 2 0 .0 30.0 40.0 5 0.0 60.0 70.0

Company total SMPs score


115

FIGURE 22

Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company 3-year injury rate and
SMPs score (Domain III. Practices focused on improving safety systems) for 25
Colombian construction companies

5 0 .0 0 -

4 0 .0 0 -
3-year injury rate x 100 w orkers

3 0 .0 0 -

20 .00 -

10.00

.00-

10 20 30 40 50 60 70

Company SMPs scores III. Practices focused on improving


safety system s
116

At the individual level (n=266), there was a small negative and statistically

significant correlation between the 3-year injury rate x 100 workers and total SMPS

scores, and with each set of SMPs except the SMPs focused on improving worker skills

(Table 19).

TABLE 19

Spearman rho correlations of 3-year injury rate per 100 workers to safety management
practices (SMPs) scores and its domains from a sample of 266 Colombian construction
workers

II. Practices focused III. Practices IV. Practices


Total Safety 1. Practices focused
management focused safety focused on
Practice Score on hazards profile
commitment systems workers skills

Injury rate 3-year


-.134* -.348** .145* -.304" -.020
x 100 workers
**. C o r r e la tio n is s ig n ific a n t a t t h e 0 .0 1 le v e l ( 2 -ta ile d ).

*. C o rrela tio n is s ig n ific a n t a t t h e 0 .0 5 le v e l ( 2 -ta ile d ).


117

Safety Climate and injury rates

The 3-year company injury rate showed a moderate negative correlation

(r=-.262; p=0.20) with total safety climate as well as with most of its dimensions (Table

20 - Figure 23). Most correlations were much smaller at the individual level. However in

contrast to the company level analysis, the dimensions of Safety Communication and

Workers Trust in the Efficacy of Safety System were positively correlated with injury

rate (Table 21).


118

TABLE 20

Spearman rho correlations of 3-year injury rate per 100 workers to safety management practices (SMPs) scores and its domains
from a sample of 266 Colombian construction workers

1. M a n a g e m e n t 2. M a n a g e m e n t 4 . W o rk e rs 7 . T ru s t in t h e
T otal S a fe ty 3. M a n a g e m e n t 5. W o rk e rs 6 . S a fe ty
S a fe ty S a fe ty r S a fe ty e ffic ac y o f
C lim ate S a fe ty Ju stic e S a fe ty P rio rity C o m m u n ic a tio n
C o m m itm e n t E m p o w e rm e n t C o m m itm e n t S a fe ty S y s te m s

3 -y e a r In ju ry r a te
-.2 6 2 -.3 0 9 -.2 6 3 -.3 4 2 -.3 7 8 -.1 4 8 -.0 9 8 -.0 2 5
x 1 0 0 w o rk e rs

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).


*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

TABLE 21

Spearman rho correlations of 3-year injury rate per 100 workers to safety management practices (SMPs) scores and its domains
from a sample of 266 Colombian construction workers

1. M a n a g e m e n t 2. M a n a g e m e n t 4. W o rk e rs 7. T r u s t in t h e
T otal S a fe ty r * c x 3 - M anagem ent 5. W o rk e rs 6 . S a fe ty
S a fe ty S a fe ty S a fe ty e ffic ac y o f
C lim ate S a fe ty Ju stic e S a fe ty P rio rity C o m m u n ic a tio n
C o m m itm e n t E m p o w e rm e n t C o m m itm e n t S a fe ty S y s te m s

I n ju r y r a te 3 _ y l0 0 .1 0 6 .0 6 2 .0 8 1 -.0 6 0 .0 4 0 .0 1 0 .1 4 9 ' .2 1 0 "

**. C o rre la tio n is sig n ific a n t a t th e 0.01 le v e l (2 -ta ile d ).


*. C o rre la tio n is sig n ific a n t a t t h e 0.05 le v e l (2 -ta ile d ).
119

FIGURE 23

Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company 3-year injury rate and
Company Safety Climate score for 25 Colombian construction companies

5 0 .0 0 -

4 0 .0 0 '
3-year injury rate x 100 w orkers

3 0 .0 0 -

20 .00 -

F 6 9 .2 8 + -1 8 .7 5 * x

10 .00 -

2 .5 0 2.75 3 .0 0 3 .2 5 3.50

Company total safety climate score


120

Manaeer-Worker Safety Climate discrepancy and injury rates

Manager-discrepancies in perceptions of safety climate were compared to

company 3-year injury rate. Spearman correlations were low and statistically not

significant (Table 22). However, the scatterplot showed that those companies where

manager-worker discrepancies were closer to zero tend to exhibit low injury rates while

as manager-worker discrepancies increase, companies experienced higher injury rates.

TABLE 22

Spearman rho correlations o f 3-year injury rate per 100 workers to Manager-Worker
Discrepancies in Safety Climate Scores from 25 Colombian Construction Companies

1. Management 2. Management 4. Workers 7. Trust in the


Total Safety 3. Management 5. Workers 6. Safety
Safety Safety Safety efficacy of
Climate Safety Justice Safety Priority Communication
Commitment Empowerment Commitment Safety Systems

3-year Injury rate


.233 .194 .155 .325 .060 .222 -.039 -.145
x 100 workers
**. C orrelation is significant a t th e 0.01 level (2-tailed).
*. C orrelation is significant a t th e 0.05 level (2-taited).
121

FIGURE 24

Scatter plot analyzing the linear relationship between company 3-year injury rate and
Manager-Worker Discrepancies in Safety Climate Scores for 25 Colombian Construction
Companies

50.00-
3-year injury rate x 100 workers

40.00-

30.00-

20.00-

10 .00 -

.00-

Manager-Workers Discrepancies in Total Safety Climate


Scores
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DISCUSSION

This study covered 25 construction companies in Bogota, Colombia, where the

implementation of SMPs was measured, at one point in time, by self-reports from safety

managers. These assessments were compared with the perceptions of safety climate from

266 construction workers on the same sites who responded to the NOSACQ-50 Safety

Climate questionnaire (Kines et al., 2010). The primary goal of this study was to explore

whether the SMPs implemented at each construction site were related to the company-

specific average of the worker’s safety climate scores and to the company recorded injury

rate.

Contrary to expected, the overall results failed to show an association between

safety climate scores and the SMP score. However, there was a positive correlation for

the workers’ Safety Commitment dimension with the total SMP score as well as two SMP

domains: those focused on defining the construction site hazard profile and those focused

on improving management commitment to safety. As expected, there was a negative

correlation between SMPs implemented and the company injury rate. In contrast to

previous research, the correlation between total safety climate scores and the company

injury rate was modest (and statistically not significant) at the company level. There was

no association at the individual level, either for the overall score or for five of the seven

safety climate dimensions.

This study presents several limitations. First, although the workers surveyed

were randomly selected, assigning a company safety climate score based on a small

group of workers may not be fully representative. Second, different assumptions were
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required to conduct the individual-level analysis. Given that SMP was a variable

measured at the company level, assigning the company SMP score to each worker

ignores the likely variability among workers. Third, the SMPs assessment tool designed

for this study was not previously validated. Safety managers might not have fully

understood all of the items, might have varied in their criteria for determining compliance

with particular SMPs, or might even have had a vested interest in reporting what they

believed to be appropriate practices, regardless of what was actually being done.

However, it covers a wide range of practices, which represents a potential strength of this

study. Finally, the power of this study to examine the association between SMPs and

safety practices (company-level analysis) was limited due to the small number of

companies (n=25).

Lack of correlation may have been due to a variety of reasons, including

measurement error, lack of power, or lack of a true association. The safety climate

instrument might not have been able to capture the reality of the organizational structure

at the construction site. Safety climate is suggested as a multilevel model which can be

investigated separately at organization and subunit levels (Zohar & Luria, 2005; Zohar,

2008). At the construction site several units can often be found based on trades,

contractors or subcontractors. However, the NOSACQ-50 questionnaire examines safety

climate at the organizational level but deals with management as a homogenous group,

which is far from the reality on a large construction worksite.

Promoting practices aimed to increase management participation and engage

both managers and supervisors in safety activities is likely to be associated with some
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increments in workers’ perceptions of safety climate. This finding is consistent with the

safety climate concept which states that perceptions of safety are constructed by workers

during manager-worker daily interactions and not through the formal policies, procedures

and practices enacted by top management.

Safety practices implemented in the workplace might be interpreted as the

applied expression of upper management’s commitment to safety and can be expected to

have a relationship even if the top management played no role at all. Previous research

has suggested positive correlations between safety programs and practices with

perceptions of safety climate (Arcury et al., 2012; DeJoy et al., 2004(Gershon et al.,

2000). This study found low to moderate but mostly non-statistically significant

correlations between SMPs with safety climate at the company level and at the worker

level. Potential explanations for the lack of correlation between SMPs and safety climate

may be found in the safety climate concept, the limitations of the data collection

instrument, and/or the basic assumptions to conduct the analysis.

According to Zohar, workers gather their perceptions of safety priorities in the

workplace during supervisor-worker interactions and through observations of

supervisor’s safety behavior (Zohar, 2003). In this context, safety climate would mainly

capture safety practices carried out by middle or upper management in direct contact with

workers and not necessarily by a relationship with other personnel, such as the safety

officer, who have little or no authority over workers. The SMP assessment tool used in

this study measured mainly those practices promoted at the management level but not

necessarily implemented through site managers or supervisors. For example, a basic job
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safety analysis conducted by a field supervisor or site manager and his crew could be

more effective in terms of transmitting the right message about the importance given to

safety by the management than a highly technical job safety analysis elaborated only by

the safety manager.

Stating a company policy, procedure or practice by itself is not a way to

influence worker’s perceptions of safety climate. For it to become a source of safety

climate perceptions requires that they are consistently communicated, promoted,

followed and enforced by upper and middle management in the workplace (Neal, Griffin,

& Hart, 2000; Zohar, 2003b). Most safety practices are introduced on-site by safety

coordinators who often work in parallel but independently or with limited collaboration

from field supervisors and site managers. Although, these SMPs are regularly

communicated verbally to workers by the safety coordinator, there can be a disconnection

between messages divulged by the safety coordinator and daily practice.

The relationship between manager-worker safety climate differences and injury

rate was also examined in this study. Although the supervisor manager-discrepancies in

perceptions of safety climate were statistically not significant when associated with

companies’ injury rate, they showed a slight trend. In some companies, where both the

managers and the workers perceptions of safety in the work environment coincided, there

seemed to be a lower injury rate. A congruent perception of safety climate among site

managers and construction workers, rather than large differences, seems to be associated

with the occurrence of injuries in the workplace. However, additional research is needed
126

to examine this potential association as well as to identify specific safety climate

dimensions related to this correlation.

Establishing specific and measurable goals to improve safety at the

construction site by anticipating potential hazards may be a valuable safety practice at

hazardous construction sites (Cameron & Duff, 2007). Among the SMPs assessed,

implementation of safety goal-setting was the practice with the lowest score in all of the

companies. These general results seem to indicate that safety planning is not very often

considered as a practice that can add value to safety management, or alternatively that

safety managers value it in theory but do not have the time or knowledge to carry it out.

Appropriate safety planning could take advantage of the rigorous planning process

conducted for the worksite project management which is used to describe in detail each

stage and tasks required. Work in collaboration with project management would allow

safety coordinators to identify potentially hazardous situations in advance and work

proactively to reduce their potential negative effects on workers’ health and safety.

Although safety inspections was the practice most commonly implemented,

their effectiveness in identifying and controlling hazardous conditions is questionable.

Similar injuries happened regularly at the same construction sites or at others site under

the same company. Information from worksite accident investigations or from previous

construction sites was not proactively integrated into new safety checklists in order to

disseminate learned lessons. For example, a finger amputation was reported during the

maintenance operations of a portable concrete mixer. Results from the accident

investigation showed the need to protect mobile parts with casings. Safety
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recommendations were implemented only at that construction site and inspections were

not performed on similar equipment in other construction projects run by that company.

A month later another finger amputation was reported during a similar operation at a

different construction worksite from the same company6.

Participating companies had a much higher implementation of SMPs focused

on preventing fall hazards, in comparison to those aimed to prevent MSD hazards.

Differences in mandatory regulations to reinforce fall hazard controls, in contrast with the

absence o f an ergonomic standard, may be part of the explanation. Following recent

promulgation of fall prevention legislation, in 2008, the Colombian Ministry of Labor has

been particularly committed to improving working conditions for those workers exposed

to heights through formulating, disseminating and enforcing standards. These standards

are primarily focused on implementing engineering and administrative controls as well as

personal protection to minimize fall hazards, particularly in the construction sector. The

impact of new legislation on improving working conditions and safety outcomes should

be studied more in Colombia in order to provide data to official policy makers.

The fact that fall prevention practices receive more attention than those focused

on ergonomic hazards may also be embedded in the construction industry culture and

daily realities. Although both types of hazards can have negative and severe health effects

on workers, their occurrence has a different timeline. While the materialization of fall

hazards is imminent and frequently results in severe and fatal injuries, the effect of MSD

6 Information taken from a com pany’s injury reports and accident investigation reports during the SMPs
assessment.
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hazards is very often a medium- or long-term process which regularly exceeds the

construction project life time and can become a concern for the future employer rather

than the current. This consequence-based approach may affect employer motivation for

investing in a particular set of safety practices to reduce ergonomic hazard exposure,

giving priority to acute safety instead.


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CONCLUSION

This study evaluated whether safety practices promoted by Colombian

construction companies were associated with workers’ perceptions of safety climate.

Implementation of safety management practices is commonly promoted as a successful

approach to reduce negative safety outcomes. However, their association with workers’

general perceptions was not strong or consistent in this study population. Measuring

safety climate in the construction industry is complex and requires instruments able to

capture these complexities. Revised or expanded assessment methods and metrics might

be useful. Exploring organizational variables that can be associated with safety climate

could be a relevant input to gain understanding regarding how workers form their

perceptions of safety climate at the workplace.


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CHAPTER III

SAFETY CLIMATE AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH FALL AND

MANUAL MATERIAL HANDLING HAZARDS IN THE

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IN COLOMBIA

INTRODUCTION

The construction process is comprised of a variety of phases which bring

together specific types of hazards not only for those performing a specific task but also

for all those sharing the work environment. There are a number of risk factors at each

construction worksite which continuously expose construction workers to potential

injuries with a wide array of health and life consequences. Risk of injury or occupational

illness can come from different sources such as building design, construction methods,

materials, tools and equipment, or from environmental conditions (i.e., extreme heat or,

windy or rainy weather). Hazards are often materialized, as clearly evidenced by the 806

fatal events that occurred within the construction sector in US, the highest annual count

of fatal injuries in the country in 2012 (U.S. BLS, 2014). In developed and developing

countries construction is ranked among the most hazardous industries. In the United

States, the construction industry ranked fourth for highest fatal work injury rate of 9.8 per

100,000 full-time equivalent workers following agriculture (22.8), transportation (14.6)


131

and mining (15.9). In 2012, the incident rate for nonfatal occupational injuries and

illnesses for the construction sector in the US was 143.4 cases per 10,000 full-time

workers, which was the second highest rate after the transportation sector (222.9)(U.S.

BLS, 2014). In Colombia, in 2011, the construction industry ranked second most

hazardous with indicators such as a non-fatal injury incident rate of 127 cases per 1,000

worker and 55 fatal cases reported, representing a fatal injury rate of 6.8 events per

100,000 workers (Fasecolda, 2014).

Poor safety performance in the construction industry is very often attributed to

the nature of the work. However the principle of “to higher risks stronger controls” is not

being applied. The public health model of primary prevention reminds us that the

presence of hazards in a work system is typically the root cause of accidents; therefore

reduction of hazards at the source should be preferable to “control” of workers’

behaviors. Accordingly, most of the existing and successful approaches for managing

occupational health and safety indicate that hazard identification and control are the

primary and most effective means for improving safety within the workplace

(Mistropoulos, 2009; Khanzode, 2011). The residual risk due to limitations in

completely controlling hazards at the source has been attempted to be reduced by creating

bridges with rules, regulations, behavior-based safety, and/or other health and safety

management approaches.

Under the behavior-based approach, the concept of a “safety climate” was

constructed for manufacturing workers assuming that through interactions with the work

environment, workers develop perceptions and expectations regarding management


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safety priorities and behave accordingly (Dedobbeleer & Beland, 1991b; Zohar, 2010a;

Zohar, 1980b; Zohar, 2002). Safety climate is a construct to measure the importance

given to safety in relation to other organizational priorities by measuring a group’s shared

perceptions of the work environment (Fogarty and Shaw, 2010; Zohar, 2010). It has also

been considered a relevant element in the study of health and safety because it has been

suggested as a link in the injury/illness cause-effect pathway which influences workers’

attitudes and behaviors and thus precedes injury occurrence. It allows exploration of the

role models or behaviors that are supported by the organization, ultimately revealing the

informal policies and practices stemming from middle management levels (Zohar and

Luria 2004).

Safety climate is considered to be a measure of the “true priority of safety”

(Cooper and Phillips 2004) or “safety temperature” because it assesses how the

organizational environment is experienced by the different groups (Tomer and Pousette

2009). It encompasses both the environmental conditions and the organizational norms

that sanction or support safety-related behavior and thereby influences the likelihood of

injuries (Kapp, 2012; Payne et al., 2009). On this basis, it is expected that the presence of

hazards in the worksite contributes to employee perceptions of safety climate.

Fall hazards in the construction industry

Historically, falls from height have been one of the leading causes of worker

deaths on construction sites, followed by being struck by object, electrocution, and

caught-in/between (U.S. BLS, 2014). The 2012 injury and illness data released by the

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that 279 out of the 806 total deaths in the
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construction industry in the US were caused by falls. In Colombia, according to the

Colombian Insurance Companies Association (FASECOLDA), almost half of all fatal

injuries from falls occurred among workers in the construction industry (Fasecolda,

2014).

The most frequently cited standard by Federal OSHA in fiscal year 2013

(October 1, 2012 through September 30,2013) were due to fail in fall protection and

hazard communication. Similar to U.S. OSHA regulations, Colombian fall protection

regulations call for specific controls when workers are exposed to work at height of 6 feet

or more. These regulations define the specific hazards of the industry and outline

acceptable ways of providing protection, all of which are based on the public health

hierarchy of controls. They range from elimination to providing personal protective

equipment. Some of the fall exposures discussed in the Colombian fall protection

regulations including excavations zones, formwork and reinforcing steel, hoist areas,

leading edges, precast concrete erection, floor/roof openings, roofing work, unprotected

sides and edges, and wall openings

There are, however, some examples of situations where exposure to risk factors

related to work at heights can be identified at a regular construction site including

windows or wall openings without guardrail, floor holes without cover, performing steel

erection, working off of concrete forms, working on rebar assemblies, working on ladders

or scaffolds, working over dangerous equipment, and housekeeping near openings.

Since working at heights is an essential part of most construction jobs, risk

factors associated with falls are present in different amounts almost throughout the entire
134

construction project life time. In addition to the hazard exposure associated with tasks

being performed, construction workers are also exposed to additional hazards just by

virtue of coming onsite. Although unattended hazards do not necessarily always lead to

injuries, they may be relevant in providing an overall picture of the importance given to

safety by the management level.

Ergonomics in the construction industry

Numerous construction tasks pose significant ergonomic risk factors. Most

tasks are very physically demanding (Gibbons & Hecker, 1999). Workers in the

construction field are exposed to a number of recognized occupational risk factors for

back pain such as heavy work, materials handling, pushing, and frequent lifting. The

construction job is physically demanding, where workers are frequently injured and

disabled, and exposed to risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) (Entzel,

Albers, & Welch, 2007b; Holmstrom & Ahlborg, 2005; Kramera et al., 2010). Sprains

and strains are the leading cause of both acute and chronic non-fatal injuries among

construction workers (Lingard & Rowlinson, 2005). The workplace factors ranked as

most related to MSDs include: working in the same position, bending or twisting,

working in awkward positions, carrying' lifting or moving heavy materials or equipment,

and reaching or working overhead or overextension.

Manual Material Handling (MMH) risk factors. Handling heavy materials or

equipment has been considered as one of the top work-site problems resulting in minor to

moderate work-related injuries (Lingard & Rowlinson, 2005). The nature of the project

and the methods of construction can determine the extent of MMH at the worksite. For
135

instance, pre-assembly methods may reduce the burden of MMH hazards in comparison

to on-site methods (Manu, Ankrah, Proverbs, & Suresh, 2010; Perttulaa, Meijamab,

Kiurulaa, & Laitinen, 2003). The construction worksite is constantly changing workplace

with elements such as rough provisional roads or stairs and slippery or uneven surfaces,

both of which may increase the effort required by the construction worker to move these

heavy loads. The flow of materials, coordination of tasks, and scheduling of work

activities can all also contribute to risk associated with MMH on a construction site.

Although established threshold limits for handling loads have been questioned because

weight is only one factor contributing to injuries in MMH (Lingard & Rowlinson, 2005),

Colombian legislation still retains this approach. Under Colombian safety legislation,

limits suggested for the weight of loads to be handled by men are 25 pounds for lifting

and 50 pounds for carrying. Lower limits corresponding to half of the limits for men are

stipulated for women (Ministerio de Proteccion Social Colombia, 2006). However, at

construction sites these threshold limits are unlikely to be applied because materials and

tools very often exceed those limits or because managers and even workers may consider

them a low limit for construction workers (see Chapter V).

These are some examples of situations where exposure to hazards related to

MMH can be identified at a typical construction site: carrying cement bags, moving

heavy materials (e.g. bricks or concrete to upper floors), lifting and moving aluminum

formwork components, lifting and moving steel bars, carrying concrete wheelbarrows,

holding and manipulating concrete pumping hoses, holding heavy tools (e.g. chipping

hammers, jack hammers, etc.), or raking concrete


136

Safety Climate and hazards at the worksite

In addition to the risk factors associated with construction tasks, there are

various factors in the organization of work that may contribute to the hazardous

environment at the construction site. For example, supervisors’ pressures to increase job

pace even to the detriment of workers’ safety, may bring as a consequence a reduction in

worker’s control over the tasks. Similarly, particular crew practices where coworkers and

supervisors may reward dangerous behaviors and push workers to go beyond their

reasonable limits. In the last decades, workers’ shared perceptions of safety priorities at

the workplace have been added as a contributing factor to safety performance (Flin,

Meams, O'Connor, & Bryden, 2000b)(Meams, Kathryn, Silvia A. Silva and

M.Luisa,L.Melia, 2008). Supervisor-worker daily interactions are considered the primary

source from where employees gather insights into what is important in the organization in

terms of safety [citation]. However, company policies and practices may not only transfer

to workers via supervisor-worker interactions. Company safety priorities may also be

tacitly communicated to workers through actions implemented to provide a safer

workplace. For instance, this can be done by implementing initiatives such as hazard

identification and control, accident investigation and timely implementation of corrective

actions, or creating effective mechanisms to facilitate worker participation in safety. This

may be particularly true in the construction industry since work organization and physical

layouts of the worksite reduce considerably the number of daily supervisor-worker

interactions, and co-workers social environment. In this context, workers’ continuous

interactions with the conditions of their work environment conditions may provide

clearer messages regarding a company’s safety priorities. For instance, the presence of
137

floor or wall openings remaining uncovered for days and weeks, equipment without

safety guards, tools in disrepair, or defective equipment can send strong messages about

priorities at the worksite.

Creation and continually update of the hazard profile of a worksite can be a

fundamental factor in the overall safety management process. It should allow

establishing the current safety status of the worksite and choosing the appropriate

measures for protection and preventions to guarantee workers’ safety. Once the presence

of hazards and their level of mitigation have been identified, worksite hazard profiles can

be evaluated using quantitative and qualitative approaches, failures in hazard mitigation

at the workplace can be perceived by workers as manifestation of the priority given to

safety by the management level. The presence of hazardous conditions can be explicit

indicators of real priorities at the workplace.

The goal of this study was to evaluate the relationship between perceptions of

safety climate and presence of hazards at the construction workplace in order to test

whether higher safety climate scores are associated with a lower presence of hazards in

the workplace.
138

Research Questions

This study focused on the following research questions:

• Are workplaces conditions associate with perceptions of safety priorities at the

construction site?

• Are there differences in the relationship between workplace conditions and

perception of safety in the workplace by job title?

• Does the presence of specific fall hazards have an association on perceptions of

safety priorities at the construction site?

• Does the presence of specific ergonomics hazards related to construction workers’

perceptions of safety priorities at the construction site?

• Are there differences in the relationship between fall hazards and ergonomic

hazards and perceptions of safety at the construction site?

• Is the presence of hazards in the workplace related to injury rates?


139

METHODS

In order to examined the relationship between the presence of hazards at a

construction site and the employees’ perceptions of safety climate, a hazard observation

tool was used to report the presence of hazards, and the Nordic Occupational Safety

Climate Questionnaire (NOSACQ-50) safety climate questionnaire (Kines et al., 2011)

was applied to assess perceptions of safety climate among construction site personnel.

The study was conducted with construction companies in the metropolitan and

surrounding areas in Bogota, Colombia. Data were collected regarding the presence of

hazards at the construction site, as well as construction personnel’s perceptions of safety

climate. Construction sites were visited from October 2012 to April 2013. All study

instruments and protocols were approved by the University of Massachusetts Lowell

Institutional Review Board (IRB #12-131-PUN-XPD).

Study design and study population

This was a cross-sectional study comprised of construction companies in

Bogota, Colombia. Participating companies were selected from a database provided by

Sura ARL, a private workers’ compensation insurance company in Colombia. Criteria

and methods for selecting potential participating companies were explained in detail in

Chapter I. The intended sample was a stratified random sample of 30 construction

companies. Potential participating companies had to meet the following criteria of

eligibility:
140

• A minimum number of 20 construction workers (not including administrative

employees)

• Involved in commercial or residential projects

• Sura ARL client for at least one year before the present study

• Construction projects in Bogota and surroundings metropolitan area

Exclusion criteria included:

• Currently not having a safety coordinator at the construction site

• Construction projects very close to completion (finishing stages)

• When companies were owned for a holding group, only one company of that

group was selected.

Safety climate measures were conducted with personnel from different job

titles (construction workers, field supervisors, and site managers) at each construction

site. The intended population for the study of perceptions of safety climate was 10

workers, 1-2 supervisors/foremen, and 1-2 site managers at each construction site.

Measures

Data on the presence of relevant hazards and perceptions of safety climate

among construction personnel were collected at the construction sites. Walkthrough

observations were conducted at the construction sites to collect data on the individual

hazard profile. Safety climate along with demographic information were collected from

construction workers, field supervisors and site managers at the construction site. The
141

NOSACQ-50 safety climate questionnaire was used to collect data regarding perceptions

of safety among project managers, site managers, supervisors, and workers. Responses

were recorded anonymously, and oral informed consent was collected before taking the

survey.

Hazard situations observation

Recognizing hazards in the workplace is critical to establishing the

construction site hazard profile and beginning the risk management process. With the

objective of ascertaining the construction site hazard profile, a walkthrough was

conducted at each construction site. The walkthrough checklist was comprised of a

limited list of common hazard situations usually present at construction sites. Using the

definition of hazard as a basis, a hazard situation referred to a source of danger, or more

specifically a condition or circumstance, present at the work area which could lead or

contribute to the risk of being injured. Hazard situations were considered regardless of

whether or not there were workers in that specific location at time of observation.

Observations were conducted throughout the construction site during working

hours to identify types of fall and ergonomic (MMH hazard situations. In addition to the

presence of the hazard situations at the workplace, controls were also reported according

to the hierarchy of controls such as elimination, engineering controls, and administrative

controls or PPE. Therefore, every latent hazard was recorded along with existing

controls. The tool assessed a total of eleven hazard situations which involved six fall and

five MMH situations. The assessed types of fall hazard situations were:
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• Working/walking on surfaces near sides/edges or wall openings

• Working/walking on surfaces with floor openings/holes

• Working/walking on leading edges

• Working on formwork and reinforced steel, precast concrete structures

• Working near excavation areas

• Working outside of the building structure

The assessed types of MMH hazard situations included:

• Climbing or descending with loads (i.e., planks, tools, materials, concrete

buckets)

• Handling heavy equipment or tools

• Handling heavy materials

• Carrying heavy loads (cement bags, bricks)

• Lifting heavy loads (approx. more than 10 pound, i.e. cement bags, bricks)

The walkthrough was conducted once at each construction site during work

hours by the researcher. Observations were recorded while walking along through the

construction site. No specific routes were predefined to conduct the observations rather

the researcher stopped in all areas of the construction site to record and photograph

hazard situations. Thus, observations represented a moment-in-time snapshot.

Walkthrough observations took 1 to 3 hours according to the construction site size. The

following details were collected for each construction site: date of inspection, description

of the construction project, current stage, estimated budget, type of hazard, hazard
143

situation, and area where the hazard situation was presented. When it was possible

hazard situations photo records were included.

The presence of hazards was assumed as a measure of hazard profile of the

construction site. In order to characterize the construction site hazard profile both

qualitative and quantitative approaches were used. In the quantitative approach, worksite

hazard profiles were characterized in terms of two criteria: the presence of hazard

situations (i.e. working off of building structures, working on rebar assemblies, carrying

cement bags) and implemented hazard controls (i.e. hole covers, guardrails system,

personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), no control). This combination of data constitutes a

hazard situation. For instance, lack of guardrails at the door of the elevator pit was

counted as a hazard situation on each story of the building where that condition was

identified. Areas around excavation zones were counted as a hazard situation for falls

only when a location could be considered to be a permanent (e.g. materials storage area)

or temporary (e.g. unloading materials area) “workstation”, or a facility that workers

regularly go to (bathrooms or dinner areas). Repeated hazard situations on the same story

of the building, such as several wall openings were counted as one hazard situation.

Regarding MMH, for instance, each worker observed lifting heavy materials was counted

as a hazard situation. An example of no control would be holes “protected” only with

safety signage tape. In order to generate an estimate of the hazard profile, proportion of

hazards controlled through elimination and engineering controls, personal protective

equipment, or not controlled was calculated out of the total number of hazards identified.
144

In the qualitative approach, two criteria were involved in rating the hazard

profile of the construction site: type of hazards present at the time of the observation and

type of control measures implemented to reduce these hazards (i.e. elimination,

engineering controls, personal protective equipment, and not control). The combination

of this two criteria were used to rate the hazard profile at each construction site as low,

moderate or high. For example, high hazard profile was defined as a worksite with hazard

situations present and poorly or not controlled. Poorly controlled hazard situations

included incomplete PFAS or PFAS not appropriately worn by workers. A construction

site rated as a high hazard profile requires high reliance on workers safety attitudes and

less effective controls. A construction site rated as moderate hazard profile presents

hazard situations controlled through well implemented personal fall arrested systems. A

construction site rated as low hazard profile entails hazard situations that are minimized

or eliminated through engineering controls. A construction site rated as a low hazard

profile has more effective controls and requires minimal reliance on workers’ safety

attitudes.

Perceptions o f safety climate

This study used the Nordic Safety Climate Questionnaire (NOSACQ-50)

developed and validated by Kines et al. (2011), and available in Spanish. The NOSACQ-

50 measures perceptions of safety climate through 50 items grouped into seven

dimensions. Each item has a 4-point Likert scale that ranges from 1 to 4 to indicate

strongly agree, agree, disagree and strongly disagree respectively. The seven dimensions

are as follows:
145

• Management safety priority, commitment, and competence

• Management safety empowerment

• Management safety justice

• Workers’ safety commitment

• Workers’ safety priority and risk non-acceptance

• Safety communication, learning, and trust in co-workers’ safety competence

• Trust in the efficacy of safety systems

In this instrument, participants are asked to rate both the importance given to

safety by the construction site management (site managers and field supervisors) as well

as the degree to which safety is a real priority among their co-workers. The original

NOSACQ-50 instrument consisted of 50 items measuring safety climate perceptions and

three demographic questions related to date of birth, gender and job position. The

questionnaire was adapted to the Colombian construction sector environment (Appendix

6). In a first step, the demographic questions were extended from three to 13 questions.

Given that variables such as experience working in the construction sector, having

suffered previous work-related injuries, and education level have been linked to safety

climate perceptions in previous studies, a set of items inquiring into these questions were

added to the instrument.

In a second step, a translated Spanish version was reviewed by a group of

seven Colombian safety professionals with broad experience in the construction sector, in

order to adapt it to the actual wording and organizational structure of the construction
146

industry in Colombia. A detailed description of the pilot study and the NOSACQ-50

questionnaire was included in Study I.

The safety climate survey was conducted once at each of the participating

construction sites among workers with three job titles including construction workers,

field supervisors, and site managers. Construction workers that were invited to respond to

the survey were randomly selected from the daily log. If the selected worker refused to

take the survey, a new potential participant was randomly selected from the daily log

form. All randomly selected workers who agreed to participate responded to the

NOSACQ-50 safety climate questionnaire with an in-person interviewer from December

2012 to April 2013. Surveys were conducted during work hours on the construction site.

Company’s safety climate score was obtained by aggregating responses by each

construction site. The safety climate data used in this study corresponded to data

reported in Study I. Responses were recorded without names attached.

The in-person interviewer-assisted survey was conducted in Spanish by trained

interviewers who were safety and health specialists with broad experience in the

construction industry. Training consisted of a thorough review of the study purpose,

survey objectives, and recruitment protocol. In addition, several line-by-line reviews of

the questionnaire and informed consent protocol as well as realistic practice interviews

were conducted. Interviewers were instructed to provide potential participants with

information such as overall study objectives, contact name and address of the researchers

as well as details about how and why the respondent was selected, and the confidential

nature of the study. Survey assistants accompanied the researcher during the pilot study

to observe and practice the survey protocols (Chapter II).


147

At each company on average 10 construction workers, 1 field supervisor and 2

site managers responded to the survey. Results from Study I suggested that perceptions of

safety climate are not homogeneous across job titles thus, for this study, mean company

safety climate scores were calculated at three groups: workers, supervisors and managers.

Based on individual responses, company safety climate scores were created for each

specific hierarchy-based groups by adding individual safety climate results within a

company and then dividing by the total number of respondents in each specific job title.

Final company safety climate score means ranged from 1 to 4 where higher scores imply

a stronger safety climate. When more than one field supervisor or site manager answered

the NOSACQ-50 Questionnaire, individual scores were averaged to compute the safety

climate score at the supervisor and manager groups respectively.

Data analysis

The overall objective of this study was to assess the relationship between the

presence o f hazard situations in the construction site and perceptions of safety climate.

Both the presence o f fall and MMH hazards were independently analyzed in relation to

safety climate scores at the worker, supervisor and manager group. Additionally, the

presence of hazards was analyzed as an independent variable in relation to company

injury rates. SPSS versions 19 and 21 were used for all statistical analyses.

In order to achieve the study objective, qualitative and quantitative approaches

were used to assess the company hazard profile were analyzed in relation with safety

climate scores. For the quantitative approach, the percentage of hazard situations in

which engineering controls or personal protective equipment were used, as well as the
148

percentage of hazard situations where a hazard was simply present (non-controlled) was

calculated. Percentages were calculated as the number of hazards situations controlled in

each category (or no-controlled) over the total of hazard situations identified. Univariate

robust linear regressions were used to test the relationship between company hazard

profile (qualitative and quantitative) and work-group safety climate scores (worker,

supervisor and manager). Additional analyses were conducted to evaluate the relationship

between company hazard profile (qualitative and quantitative) and injury rate.

Independence o f observations at the company level is assumed because of

sampling and data collection procedures, however the assumption of normality of

residuals was checked and it could not be assumed. Therefore, the Generalized Linear

Model with robust regression was used to examine relationships between construction

site hazard profile (quantitative and qualitative approaches) and work-group safety

climate scores. The Generalized Linear Model with normal distribution and identity link

(a general linear model) was chosen because it is a flexible generalization of ordinary

linear regression that allows incorporation of non-normally distributed residuals and

categorical and continuous independent variables.


149

RESULTS

Hazard situations were observed in a total of 25 construction sites. In each

construction site, the construction site hazard profile was estimated qualitatively and

quantitatively, including six types of fall hazards and five types of MMH hazards. A

total of 340 participants, among them 256 construction workers, 53 field supervisors and

31 site managers, responded to the NOSACQ-50 safety climate questionnaire. The work­

group safety climate score means were as follows: construction workers (2.8 ± 0.22),

field supervisors (2.9 ± 0.26), and site managers (3.1 ± 0.29).

Fall hazard situations observations

In general, implemented controls at the construction sites studied vary widely

by type of hazard assessed Table 23. However, the percentage of hazard situations non­

controlled was higher than the percentage of implemented controls (engineering or PPE)

in most of the situations with exception of working o ff building structures.

Working/walking on surfaces with floor openings/holes was the hazard situation most

commonly observed while working near excavation areas was the least represented at all

of the construction sites assessed.


150

TABLE 24 Table 24 shows data for individual construction sites. The

implementation of engineering controls to reduce fall hazard situations varied widely by

construction site ranging from 0% to 89% (mean 18.6%, standard deviation 22.6). The

percentage of implementation of personal protective equipment (PPE) ranged from 0 to

80% (mean 24.9%, standard deviation 29.6) while hazard situations without control had

an average of 56% with a standard deviation of 35.1. At the work-group, managers

attained the highest mean safety climate score. The 3-year injury rates also varied widely

between construction sites with some companies having higher injury rates than the

industry average (3-year injury rate for the construction sector in Colombia, 8.7 per 100

workers as presented in Chapter III).


151

TABLE 23

Summary of fall hazard situations and implemented control in 25 Colombian construction companies

No. Implemented PPE Non-control


Hazard situation Hazard situations Engineering
Controls % % %
identified

1. Working/walking on surfaces near wall


87 23% 2% 75%
openings

2. Working/walking on surfaces with floor


126 33% 3% 64%
openings/holes

3. Working/walking on leading edges 101 8% 18% 74%

4. Working on formwork and reinforced


steel, precast concrete structures 44 11% 39% 50%

5. Working near excavation areas 5 40% 0% 60%

6. Working off building structures 58 98% 0% 2%


152

TABLE 24

Construction site fall hazard profile (quantitative and qualitative approach), mean safety climate score by work-group, and 3-year
injury rate per 100 workers for 25 construction companies in Colombia
C o m p a n y fa il h a z a rd s p ro f ile G r o u p -le v e l m e a n s a f e ty c lim a te s c o r e 1
C om pany
C om pany Q u a n tita tiv e A p p ro a c h
Q u a lita tiv e 3 - y e a r in ju ry r a te
N o. W o rk e rs S u p e rv is o rs M a n a g e rs
H azard s itu a tio n s % E n g in e e rin g % ppE % H a za rd s n o A p p ro a c h p e r 100 w o r k e r s
id e n tif ie d c o n tro ls im p le m e n te d c o n tro lle d

1 8 12.5 37.5 5 0 .0 High 2.7 2.7 3.0 32.1


2 5 20.0 8 0 .0 0 .0 M o d e r a te 2 .7 3.1 4 1 .2
3 16 0 .0 25.0 7 5 .0 M o d e r a te 2.7 2.9 3.4 22.3
4 31 64.5 19.4 16.1 M o d e r a te 3 .0 2.9 3.1 1 0.0
5 37 37.8 0 .0 6 2 .2 M o d e r a te 2 .8 3.0 3.2 9 .9
6 7 14.3 71.4 14.3 Low 3 .0 2.9 3.0 10.2
7 6 0 .0 0 .0 100.0 Low 2 .7 2.8 3.2 1 8.7
8 9 0 .0 0 .0 100.0 High 2 .6 2.9 3.8 1 .0
9 33 33.3 6.1 60.6 M o d e r a te 2 .8 3.3 2.9 24.9
10 5 0 .0 8 0 .0 2 0 .0 M o d e r a te 2 .9 3.0 3.3 10.6
11 9 88.9 11.1 0 .0 lo w 3.3 3.2 2.9 1 0.6
12 43 0 .0 7.0 9 3 .0 High 2.7 3.1 2.9 4 7 .1
13 33 15.2 3.0 8 1 .8 High 2 .6 2.5 2.9 5 .0
14 28 28.6 0 .0 71.4 High 2 .7 2.9 2.8 2 6 .0
15 20 4 0 .0 5 .0 5 5 .0 High 2 .8 2.4 3.7 28.2
16 5 0 .0 8 0 .0 2 0 .0 M o d e r a te 3 .0 3.2 3 .4 17.1
17 10 4 0 .0 30.0 3 0 .0 M o d e r a te 2.9 2.9 2.8 0 .5
18 41 12.0 22.0 6 6 .0 High 2.9 2.9 2 .9 2 2 .9
19 40 0 .0 2.9 97.1 High 2 .6 2.7 2.9 1 3.6
20 35 14.0 3.0 83.3 High 2.5 2.5 2.4 30.3
21 5 20.0 4 0 .0 4 0 .0 Low 3.5 3.5 3.2 6.6
22 2 0 .0 0 .0 100.0 M o d e ra te 2.9 2.9 2.9 3 .0
23 4 0 .0 25.0 75.0 M o d e ra te 2.9 3.1 2.8 5.3
24 4 0 .0 0 .0 100.0 High 2 .7 2.9 2.9 0 .0
25 4 25.0 75.0 0 .0 Low 3 .0 3.2 3.1 8.4

M ea n 18 ± 14 1 8 .6 ± 2 2 .6 24.9 ± 2 9 .3 56.4 ± 3 5 .1 2 .8 ± 0 .2 2 2.9 ± 0 .2 6 3 .1 ± 0 .2 9 ± 16.2 ± 1 2 .8


1 The v a lu e s p re s e n te d re p re s e n t th e m e a n of e a c h g ro u p s u rv ey ed , o n a v e ra g e 1 0 w o rk ers, 2 field su p e rv is o r, a n d 1 fie ld m a n a g e r a t e a c h co m p an y .
153

Manual material handling risk factors

Hazard situations at each construction site were identified based on five types

of ergonomic risk factors associated with MMH (Table 25). The largest number of hazard

situations identified was related to handling heavy materials (179 hazard situations).

Most of hazard situations were non-controlled and mechanical aids were used mainly

during climbing or descending materials. Safety climate score means and standard

deviations for construction workers, field supervisors, and site managers are also

presented in Table 24.

Table 26 shows data for individual construction sites. The implementation of

engineering controls (mechanical aids) varied widely by construction site ranging from

0% to 100. Percentage o f implementation of work procedures such as working in pairs to

lift or move heavy loads was very low and even it was not implemented in many of the

construction sites observed. Table 4 also shows the qualitative rate for MMH hazards at

each construction such as low (7 sites), moderate (9 sites), and high (9 sites).
154

TABLE 25

Summary of manual material handling hazard situations and implemented controls in 25 Colombian construction companies

No. Hazard Use of mechanical Work Non-control


Type o f Hazard situation
situations aids % procedures % %

1. Climbing or descending with


loads 98 43% 4% 52%

2. Handling heavy equipment or


tools 68 22% 3% 75%

3. Handling heavy materials


179 16% 3% 80%

4. Carrying heavy loads


61 18% 11% 70%

5. Lifting heavy loads


57 4% 7% 89%
155

TABLE 26

Construction site MMH hazard profile (quantitative and qualitative approach) for 25 construction companies in Colombia
C om pany MMH h azard profile W ork-group m e a n safe ty c lim a te s c o re 1
C om pany
C om pany Q u a n tia tiv e A pproach 3 -y e a r injury
No. Q ualitative ra te p e r 100
Hazard W orkers S upervisors M anagers
% Engineering % Work % H azards no A pproach w o rk e rs
situ a tio n s
c o n tro ls p ro c e d u re s c o n tro lle d
id e n tifie d
1 10 30.0 0.0 70.0 M o d erate 2.7 2.7 3.0 32.1
2 8 50.0 50.0 0.0 lo w 2.7 3.1 41.2
3 18 10.0 10.0 80.0 High 2.7 2.9 3.4 22.3
4 1 0.0 0.0 100.0 Low 3.0 2.9 3.1 10.0
5 19 20.0 20.0 60.0 High 2.8 3.0 3.2 9.9
e 12 40.0 10.0 50.0 Low 3.0 2.9 3.0 10.2
7 4 0.0 0.0 100.0 M o d erate 2.7 2.8 3.2 18.7
8 17 10.0 0.0 90.0 High 2.6 2.9 3.8 1.0
9 38 10.0 0.0 80.0 High 2.8 3.3 2.9 24.9
10 7 90.0 10.0 0.0 Low 2.9 3.0 3.3 10.6
11 14 40.0 0.0 60.0 M oderate 3.3 3.2 2.9 10.6
12 4 0.0 0.0 100.0 Low 2.7 3.1 2.9 47.1
13 41 20.0 0.0 80.0 High 2.6 2.5 2.9 5.0
14 39 20.0 10.0 70.0 M oderate 2.7 2.9 2.8 26.0
15 13 20.0 20.0 60.0 M oderate 2.8 2.4 3.7 28.2
16 10 100.0 0.0 0.0 Low 3.0 3.2 3.4 17.1
17 16 30.0 0.0 70.0 M oderate 2.9 2.9 2.8 0.5
18 25 20.0 0.0 80.0 High 2.9 2.9 2.9 22.9
19 59 10.0 0.0 90.0 High 2.6 2.7 2.9 13.6
20 42 20.0 0.0 80.0 High 2.5 2.5 2.4 30.3
21 13 20.0 10.0 70.0 M oderate 3.5 3.5 3.2 6.6
22 13 50.0 10.0 50.0 High 2.9 2.9 2.9 3.0
23 12 0.0 20.0 80.0 M oderate 2.9 3.1 2.8 5.3
24 12 0.0 20.0 80.0 M oderate 2.7 2.9 2.9 0.0
25 16 20.0 0.0 80.0 Low 3.0 3.2 3.1 8.4

Total 463

M ean 25.2 ±25.7 7 .6 1 1 1 .6 6 7 .2 1 2 8 .8 2.8 ± 0.22 2 .9 ± 0 .2 6 3 .1 1 0 .2 9 1 6 .2 1 1 2 .8


1 The values presented rep resen t the mean of each group surveyed, on averag e 10 w orkers, 2 field supervisor, and 1 field m anager a t each com pany.
156

Relationship between safety climate scores and construction site hazard profile

Fall hazards

The Generalized Linear Model results showed that there was a statistically

significant association between worker-group safety climate score means and the

proportion of implemented engineering controls but not a statistically significant

association for either the supervisor-group or manager-group. The scatter plot (Figure

26) shows that worker-group’s safety climate score means seemed to increase as the

proportion of implemented engineering controls increased as well. Although supervisor-

group’s safety climate score means showed a similar trend to worker-group’s, the trend

was weaker. In contrast, manager-group’s safety climate score means presented a

slightly negative trend (Figure 27).

The scatterplot showed that worker-group’s safety climate score means

increased as the proportion of implemented fall protection increased as well (Figure 28).

The statistical analysis showed a significant association between these variables.

Supervisor-group’s and manager-group’s safety climate score means showed a similar

trend than worker-group’s (Figure 29-Figure 30).

The scatterplots showed that all work-group’s safety climate score means had

an inverse relationship with the proportion of non-controlled hazards at the construction

site (Figures 31-33). The work-group safety climate score means decreased when the

proportion of non-controlled hazard increased at the construction sites. The statistical


157

analysis showed a significant association for the entire work-group safety climate score

means with exception the of manager-group safety climate score means (Table 27).
158

FIGURE 25

Scatter plot between worker-group’s safety score means and proportion of


implementation of engineering controls for fall hazard situations identified at 25
Colombian construction companies.

3.50“
W ork er’s safety climate score m ean s

3.25“

3.00“
y=2.76 +0.39 x

2.75-

2.50“

.00 .20 .40 .60 .80 1.00

Proportion of implemented engineering controls


159

FIGURE 26

Scatter plot between supervisor-group’s safety score means and proportion of


implementation of engineering controls for fall hazard situations identified at 25
Colombian construction companies.

3.4
climate score m ea n s

y= 2.9 +0.28 x
3 .0 “
S u p erv iso r-g ro u p ’s safety

2 .8 -

2 .6 -

2 .4 -

2 . 2-1
.00 .20 .40 .60 .80 1.00

Proportion of implemented engineering controls


160

FIGURE 27

Scatter plot between manager-group’s safety score means and proportion of


implementation of engineering controls for fall hazard situations identified at 25
Colombian construction companies.

3.75
M an ag er-g ro u p ’s safety climate score m ean s

3.50

y=3.07 - 0.36 x
3.25

3.00

2.75

2.50

.00 .20 .40 .60 .80 1.00

Proportion of implemented engineering controls


161

FIGURE 28

Scatter plot exploring the linear relationship between worker-group’s safety score means
and proportion of implementation of fall protection for fall hazard situations at 25
Colombian construction companies.
W ork er-grou p ’s safety climate score m ea n s

3.50

y=2.76 +0.28 x

2.75'

.00 .20 .40 .60 .80

Proportion of implemented fall protection


162

FIGURE 29

Scatter plot exploring the linear relationship between supervisor-group’s safety score
means and proportion of implementation of fall protection for fall hazard situations at 25
Colombian construction companies.

3.4-
climate score m ean s

3.2”
y=2.76 +0.28 x

3.0“
S u p erv iso r-g ro u p ’s safety

2 .8 "

2 .6 -

2.4“

00 .20 .40 60 .80

Proportion o f im p lem en ted fa ll p rotection


163

FIGURE 30

Scatter plot exploring the linear relationship between manager-group’s safety score
means and proportion of implementation of fall prevention for fall hazard situations
identified at 25 Colombian construction companies.

3,75-
M a n a g er-g ro u p ’s safety climate score m ean s

y=3.0 - 0.21 x

i.0 0

2,50-

.00 .20 .40 .60 .80

Proportion of implemented fall protection


164

TABLE 27

Results of the Generalized Linear Model regression of the association between work-group safety climate scores
and fall hazards profile (qualitative approach) at 25 construction sites in Colombia.

95% Confidence Interval


Work-group Hazard profile b Std. Error Sig.
Lower Upper

Intercept 3.09 0.12 2.86 3.32 0.00


High (n=lO) -0.41 0.12 -0.65 -0.17 0.00
Workers
Moderate (n=10) -0.24 0.12 -0.48 0.00 0.05
Low (n=5) 0

Intercept 3.12 0.10 2.92 3.32 0.00


High (n=10) -0.38 0.13 -0.62 -0.13 0.00
Supervisors
Moderate (n=10) -0.10 0.11 -0.32 0.13 0.40
Low (n=5) 0
Intercept 3.08 0.04 2.99 3.17 0.00
High (n=10) -0.08 0.13 -0.33 0.18 0.56
Managers
Moderate (n=10) 0.01 0.08 -0.15 0.17 0.89
Low (n=5) 0
165

FIGURE 31

Scatter plot worker-group’s safety score means and proportion of fall hazard situations
non-controlled at 25 Colombian construction companies.

3 .5 0 -
Worker-group’s safety climate score means

3 .2 5 -

3 .0 0 -

2 .7 5 -

2 .5 0 “

.00 .20 .40 .60 .80 1.00

Proportion of hazard situations non-controlled


166

FIGURE 32

Scatter plot exploring the linear relationship between supervisor-group’s safety score
means and proportion of fall hazard situations non-controlled at 25 Colombian
construction companies.
Supervisor-group’s safety climate score means

3 2”

30-
y=3.03 - 0.36 x

2 .8 '

2 .6 -

2.4

00 60 100

Proportion of hazard situations non-controlled


167

FIGURE 33

Scatter plot exploring the linear relationship between manager-group’s safety score
means and proportion of fall hazard situations non-controlled at 25 Colombian
construction companies.

3 .7 5 -
Manager-group’s safety climate score means

3 .5 0 -

3 .2 5 - y=3.12 - 0.11 x

3 .0 0 -

2 .7 5 -

2 .5 0 -

.0 0 .2 0 .40 .60 .80 1 .0 0

Proportion of hazard situations non-controlled


168

Using a qualitative approach, the fall hazard profile of the 25 construction

companies was clustered into low (n=5), moderate (n=10) and high (n=10). Table 27

shows that worker-group’s safety climate score means were higher for construction sites

classified as low hazard profile and lower for moderate and high hazard profiles.

Worker-group’s safety climate score means were more homogenous for moderate and

high hazard profile and presented more dispersion for low hazard profile construction

sites. Supervisor-group’s safety climate score means presented the same trend but

slightly higher safety climate score means were observed for all hazard profile

construction sites. Manager-group’s safety climate score means were homogenous for

low and moderate hazard profile but showed higher dispersion in construction site

clustered as high hazard profile. Particularly, in the manager-group, two construction

sites obtained the highest score means and one from the same group obtained the lowest

one.

The Generalized Linear Model results showed an inverse relationship between

work-group safety climate score means and construction site fall hazard profiles.

Worker-group’s safety climate score means were significantly different for companies

with low, moderate and high hazard profile. Supervisor-group’s safety climate score

means were significantly different between companies with low and high hazard profile.

Differences in manager-group’s safety climate score means were close to zero and non-

significantly different.
169

FIGURE 34

Scatterplot of construction sites hazard profile (qualitative approach) and worker-group


safety climate score means at 25 Colombian construction companies.

3 .5 0 -
Workers Total Safety Climate Score Mean

3 .2 5 -

3 .0 0 -

2 .7 5 -

2 .5 0 -

Moderate

Construction Site Fall Hazards Profile


170

FIGURE 35

Scatter plot of qualitative construction sites hazard profile and supervisor group safety
climate score mean among Colombian construction companies (n=25)

3 .4 -
Supervisor’s Total Safety Climate Score

3 .0 -

2 .0 '

2 .6 -

2 .4 -

2 . 2-1

Low Moderate H igh

Construction Site Fall Hazards Profile


171

FIGURE 36

Scatter plot of qualitative construction sites hazard profile and supervisor group safety
climate score mean among Colombian construction companies (n=25)

3.75-
Manager’s Total Safety Climate Score Mean

3.25-

3.00"

2.7 5 -

2.50-

Low Moderate High

Construction Site Fall Hazards Profile


172

Manual material handling hazards

The Generalized Linear Model results indicated that there was a weak and not

a statistically significant association between worker-group safety climate score means

and the proportion of implemented engineering controls (mechanical aid) or work

practices. The relationship between presence of non-controlled MMH hazards at the

workplace and workers safety climate means was negative but not statistically significant.

Similar results were found for the supervisor-group and manager-group (Table 28).

According to Figure 37, Figure 38, Figure 39, worker-group’s safety climate

score means seemed to increase as the proportion of implementation of mechanical aids

increased as well. The majority of construction sites had low implementation of hazard

controls. A noticeable trend in these data was that there no construction sites having high

implementation of mechanical aids and high safety climate scores. The Generalized

Linear Model results showed that none of the associations between any of the work­

groups safety climate score means and MMH hazard controls were statistically

significant.

A qualitative approach was also used to assess construction sites hazard profile

regarding to the presence of MMH hazards at the 25 construction sites. Construction

companies were clustered into low (n=7), moderate (n=9) and high (n=9) based on the

types of hazards and controls implemented. Table 29 shows that worker-group’s safety

climate score means were slightly higher for construction sites classified as low hazard

profile in comparison with those clustered as moderate and higher. However the

difference in safety climate scores means between company-group was not statistically
173

significant. Scatterplots shown that worker-group’s safety climate score means tended to

be homogenous for construction sites with low and high hazard profiles but not for those

clustered as moderate (Figure 40). Supervisor-group’s safety climate score means

presented the same trend although higher dispersion was presented in safety climate

scores means for companies with moderate and high hazard profile (Figure 41). Manager-

group’s safety climate score means showed higher dispersion in construction site

clustered as high hazard profile.


174

TABLE 28

Results of the Generalized Linear Model regression of the association between work-group safety climate score means and MMH
hazard profile at 25 construction sites in Colombia.

Work-group Type o f control bo b,


ui Std. Error - 95% Confidence Interval Sig.
Lower Upper
Engineering 2.77 0.05 2.68 2.87 0.000
controls
(mechanical aids) 0.22 0.09 0.05 0.39 0.010

Workers 2.84 0.05 2.74 2.93 0.000


Work procedures
-0.08 0.22 -0.51 0.36 0.732
2.93 0.08 2.79 3.08 0.000
Non-control
-0.16 0.10 -0.35 0.04 0.114
Engineering 2.89 0.06 2.77 3.02 0.000
controls
(mechanical aids) 0.15 0.11 -0.07 0.36 0.187

Supervisors 2.94 0.06 2.81 3.07 0.000


Work procedures
-0.20 0.73 -1.63 1.23 0.779
3.03 0.09 2.86 3.21 0.000
Non-control
-0.15 0.12 -0.38 0.07 0.188
Engineering 2.99 0.08 2.84 3.15 0.000
controls
(mechanical aids) 0.24 0.14 -0.04 0.53 0.089
Managers 3.03 0.07 2.89 3.16 0.000
Work procedures
0.38 0.40 -0.39 1.16 0.331
3.23 0.09 3.06 3.40 0.000
Non-control
-0.26 0.14 -0.53 0.02 0.065
175

FIGURE 37

Scatter plot between worker-group’s safety score means and proportion of


implementation of engineering controls for manual material handling hazard situations
identified at 25 Colombian construction companies.

3.50-
Worker-group’s safety climate score means

3,25-

3.00"

2.75-

2.50

.00 20 .40 .60 .80 1 00

Proportion of implementation of mechanical aids


176

FIGURE 38

Scatter plot between supervisor-group’s safety score means and proportion of


implementation of mechanical aids for manual material handling hazard situations
identified at 25 Colombian construction companies.

3 .4 -
Supervisor-group’s safety climate score means

y=2.89 - 0.15 x
3.2"

3.0-

2 ,8 “

2 .6 “

2.4'

20 .40 60 .80

Proportion of implementation of mechanical aids


177

FIGURE 39

Scatter plot between manager-group’s safety score means and proportion of


implementation of mechanical aids for manual material handling hazard situations
identified at 25 Colombian construction companies.

375-
Manager-group’s safety climate score means

3.50

y= 2.99 - 0.24 x
3.25-

2 .75 -

2.50-

.00 .20 .40 .60 .80

Proportion of implementation of mechanical aids


178

TABLE 29

Results of the Generalized Linear Model regression of the association between group-level safety climate score means and MMH
hazard profile (qualitative approach) at 25 construction sites in Colombia.

Work-group Hazard profile b Std. Error 95% Confidence Interval Sig.


Lower Upper
Intercept 2.89 0.04 2.81 2.98 0.00
High (n=9) -0.18 0.06 -0.31 -0.06 0.00
Workers
Moderate (n=9) 0.01 0.10 -0.19 0.20 0.95
Low (n=7) 0
Intercept 3.05 0.05 2.95 3.16 0.00
High (n=9) -0.21 0.10 -0.40 -0.03 0.03
Supervisors
Moderate (n=9) -0.12 0.11 -0.34 0.09 0.26
Low (n=7) 0
Intercept 3.13 0.06 3.01 3.25 0.00
High (n=9) -0.11 0.14 -0.38 0.16 0.42
Managers
Moderate (n-9) -0.09 0.11 -0.30 0.12 0.41
Low (n=7) 0
179

FIGURE 40

Scatterplot of construction sites MMH hazard profile (qualitative approach) and worker-

group safety climate score means at 25 Colombian construction companies.


Score M ea n

3 .5 0 " o

3 . 25 "< o
Workers Total Safety Climate

O
3 .00 "
§
o 8 8

o 8
2 .75 - o
8 §
o
8
2 50 - o

Low M oderate H igh

C onstruction S ite M M H H azards P ro file


180

FIGURE 41

Scatter plot of qualitative construction sites MMH hazard profile and supervisor group

safety climate score mean among Colombian construction companies (n=25)

o
S u p erv iso r’s Total Safety Climate S co re

o
0
o
o
o
o

o o
o
8

oo
o o
o

o
o

o
o
o

L ow M oderate H igh

C onstruction S ite M M H H azards P ro file


181

FIGURE 42

Scatter plot of qualitative construction sites MMH hazard profile and supervisor group

safety climate score mean among Colombian construction companies (n=25)

75-
Climate Score M ea n
M a n a g er’s Total Safety

oo-

75“

50-

Low M oderate H igh

C onstruction S ite M M H H azards P ro file


182

Non-controlled hazards and injury rates

Spearman correlations calculated between construction company 3-year injury

rate per 100 workers and the proportion of fall hazards non-controlled was negative and

low (r= -0.139) and not statistically significant (p=0.506) (Figure 43). The correlation

between construction company 3-year injury rate per 100 workers and the proportion of

MMH hazards non-controlled was weak (r= -0.029) and not statistically significant

(p=0.889) (Figure 44).


183

FIGURE 43

Scatter plot between company injury rate per 100 workers and proportion of non-
controlled fall hazard situations identified at 25 Colombian construction companies.

50.0
site injury rate per 100 w ork ers

40.0

30.0

2 0 .0 -
Construction

1 0 .0 -

Proportion of non-controlled fall hazard situations


184

FIGURE 44

Scatter plot between company injury rate per 100 workers and proportion of non­
controlled MMH hazard situations identified at 25 Colombian construction companies.

50 0 "
site injury rate per 100 w o rk ers

40 0“

30 0 -

20 0 -
Construction

10 0 -

0-

00 20 40 60 80 1 00

Proportion of non-controlled MMH hazard situations


185

DISCUSSION

The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between the presence

of fall and MMH hazards on construction sites and perceptions of safety climate at

different hierarchical levels at 25 Colombian construction companies; as well as the

relationship between the presence of hazards and recorded injury rates. The presence of

hazards at each construction site was assessed qualitatively and quantitatively while

perceptions of safety climate were measured at worker, supervisor and manager groups

using a previously validated tool.

The hazard profile at these construction sites was significantly associated with

safety climate. Overall, the relationship between company safety climate score and

implemented fall hazard controls varied as expected (i.e. higher safety climate score was

associated with greater implementation of engineering controls; and lower safety climate

score means were associated with higher presence of non-controlled hazards), while the

association with manual material handling risk factors did not. In other words, both

workers’ and supervisors’ overall safety climate scores were positively associated with

the implementation of fall hazard controls at their company. Additionally, workers’ and

supervisors’ overall safety climate score were inversely related to the presence of non­

controlled fall hazards at the workplace. However, manager’s safety climate score means

were independent of the company’s level of implemented fall hazard controls, as well as

of the presence of non-controlled fall hazards at the workplace.

In contrast, the presence of manual material handling risk factors at the

construction site was not correlated with safety climate scores. These associations
186

approached zero and were not statistically significant for any job title. Additionally, the

presence of hazards at the construction site was not significantly associated with

company injury rates.

Safety climate research has been mainly oriented to test its role with respect to

safety outcomes. Relatively little attention has been given to potential factors that can

determine safety climate and how workers form perceptions of safety at the workplace.

Although co-workers’ social interactions and leader-worker communication have been

suggested as the mechanisms through which workers form perceptions of safety climate

(Sparer, Murphy, Taylor, & Dennerlein, 2013; Zohar, Huang, Lee, & Robertson, 2014),

results from this study show that workers’ and supervisors’ perceptions of safety climate

are also associated with the presence of potential serious acute injury (fall) hazards at the

construction worksite. This may indicate, as Smith et al (2006) stated, that worker’s

interactions with hazards in their workplace are likely important factors that formulate

perceptions of safety climate, beyond supervisor-worker communication.

These findings are consistent with results reported by DeJoy et al. (2004), who

found a significant negative relationship between potential hazards in the workplace and

safety climate in the retail industry. Neitzel et al. (2006) also found lower safety climate

scores in workplaces with higher noncompliance for fall protection. The association

between the presence of hazards and safety climate may exist in the construction industry

for various reasons, such as the nature and structure of the construction worksite.

Controlling hazards is a management responsibility; the on-going presence of non-


187

controlled hazards at the workplace may tacitly communicate to workers that safety is

given a low priority by management.

Several studies have suggested that organizations with strong safety climate

report lower injury rates (i.e. Gillen, Baltz, Gassel, Kirsch, & Vaccaro, 2002; Gyekye &

Salminen, 2009; Varonen & Mattila, 2000). However, a previous study in this

dissertation (Chapter III) as well as other studies have not found a significant association

between worker’s perceptions of safety climate and company injury rates (Smith, Huang,

Ho, & Chen, 2006). These results would suggest that the presence of hazards in the

workplace can be a potential mediator of the association. A meta-analysis conducted by

Beus et al. (2010) revealed that injuries were more predictive of organizational safety

climate than safety climate was predictive of injuries. In fact, Smith et al. (2006) reported

that the relationship between safety climate and injury was reduced and not significant

when the degree of hazard in the industry was controlled (Smith, Huang, Ho, & Chen,

2006).

However, the relationship of hazards to perceptions of safety climate was not

homogeneous for all types of hazards present at the construction sites. The presence of

fall hazards was significantly and negatively associated with safety climate, while the

presence of MMH risk factors was independent of safety climate scores. Differences in

associations between these two types of hazards may be due to how differently they are

perceived. While fall hazards may be seen as a risk with the potential to severely or

fatally injure any worker at the workplace and therefore should be controlled at

management levels; MMH risk factors may be viewed as a normal part of the job. For
188

instance, qualitative data obtained separately (see Study IV) showed a wide-spread

assumption that lifting heavy loads is to be expected and that only “weak ” workers will

be negatively affected.

Management is assumed to exert a crucial influence on organizational safety

performance given that they establish and define priorities of the organization (Fruhen et

al, 2013; Gillen, 2010). Perceived management commitment to safety was identified by

Beus et al. (2010) as the most robust predictor of occupational injuries. A construction

site has both supervisors and managers, middle and upper management respectively, but

while supervisor safety climate score means were associated with the presence of hazards

in the workplace, managers’ were not. The independence of manager safety climate

score means with respect to the presence of hazards may reflect differences in roles

between site managers and field supervisors. Although construction managers might be

aware of the hazards (Gillen, 2004), they are primarily responsible for administrative

tasks involving mainly project budget, deadlines and managing contactors. In turn, field

supervisors are responsible for following tasks performed on-site which implies more

time in contact with workers and facing the daily construction environment.

A range of safety, health and ergonomic hazards are inherent to construction

processes. Many of these hazards originate from aspects such as the nature of the work,

work procedures, workplace layout, materials and tools. The walkthrough observations

conducted during this study attempted to estimate the magnitude and frequency of

hazards at the participating construction site that could be directly compared to

perceptions of safety climate. However, assessing the construction site hazard profile had
189

important challenges which likely introduced limitations. First, measuring the presence

or absence of hazards at one single point in time may not be sufficient to adequately

characterize hazards, particularly those found in dynamic workplaces such a construction

sites. A comprehensive assessment of construction site hazard profiles would require

many observations at different points in time throughout each project stage. Second,

although counting the number of hazards and the types of controls provides quantitative

data, information about managements’ commitment to safety, the hazard counting

approach may overestimate a particular hazard situation (i.e., lifting loads; if many

workers are performing the same task during the time of observation). Qualitative

characterization of these observations was also considered, in order to avoid this problem.

A mixed methods approach might provide a more comprehensive assessment of the on­

going presence or absence of hazards and thus more accurately reflect management’s

commitment to safety. Future methodological investigations would be desirable to

generate a more accurate and reliable observation protocol.

The importance of safety climate as an assessment tool should go beyond

anticipating workers unsafe/safe behaviors. Although the need for conducting

interventions to improve safety climate has been suggested in the literature (Huang, et al

2009), given that safety climate is conceptualized as an indicator of safety perceptions,

we believe that it does not merit binge the direct target of any intervention. For the

particular dynamics of the construction industry, the relevance of safety climate might lie

instead in its ability to detect safety gaps in the initial steps of the injury causal pathway.

This is likely associated with injuries and is therefore critical to improving safety at the

workplace.
190

Strengths and limitations

A particular characteristic of the construction industry is the evolving nature of

hazards over a project’s lifetime. The hazard observation approach used in this study was

a static metric which only provided a short-term snapshot of the conditions on the

construction site. Fall hazards are related to the physical work area conditions, are

available for observation at any time during working hours, and may be general to all

workers and staff at that section of the worksite. In contrast, MMH hazards are linked to

specific tasks and even hours, so their presence might be more easily overestimated or

underestimated. Distribution of material was the first thing in the morning at most of the

construction sites. At this time, both use of mechanical aids and manual material

handling had peak occurrences. Thus, the time of observation can affect the estimation of

MMH hazards. In order to have a better assessment of the presence of MMH hazards, a

mixed model approach can be used or workers’ self-reporting of MMH hazards can be

incorporated.
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CONCLUSION

This was an exploratory study to evaluate whether safety climate was

associated with the presence of observed hazards in the construction workplace. The

presence o f hazards can be understood as practical expression of management’s

operationalized commitment to safety. With 266 workers surveyed from 25 construction

companies, this study provided an initial step in identifying potential determinants of

safety climate additional to communication or leadership styles identified in previous

studies. Measuring hazard exposure brings specific challenges; using a mixed methods

approach may reduce the challenges inherent especially in the construction setting.
192

CHAPTER IV

A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF PERCEPTIONS OF SAFETY IN THE

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IN COLOMBIA

INTRODUCTION

Construction is consistently ranked among the most dangerous industries in

both developed and developing countries and remains a major human, social and

economic problem. Important safety, health, and ergonomic hazards are continuously

present at construction sites. The effects can range from minor to severe and fatal

injuries among construction workers as well as supervisor and managers, although in a

smaller proportion. Injuries by way of sharp, heavy and/or vibrating tools, falling from

heights, slipping and tripping, frequent manual handling of heavy loads, and exposure to

noise, vibrations, dust are some of the hazardous situations faced by thousands of

construction workers around the world.

As safety has approach have evolved, causes of injury in the construction

industry have been analyzed and explained using technical, human factors, management

systems, and cultural approaches (Borys, Else, & Leggett, 2009). The high work-related
193

injury rate has been attributed to a great number of factors, all of which can act

individually or collectively, such as inherent characteristics of the constructive process,

high mobility of the workforce, inadequate training, high levels of subcontracting, risk-

oriented attitudes, tight deadlines, and restricted budgets (Hinze, Devenport, & Giang,

2006; X. Huang & Hinze, 2003; Lingard & Rowlinson, 2005; Reyes, San-Jose,

Cuadrado, & Sancibrian, 2014; Swuste, Frijters, & Guldenmund, 2012). Enhancing safety

within construction work environments requires a comprehensive understanding of the

various factors associated with injuries. Work-related injuries are the result of multiple

factor occurring or interacting at a specific time in a particular worksite. A complete

understanding of these contributing factors is needed in order to intervene not only on

those associated with individual characteristics but also at the higher environmental and

organizational levels that contribute to injury occurrences.

The socio-ecological model (SEM) has been suggested as an appropriate model

for public health promotion and injury prevention because it incorporates multiple levels

affecting health and safety at the worksite. The construction industry is a complex sector

with particular characteristics (i.e., construction process, multiple contractors and

subcontractors, piecework pay, changing layouts) directly or indirectly affecting safety

decisions.

The social-ecological model was used in this study to classify qualitative data

regarding barriers and challenges for safety at the construction sites. This model

considers interplay between individual, relationship, community, and societal factors

(CDC, 2013). The socio-ecological model was adopted as the framework to emphasize
194

the importance of context and multiple levels of influence in determining safety (Stokols,

1992).

For the purpose of this study, the four-level model was used according to CDC

guidance (CDC, 2013). The first level is the individual, which includes the

characteristics that influence behavior such as knowledge attitudes, skills, and beliefs.

The second level is interpersonal processes, such as worker-worker and worker-

supervisor relationships. The third level is organizational, which includes rules, policies,

and formal and informal structures. The fourth level is societal, which includes the

cultural context and national policies on safety and health.

Using the socio-ecological model as a framework, this study examines

construction workers’, field supervisors’, and site managers’ perceptions of work

practices and potential factors related to safety in order to gain understanding of the

underlying priorities competing with safety at the construction worksites.


195

METHODS

The purpose of this study was to examine and describe construction

personnel’s perceptions of safety in the construction industry. To obtain the data, a

qualitative approach was used to collect information on barriers and incentives to

improve safety on construction sites. In-depth guided interviews were conducted to

identify general perceptions of safety among construction workers, their field managers,

and site supervisors. Construction site personnel were asked to describe the kinds of

practices implemented at their construction site as well as the types of situations

experienced at their workplace. All participants participated voluntarily and provided oral

consent, as approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of

Massachusetts Lowell (IRB 12-131 -PUN-XPD). No compensation was provided to the

participants.

Study design and sample population

This study was conducted among construction companies in Bogota,

Colombia. Potential individual participants were selected from 25 construction

companies previously recruited for Study I, all of which were customers of the largest

private worker’s compensation company in Colombia. One construction site per

company was selected to be part of the sample. On average, a medium-size construction

site (50-100 workers) has 2 supervisors and 2 site engineers. The intended sample in each

construction site was two construction workers, one field supervisor and one site

manager. Thus, the total intended sample was comprised of at least 50 workers, 25 field

supervisors and 25 site managers. Site managers were civil engineers or architects with
196

the main responsibility of monitoring construction operations and guarantying project

deadlines and budget. In turn, supervisors (called in Colombia “maestros de obra”) were

personnel with responsibilities of managing contractors, assigning tasks, and supervising

daily work progress.

Potential participants to be interviewed were chosen at random among workers,

supervisors and managers who had previously responded to the NOSACQ-50 safety

climate questionnaire (Chapter II). Construction workers to be interviewed were

randomly selected from the group of workers surveyed (Chapter II). A site manager and

a field supervisor at each worksite were invited to participate in the interviews and where

there were two or more field supervisors, the potential interviewee was randomly

selected. When a potential participant refused to participate, a new individual was

randomly selected.

Data collection

In-depth interviews were conducted at the construction sites from November

2012 to April 2013. Interviews were conducted individually with construction workers,

field supervisors and site managers during work hours and lasted approximately 45-90

minutes each. They were conducted and audio-recorded by the researcher on construction

sites in office areas or site areas where privacy was guaranteed. Informed consent was

discussed with participants prior to conducting the interviews and permission for

recording was obtained. After obtaining oral consent, a recorder was activated and the

interview commenced. When participants did not agree to have the interview recorded,

the researcher took notes. The researcher led the interview from a script or guide
197

developed for this project based on the safety climate and safety practice questionnaire

used in Chapter I and Chapter II (Appendix 10).

Based on a semi-structured interview guide interviewees were asked about

topics mentioned above through open-ended questions designed to motivate detailed

responses. Interviewees (construction workers, foremen, and site managers) were first

asked general questions such as the nature of the construction project, expected end dates,

personnel, and about their experience and qualifications. Interviewees were also asked

about their previous knowledge about safety, and how safety could influence the day-to-

day progress.

Prior to use, the interview guide was pilot-tested in four construction sites with

a total of two workers and two supervisors to assess the value and clarity of the questions

as well as to estimate the duration of the interview. Based on the pilot results, the script

was revised to eliminate redundant or ambiguous questions. The final guide was

comprised of four sections with questions about types and potential causes of injuries the

subject had experienced or knew about; the role of workers, field supervisors, site

managers, and safety coordinators in health and safety on site; safety practices

implemented at the construction site; and barriers and opportunities to make construction

sites safer.

Data analysis

Interview recordings were transcribed verbatim by the researcher using the

Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium 11® software package. No participant names or


198

specific construction site references were associated with transcripts but letters were

assigned to distinguish interviewer’s comments from participant’s ones. The process of

categorizing qualitative data was completed with the software package QSR NVivo 10®.

NVivo 10© uses a tree-node system to designate categories or themes (nodes) and

relationships (hierarchical parent-child nodes). A broad tree node was constructed for

coding data based on the four levels of the socio-ecological model; within each level,

emergent themes related to safety climate, safety practices, and barriers to improve safety

were included. Quotes were selected that summarized other comments, were

presentations of specific feelings, or described an uncommon view. The quotes included

were translated from Spanish and adapted to English.


199

RESULTS

Data for analysis came for 53 transcribed interviews conducted with

construction personnel, including ten construction workers, 18 field supervisors, and 25

site managers. Given that the interviews took on average one hour, it was not possible to

reach the expected number of workers. This limitation was stated by supervisors not by

workers. Since the interview was intended to identify safety practice or safety barriers

most o f the emergent themes were identified around the organization (Table 30). Details

regarding themes identified for the individual, inter-personal, organizational, and societal

level are discussed in sections below.


200

TABLE 30

Summary of themes identified from the qualitative data organized around four-level
socio-ecological model: workers, field supervisors and managers from 25 Colombian
construction companies.

Socio-Ecological Model Cited by


inemes
Level Worker Supervisor Manager

Non-injury concept ✓
Individual
Leading by example V ✓ ✓

Supportive social environment V •/


Inter-personal
Blaming for injuries S S

Lack of articulation between


trade training vs. safety training V

Training S ✓

Contractors safety performance

Contractors hiring practices ✓

Safety responsibilities ✓ •/
Organizational
Risk perception S ✓ •/

Safety staff authority and power ■/ ✓

Safety budget and cost-benefit


relationship

Housekeeping s S ✓

Lack of management learning V

Societal New safety legislation


201

Individual level

Non-injury concept

Several comments reflected workers’ beliefs about minor injuries, which are

often viewed as normal occurrences inherent in the construction industry. Injuries such as

lacerations (usually to fingers and hands), stubs, slips or sprains were considered too

small to be reported. Workers accepted these injuries as expected events that happen to

all construction workers. Additionally, participants considered that repeated reporting of

injuries might put those workers in an unfavorable situation, given that both employers

and coworkers might see them as complainers or as weak.

Interviewer: In these years working in the construction industry, have you suffered work-

related injuries?

Worker: No.

Interviewer: You have been worked in the construction fo r more than 8 years and

haven’t you had injuries?

Worker: No. I haven’t had injuries in all this time

Interviewer: Haven’t you have any injury such as scratches, slips, cuts, hits with

object...

Worker: Oh yeah, yeah, o f course, I have had those but not injuries!
2 02

Leading by example

Workers and field supervisors repeatedly recognized that site managers play a

critical role in supporting the accomplishment of safety goals on sites. The participation

of site managers in safety activities, as well as their visibility as safety leaders, was

deemed to be very limited. Although site managers were identified as responsible for

accomplishing the overall project goals, safety goals were considered outside of their

management scope. In fact, site managers stated that they were not taught about safety

during their undergraduate or graduate studies. Managers mentioned learning how to

anticipate and deal with project risks (anticipating uncertain events that are inherent to a

project in order to optimize them for successfully achieve project goals) but not those

related to worker safety. Instead, sole responsibility for the safety of workers was held

by identified safety staff.

Managers were identified by workers as only sporadic participants in safety

activities. Site managers with the strongest commitment to safety were characterized by

workers and supervisors as those who engaged in informal safety chats with workers,

called workers’ attention to using PPE, participated in safety walkthroughs, and

supported safety coordinators in decisions to penalize those contractors who broke safety

rules. Those attitudes were also considered by workers as an expression of interest and

respect for workers.


203

Project manager: I didn ’t like to wear safety boots or glasses. I used only to wear the

hard hat and walk around the construction site in sneakers. When you do that, you don't

have authority to ask workers to use PPE. Now, after many years o f working in the

construction industry, I wear safety boots, but it took me a lot o f time to understand that I

have to lead with my example.

Interviewer: During your undergraduate or graduate studies, did you take any subject

related to safety?

Site manager: No, I didn’t. I f you check in any curriculum in civil engineering or

architecture there are no safety-related courses. Everything that I know about safety, I

learned it here at the construction sites.

Interviewer: Did you attend safety trainings?

Project manager: I have tried to attend some trainings but I don’t have too much time

because I am the project manager and my responsibility is the overall project.

Sometimes the safety coordinator invites me b u t... for example, they set an 8-hour fall

protection training only fo r site and project managers. So, I went one day but I couldn’t

be there more than two hours and to this day, I haven’t finished that training. But we

have a high quality safety coordinator; he knows everything about safety and fall

protection, so I think that is more important than me attending a safety course.


204

Supervisor: I am the field supervisor here. I don’t want that people get injured on my

construction site. Thus I have to know about safety because i f I give an order and I don’t

know what hazards that task involves, and I don’t tell them [workers] about which PPE

to wear, they will think that I know nothing about safety and that I don’t care about them.

Inter-personal factors

Supportive social environment

Group pressure, especially on new and young workers, to rush or to expose

themselves to hazards was pointed out among both workers and supervisors. For instance,

lifting heavy loads without asking for help was identified as a behavior adopted in order

to avoid being ridiculed by co-workers or labeled as a weak worker by supervisors.

Workers also mentioned that calling out a co-worker on their unsafe attitudes was as an

intrusion on one another’s job and could lead into interpersonal conflicts. Workers

recognized, as a key point, that field supervisors and safety coordinators have to work in

collaboration because in some cases they can receive contradictory instructions regarding

how to follow safety procedures.

Worker: Sometimes you see some people working unsafe and you tell them “look man,

please anchor yourself. That’s why the company gave you a harness. ” And they respond

with swear words such as don 7 be nosy... it is none o f your business... and many other

words that because I respect you I cannot repeat.


205

Site manager: So, i t ’s very difficult to modify the construction workers ’ culture. You hear

a worker challenging his co-worker with something like “I bet you are not able to lift

that. ” And sometimes as a site manager I think, " if this worker can do that task why

cannot the other do it as well? ” I never think “this worker needs help, ” instead, I think

"... maybe he is not the right person for this work. ”

Interviewer: When you need to move heavy materials, do you ask fo r help or do you offer

help to other workers?

Worker: I f it is a new worker, I wait for a while; i f I see that he really tried but he

couldn 7 then I offer to help him. Because...you know... all these new workers -

sometimes they are younger than me but they don 7 want to push themselves. This is

construction and they think they are in an office. However, when I know that something

is certainly heavy I don 7 wait until he asks me fo r help, I immediately stop what I am

doing and I go to help my coworker.

Blaming workers fo r injuries

Some managers and supervisors considered work-related injuries at the

construction site to be due to worker distraction on the job. They stated that even though

workers receive detailed instructions to be attentive to workplace hazards, they easily

forget to do so. Although some workers admitted that they needed to pay more attention

to safety conditions while performing certain tasks, they thought that being blamed for
206

injuries was not only unfair but also undermined their motivation to participate actively

in safety activities, to report unsafe conditions at the worksite or suggest controls.

Worker 1: I do think that training is very important in order to learn how to do things

safely and not get injured. What happens here it is that they [safety coordinators] come

and meet us all and they scold us. They tell us that we always do the wrong things and

that we do not care about safety. So then, you don’t want to ask fo r or say something, the

only thing you want is that the training meeting ends quickly and you can go back to

work.

Worker 2: When somebody gets injured, they [safety coordinators] investigate what

caused that injury. What happens is that they always fin d that the cause o f the injury was

that we [workers] did something wrong. They said that we are the ones who cause all o f

the injuries.
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Interviewer: I knew that you suffered an injury here in the worksite?

Site manager: Yes, I did. I was supervising the work progress and I stuck my foot in a

hole in the floor. I was out for a week.

Interviewer: Why do you think that happened?

Site manager: Because the hole was uncovered.

[At the end of this interview the topic of work-related injuries was taken up again.]

Interviewer: Construction workers have high work-related injury rates, why do you think

that happens?

Site manager: Because they do not pay attention. They don’t care about their own safety.

You can see them in the worksite walking distracted. And I know that the safety

coordinator is always talking with them about safety but everything seems to go in one

ear and out the other.

Organizational factors

Lack o f articulation between trade and safety training

Participants spoke about how construction workers typically learn the trade

through observation. Given that there are no specific educational requirements for being

a construction worker, most workers started in the field by doing non-specialized basic

tasks as laborers or helpers. Workers identified observation as the standard learning

approach and senior workers as their mentors. They also mentioned that while they
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learned how to do the job in the field, safety procedures and practices were taught in the

class room by safety officers or external consultants. Safety training was sometimes

considered as broad and usually without connection to the tasks being performed, which

ultimately impeded its implementation once on the worksite.

Worker 1 :1 know that the winch helper had a severe injury. He suffered an

amputation o f one o f his fingers while he was working with the winch. He was not the

winch operator. He was the helper but he had seen many times how the main operator

ran the winch. One day while the main operator was having lunch, the helper started to

operate the winch. The thing is that the operator earns more so i f you learn fast you can

enhance your wage. The winch got stuck and the helper tried to unblock it and got his

hand on to the pulley and suddenly the pulley worked and trapped his fingers amputating

one. He was not authorized to operate that machine but he assumed he knew how to do it

because he had seen the operator many times.

Worker 2: You learn how to do a job looking at or working with senior workers.

Sometimes when one o f the seniors leaves the job or misses a day, the supervisor comes

to you and says “you have been working with so and so, do you want to try? ” O f course,

you want that! And you know that you have to be careful to have no injuries.

Training

Several comments reflected the importance that participants gave to proper

training. Workers valued good training. In particular, fall protection training was

deemed helpful to enhance safety in their daily tasks. However, some participants felt
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that training was often conducted only in order to demonstrate compliance with

management safety system (i.e. OHSA 18000) requirements. These workers mentioned

that sometimes, especially for the safety staff, it was very important to get a signature in

the training logs while none or little attention was given to ensuring appropriate and

effective training that they [workers] could apply when they went back to work.

Supervisor: In this construction site, every morning, they [safety coordinators] bring all

the workers together in the yard. Right now we have 160 workers, and they are put all

together. I see them from here [supervisor’s office] and some o f them are talking, and

others even cannot hear him. Do you think that actually that is useful fo r workers to

improve their safety? They can train workers in small groups o f about five in the course

o f the day. That would be more useful and it doesn't affect the work progress.

Worker: I know how to read and write but I couldn ’t take the fa ll protection training test.

I didn’t have enough time to respond to all the questions. All o f us who took the test

failed it. I was afraid to ask fo r an oral evaluation. Then we came to the construction site

and talked with the site manager. She hired a fall protection trainer and he came here to

the worksite and trained us very well but outside on the concrete slab. After that we went

to the training center and all o f us passed the test.


21 0

Site manager: I sent twelve workers to take the fall protection training. Two o f them

failed it. They did not pass the written test. They could barely read and write. I did not

want them to feel like they were wasting their time because they spent two days and they

did not pass it. So, I hired a safety instructor to help them prepare fo r the test and when

they went the next time they asked for an oral examination. They passed it and received

the certification.

Supervisor: I think that these daily talks are not very important because everybody here

is taking care o f safety, the engineer [site manager] and the contractors.

Contractors ’ safety performance measures

Participants reported that companies often did not have specific indicators to

measure contractor compliance with safety rules. Contractors’ performance measures

were mainly oriented to evaluate their performance in terms of job quality and ability to

meet deadlines rather than safety outcomes. Although participants indicated that monthly

meetings were conducted to follow up on injury records, in general, reporting high injury

rates did not represent a situation where the contractors’ continuation in the worksite

should be evaluated.

Several managers spoke about the usefulness of lean construction, a

management approach adapted from lean management to follow contractors’ work

performance. Although, by definition, lean construction has been oriented to reduce


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losses due to delays and quality issues, a component related to safety was included in

some construction sites. This safety component was included to measure housekeeping

at contractor-specific job areas. However, some participants criticized the effectiveness of

this indicator, given that important safety outcomes such as injury rates were not

considered.

Site supervisor; I have never heard about ending a contractor’s job contract because o f

[poor] safety. When a contractor doesn 't meet safety requirements and i f he is a good

contractor, we talk with him and with the safety officer to look fo r way to help him to

comply with safety. To be honest, when a contractor’s contract is cancelled it is because

he didn't reach the work progress expected.

Interviewer; Have you ever fired any contractor or subcontractor because o f his safety

performance?

Safety officer: Some o f them have gotten verbal warnings.

Interviewer: Is there any cost fo r contractors?

Safety officer: In some way, because we remove the worker that broke the safety rules;

that affects contractor’s deadlines, that is a kind offinancial fine because they have to

hire another one or pay overtime to reach the deadlines on time. But we have never had

to fire a contractor because o f safety.


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Contractors ’ hiring practices

Participants mentioned the informal hiring process that is typically conducted

by contractors in the construction industry. They stressed the common idea that nothing

more than strength was required to become a construction worker. According to

participants, every Monday several unemployed workers would wait outside of the

construction site boundaries in order to talk with contractors about being hired. No

formal hiring practices were considered by contractors. This also brings job insecurity

for current workers who could easily be replaced.

Interviewer: How do you select workers fo r your crew?

Contractor: Usually, every Monday morning you can fin d a bunch o f workers at the

construction site main door. Usually, they are workers coming from other construction

sites and they come because the job is running out there or because they had an issue

with somebody and they come here because this is a new construction site and they know

they can be hired.

When I arrive, I look at them and talk to them. After that I know who is apt to work here.

I verbally arrange the price o f the job and i f he accepts, I talk with the safety officer to

make all the paperwork to enroll him in social security [workers compensation and

health system].
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Safety responsibilities

Several comments reflected how safety responsibilities, both operative and

administrative, are mainly leaded by safety coordinators and in some cases by workers

with occasional support from site managers and site supervisors. Contractors mentioned

that they were only responsible for providing safety personnel when explicitly required

by the general contractor. They also described cases where they assigned safety

responsibilities to workers without safety knowledge or experience, and sometimes to

those whom they considered too weak to perform construction tasks. Safety coordinators

have to distribute their time between time-consuming administrative tasks such as

checking contractors’ social security payments and conducting on-site safety tasks

focused on hazard identification and control. Although site managers have direct control

over contractors, their responsibilities rarely involve researching or following

contractors’ safety performance. Even though site managers recognized their

responsibility for everything happening in the construction sites, they stated that they

were mostly focused on the construction process with limited interaction with safety

coordinators.
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Interviewer: Do you have a safety officer in your crew?

Formwork contractor: Yeah, although not exactly. Since I am the largest contractor here,

the general contractor requests that I assign one o f my workers who will be responsible

fo r checking the safety o f my other workers. So, I have one worker who works twice per

week with the GC Safety coordinator. They go together, up and down doing safety

inspections. He also has to check that the crew members are correctly anchored and

wearing harnesses.

Interviewer: How did you select this “safety officer”?

Formwork contractor: You know that we work at heights and these workers earn good

wages. I f you do safety activities, I will pay you less because you are not exposed to this

high risk. So they do n ’t want to leave their job just for going around walking with the

safety coordinator. You know that construction is not for everybody. You have to be a

hard worker. So, I looked at all o f my workers and sought the feeblest and I chose that

person.

Interviewer: Who trains him to conduct safety activities?

Formwork contractor: I don’t know. I guess it was the safety coordinator but you don't

really need to know too much to do safety checks.


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Risk perception

Participants’ comments reinforced the general perception that the construction

industry is only for strong and tough men. Respondents in all three groups, also

described cases where working conditions make it difficult to comply with safety

standards. Participants recognized the construction site as a place with multiple hazards.

Although participants identified the potential danger of fall hazards, ergonomic risk

factors such as award postures or lifting heavy loads were not necessary identified as

dangerous situations. For example, lifting more than 50 kilograms was considered a

proper load for a construction worker. In most cases, implementing practices such as

working in pairs to lift heavy loads was considered unnecessary by site managers and

field supervisors.

Worker: A form piece weighs about 25 kg; it is designed to be held by one person. That

does not work fo r two people because it is awkward and very difficult due to these limited

spaces. I f you grab a big formwork, it gets easier to manipulate it only by yourself. That

task is not fo r two people. It has always been done in that way.
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Interviewer: Why do you think workers lift or move loads without help?

Safety officer: First, we need to change site managers' minds, then supervisors ’ minds.

Because they are who push workers. It is right there where we must start the change.

You know... workers... they do everything under their capacities and even beyond their

limits. So, we need to change managers ’ minds because they have to think more about

workers.

Workers: Sometimes you are moving very heavy loads with a lot o f effort and the

engineer [site manager] passes nearby you and instead o f asking other worker to help

you, he cheers you on "go, go, you can do it. ”

Interviewer: Do workers work in pairs to move heavy materials?

Site manager : No. You know that this is the construction industry. This is for strong men.

I never put two workers to do a job that only one worker should do. I don 7 know how

much a worker should lift but I have been in the construction sector fo r 20 years and I

know from my experience that if you are not able to lift at least your own [body] weight

you are not good fo r this job.


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Safety sta ff authority and pow er

Participants in the three groups described the role of the safety staff as critical

in achieving safer construction sites. Safety coordinators were considered professionals

with enough knowledge and background to manage construction site safety. Most of the

site managers stated that in case of conflicts between safety and production, safety

aspects prevailed over production goals and even that safety coordinators had the

authority to stop tasks temporarily until safety requirements were met. Although field

supervisors recognized the authority of safety staff, they did not consider that safety

personnel had enough power to stop unsafe activities without direct authorization from

field supervisors.

Safety personnel who exhibited strong attitudes towards preserving workplace

safety, such as continuously demanding that contractors meet safety practices or those

who did not issue writing work permits until all of the requirements were met, were

defined as personnel with difficulties in understanding the complexity and priorities

demanded by the construction process and lacking in flexibility. A project manager

complained about safety personnel attitudes as adding barriers to perform tasks while not

offering potential solutions very often. Most of the participants considered that safety is

externally imposed more than an integral part of the construction process.


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Interviewer : Could you please draw this construction site organizational chart?

Site manager: Sure. [He drew it without the safety coordinator]

Interviewer: Where should the safety coordinator be in this chart?

Site manager: Ohhh, you are right. But...you know ...Ididn’t include him because...I

know that I am the manager here and sometimes he reports to me but I am not really his

supervisor. He has a supervisor in the main office who is the HSE Manager. But... here

in the worksite... Now, I guess I should be more in contact with him... You are right I

didn't include him but I should do it...

Interviewer: Could you please draw this construction site organizational chart?

Safety coordinator: [He drew it but he did not include himself on it]

Interviewer: Where should you be in this chart?

Safety coordinator: Ahh... I am in the construction site... but... I report to the HSE

manager who is not here at the worksite...I have to report to the site manager as

well... but... when you asked me to draw the construction site organizational chart, I

thought it was only fo r the construction process.


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Site manager: All o f the safety coordinators in this company have a monthly 2-hour

meeting. I know that they talk about the injuries that happened. Since the company has

the same contractors in each construction site, they talk about contractors ’ safety

performance. Not about all o f them. Only about those who had safety issues. I f he is not

in compliance with safety requirements in other worksites, the HSE manager informs me

and I talk with him.

Interviewer: Can this contractor be fired?

Site manager: No. In this company we want to have few contractors and to do that we

have to guarantee them that they will have enough work with us. Then, a contractor

works in all construction sites from this company, not only at one. Usually, the

contractor fires the worker who committed the safety issue and hires a new one. There is

not a contractor getting fired.

Interviewer: Do you share results from accident investigation?

SC: No. We do our own investigations but we don ’I share results with other safety

coordinators. Sometimes, I know what happened in other worksites because I talked with

other safety coordinators but that is not official.


2 20

Safety budget and cost-benefit relationship

Site and project managers were asked about the basis behind the budget

allocated to safety activities. Some of them expressed that there were some standards to

estimate percentage of budget needed to fulfill project safety requirements based on the

type and size of the project. They also reported that the budget was spent mainly on

personal protective equipment such as safety glasses, respirators and gloves. When

questions were raised regarding budget for reducing hazards through engineering

controls, such as guardrails, site and project managers agreed that it was not necessary to

specify a budget for that because their policy was that everything needed to improve

safety should be purchased, no matter the costs. In that case, it is possible to use the

contingency budget from the project site budget. However they did not have a clear

estimation o f the actual amount required to implement engineering controls in their

current construction sites. In turn, field supervisors reported that project budget to

procure safety items or hire safety staff was only included in the budget when it was

demanded in the contract.


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Interviewer: Do you have a budget to implement fa ll prevention barriers?

Safety officer: No, I don't have a budget but I work in collaboration with the field

supervisor. I know when and where they will remove planks. I check the area and I

know how many wood strips I will need to make a good and safe guardrail. I estimate

budget and time and I talk with the supervisor so he includes all the materials that I need

in his suppliers and he gives one or two workers fo r one day to make up and install all

the protections.

Interviewer: During my walkthrough, I saw that you install wire mesh in the internal hole

such the elevator pit but only every other story.

Safety officer: Yes, we do. I know that the legislation indicates that we must cover holes

in every story but that is expensive so we decided with the site manager that we will

install the mesh every other story. I f a worker falls, he only wouldfall one story and he

would suffer only minor injuries.

Site manager: What happens here is that when you plan the construction site activities

you do it based on the shortest time so you have to think about the fastest workers. You

have to plan based on the faster one not on the slower one. So, you always think about

the best worker you have and expect that the slower one will increase his productivity.

But certainly, I think that is the rule in any construction worksite.


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Others

Housekeeping

Participants uniformly identified proper housekeeping as an important practice

enhancing safety at the construction sites. They emphasized the importance of neatness to

prevent injuries in the construction sites. Examples of workers who suffered fall-related

fatal injuries after tripping over debris bunches were discussed during the interviews. In

most of the construction sites, housekeeping was identified as a critical element and the

primary responsibility of contractors and subcontractors, who can put pressure on

workers to keep a tidy work area. Linking contractor’s work payment to not only to the

quality of the job but also to neatness was a successful practice mentioned by field

supervisors that promoted daily clean-up. For instance, when the work area was in

disarray at the time o f accepting contractor’s job, a fine was imposed on the contractor.

The amount of this fine was used to pay an additional helper who cleaned up the work

area.

Lack o f management learning

Site managers and field supervisors reported having little to no contact

discussing safety issues with their counterparts from other construction sites owned by

the same company. For instance, accident investigation reports, even those investigating

fatalities, were rarely shared with other construction sites. Participants also stated that

when a construction site wrapped up, no “safety lessons learned” were discussed for
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existing or new sites. Most of that information was collected by the safety coordinator

but very often was lost due to the high mobility of safety coordinators.

Societal Level

Recent legislation sanctioned by the Colombian government, which stated

construction companies’ obligations to identify and control fall-related hazards at the

worksite, was considered by all participants as a positive step to improve construction

safety. Many workers expressed that since the law had been promulgated, they had

received specific training as well as proper personal fall protection equipment. They

considered this kind of law effective in protecting workers’ health and safety. Field

supervisors from contractors considered the current fall protection legislation an

economic burden for their business due mainly to construction workers’ mobility. From

the managers’ perspective, this legislation impacted project variables since costs

associated with purchasing fall protection equipment and workers training had to now be

included in the project budget. Others considered that although purchasing personal fall

arrest system (PFAS) and other fall safety equipment had a high initial cost, it was easily

amortized over the project lifetime and in fact represented a very small percentage in

relation to the construction project’s total cost.

No other issues were raised by any participant about the larger cultural or

national context of workplace safety or the construction industry.


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DISCUSSION

This study examined the perceptions of 53 Colombian construction workers,

field supervisors, and site managers about workplace safety. Using the socio-ecological

model as a framework, qualitative analysis of the interviews identified factors which may

compete with safety at numerous levels.

At the individual level, the perception that minor injuries were a normal part

of the construction job emerged during interviews but was not tacitly manifested by

workers. Site managers’ and field supervisors’ lack of safety leadership was also

discussed by workers as an obstacle to promote safety at the construction sites. Although

managers were not inclined to view their own lack of commitment with safety as a reason

for poor safety conditions, they identified the need for greater involvement in supporting

worksite safety personnel and promoting safety activities. The challenges of providing

and accepting respectful feedback from co-workers were reported by workers as barriers

to improve inter-personal social support for safety.

A significant number of factors reported by participants were clustered under

the organizational level. Although generalizability of these qualitative data can be

limited, these results are consistent with findings of other investigations which concluded

that the primary responsibility for safety laid on the organization. While several

participants in all groups valued good training as a practice to enhance workers’ safety

skills, the training approaches implemented were criticized because they did not account

for workers’ specific needs, educational levels, or production goals. Informal cost-

benefit analysis assessment was identified as a common practice which sometimes


225

hindered the implementation of safety controls. Similarly, safety coordinators were

identified as people with important safety backgrounds but without sufficient authority to

actually reinforce safety rules at the construction sites.

At the societal level, recently issued legislation stipulating fall prevention and

the inclusion o f independent workers in the workers compensation system was

highlighted as a new opportunity to make construction sites safer. It could be that

respondents thought of this law primarily because it was a recent change. Other aspects

of the national and cultural situation, even if very different from those in other countries,

might be so taken for granted that they would not be consciously noticed.

There are both strengths and limitations to the qualitative data collected in this

study., These data only represent the views of construction personnel from one specific

country and therefore may not be generalizable to countries with more developed safety

culture. Workers were randomly invited to participate; however, only one worker was

interviewed at each construction site and therefore their views may be not representative

of the full spectrum of workers’ perspectives in those sites. The scope of the questions

asked which were oriented more to individual and organizational level without force the

discussion to macro-level such as the role of the governmental institutions, the workers’

compensations companies, and the community.

Strengths of this study include that participating construction companies were

stratified by injury rate category (low / medium / high), which may achieve a sample with

a range of experiences and perspectives common to the construction industry, rather than

only those with particularly good or weak safety performance. Secondly, data were
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collected from 53 individual participants from different hierarchical groups, giving an

opportunity to capture a variety of perspectives of construction safety.

Some of the study findings are consistent with points already made by previous

investigators (Marucci-Wellman, 2008; Moore, Cigularov, Sampson, Rosecrance, &

Chen, 2013). For example, accepting a certain level of injuries is not exclusive to the

construction industry The non-injury concept can be identified in other sectors; for

instance, finger cuts and small bums might be also considered as normal injuries for

kitchen workers or in particular . In different industries, certain types of injuries may be

assumed as part of the job because they happen frequently to most of the workers and are

of low severity (Curtis Breslin, Polzerb, MacEachen, Morrongiello, & Shannona, 2007).

Reasons for these perceptions may range from cultural aspects of the construction

industry such as machismo, passing by organizational aspects such as barriers to

reporting or the lack o f diffusion of reporting procedures, until reaching individual

factors such as fear of retaliatory actions by supervisors and managers (Moore et al.,

2013; Roelofs et al., 2011).

It is important to note that if minor injuries are not reported, the underlying

causes may not be investigated and therefore remain uncontrolled. Rather than “normal,”

these recurrent minor injuries may provide evidence of systematic failures by individuals

or in a set of features at the construction site: for example, worksite layouts that do not

change to respond to the evolving work environment of the construction site, exposing

workers to additional hazards during their daily walks; lack of maintenance programs for

small tools; or failures in the housekeeping program. The implementation of controls to


227

minimize minor injuries may also avoid that these undesired events might occasionally

scaled to much more severe injuries that could have been prevented with more energetic

reporting and investigation.

Despite severe and fatal injuries being investigated systematically, similar

types of injuries repeatedly happen in every construction site. Very often, accident

investigations focus mainly on the presumed unsafe acts of the worker rather than

inquiring into potential contributing factors such existing uncontrolled hazards, failures in

safety control barriers, or gaps into the safety management (Lundberg, Rollenhagen, &

Hollnagel, 2009). The results of investigations based on such inadequate approaches may

be pre-determined to include findings that the victim was at fault or that the incident was

just an unfortunate situation that could not be helped. One way to reduce the likelihood of

similar injuries occurring at the same construction site could be to discuss “lessons

learned” from injuries that may have occurred at other sites run by the same company.

Power and authority are highly hierarchical in construction. Although the role

of the safety and health coordinator is essential on the construction site, his/her authority

to execute safety procedures is limited. In the organizational hierarchy, safety coordinator

positions have low authority and limited power. Safety and health staff are perceived as

detached from the construction process (“production”). This is the case even though

company policies state that safety managers or safety coordinators have the right to take

disciplinary actions in response to a perceived safety violation. In practice, unsafe actions

from employees, contractors or subcontractors have to be reported to the field supervisor

or to the site managers who evaluate appropriate disciplinary actions for the worker(s),
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subcontractor, or contractor. Disciplinary actions are made based on how this could

affect the project’s deadlines and budget. For instance, similar safety violations can

receive different consequences - from a verbal warning to a fine - whether it comes from

a contractor who is perceived as essential or not.

The budget is a construction site priority that constantly competes with safety

(Lopez-Alonso, Ibarrondo-Davila, Rubio-Gamez, & Garcia, 2013). Investment on

controls based solely on monetary criteria may interfere with the quality and

effectiveness o f those controls (Feng, 2013; Loosemore & Andonakis, 2007). Further,

inadequate controls mainly oriented to fulfill the administrative requirements of safety

standards may create a false sense of safety among workers and even managers, thus

increasing workers’ exposure to hazardous conditions.

The construction industry presents important challenges to provide safer

workplaces to workers. Barriers but also motivations can be identified at different

organizational level. In light of selecting safety interventions, these organizational levels

should be both targeted and involved. Qualitative data provided the opportunity for richer

exploration of the priorities and the challenges faced at the constructions. Safety

legislation enforced by the governmental offices and promoted by other key stakeholders

such as insurance companies may contribute to awareness construction companies

regarding the need of implementing effective safety measures.


229

CHAPTER V

CONCLUSIONS

The construction industry is a complex environment with several challenges to

improve its poor safety record. Because a construction site is a constantly changing

environment with multiple hazards, timely identification of safety deviations could

contribute to the implementation of effective safety interventions. Thus, the need for

indicators to measure how well safety is managed in this dangerous industry is essential.

In the last few years, safety climate has emerged as a construct associated with safe

behavior and therefore potentially useful to avoid undesirable safety outcomes. It is also

suggested that safety climate is able to differentiate between companies with good or

poor safety performance. However, some potential ambiguities in the construct and how

it is measured lead to challenges in interpretation. We proposed a new empirical model

that seeks to resolve some of these ambiguities.

Previous research has reported an association between safety climate and injury

rates. In this study, injury data from a worker’s compensation insurance company was

used to examine this association. No association between workers’ safety climate scores

and reported injuries was identified. However, there was a trend that construction sites

where workers and managers agreed on their safety climate scores presented lower injury

rates. Further research should expand the number of companies to explore this analysis.
230

Given that safety climate is designed to measure the priority given to safety over

other organizational variables, it has been mainly addressed to identify differences in

perceptions of safety between work-groups, without examining organizational causes of

the perceived place given to safety. Often safe behavior may conflict with other

organizational priorities such as production goals, ease of carrying out work tasks, time

and other costs. Impediments to work safely in the construction sector may be more

associated with upstream causes than workers’ desires.

Several studies have focused on validating scales of safety climate and designing

diagnostic tools for either general industry or a particular industry, but few have tackled

potential predictors of safety climate. It is suggested that workers form their perceptions

of safety climate on the basis of manager-worker interactions. So far, limited research

has been focused on examining the influence of the work environment in workers’

perceptions of the importance given to safety by top management.

Unlike the theoretical safety climate framework which emphasizes safety climate

as a predictor of workers’ safe behavior and injuries, this study proposed an empirical

model focused on antecedents of safety climate. This model was proposed in order to

examine potential associations of safety climate with the construction work environment

that could positively or negatively influence workers’ perceptions of safety priorities.

This study focused on assessing differences in perceptions of safety climate

across personnel in the construction industry, as well as investigating potential

associations between safety climate, safety management practices and hazards at the

construction site.
231

As expected, this study showed that construction workers, field supervisors and

managers differed in their perceptions of safety priorities, probably in part because of

their differences in roles and responsibilities across the organization. This study also

benchmarked Colombian construction workers’ scores with data on Nordic construction

workers, surveyed using the same safety climate instrument. Colombian construction

workers scored lower than their Nordic counterparts, which might be explained by

cultural and safety regulation differences.

Assessing perceptions of safety climate at several organizational levels adds new

perspectives to understand the gaps in safety performance at the construction sites. It

might also help to design specific safety interventions to fit different groups as well as to

engage construction personnel with authority to promote real and sustainable changes in

the work environment. Instead of blaming workers for injuries and addressing only

immediate causes, a broad perspective may help to disclose underlying contributory

factors that promote workers’ unsafe attitudes.

Fall hazards and manual material handling risk factors at the worksites were

assessed through walkthrough observations and analyzed using both quantitative and

qualitative approaches. The construction industry is a complex sector, which was

reflected in the challenges encountered in measuring the presence of these hazards and

their controls. The data collected for fall hazards supported the assumption that workers

at construction sites with higher levels of non-controlled hazards score lower in safety

climate. However, the findings for manual material handling were inconclusive.
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This study provided partial support for the empirical model proposed. Although

workers’ safety climate scores were independent of an overall measure of safety

management practices implemented at the construction site, an association between

observed hazards and safety climate was identified. However, since this was a cross-

sectional study, the role of observed hazards as a predictor of safety climate cannot be

confirmed. .

Observed hazards at the worksite were associated only with workers’ safety

perceptions. These findings may provide support to the safety climate literature, which

usually focuses on employees’ perceptions of safety rather than managers’ perceptions.

However, assessing and integrating top management’ perceptions into the company

safety climate profile can contribute to understanding priorities of those who state

policies and procedures, and have the authority to enforce changes in the work place.

The construction sites present multitude of hazards and better and accurate

methods for characterizing them on-site are required. This study investigated a

qualitative and a quantitatively approach independently. A hazard exposure assessment

approach using mixed methods might be a better way to reflect the reality at the

construction site. The potential causes of the independence between working conditions

and managers’ perceptions of safety climate deserve attention. Additionally, more data

needs to be collected to better understand the potential relationship between worker-

manager’ perceptions of safety climate agreement and company’s injury rate.

Further research should be done to refine the empirical model proposed in this

study and to investigate other potential associations between work environment variables
233

and perceptions of safety climate among construction workers and other construction

staff. For instance, this study found an association between the presence of non­

controlled hazards and workers’ perception of safety climate. This finding could be

added to the empirical model to examine the impact of the type of hazard controls in

workers’ perceptions of safety.


234

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APPENDIX 1

3-year injury rate calculations for sample selection


247

Potential participating companies: 87 construction companies

Injury rate (injury per 100 workers) = (Total injuries in accounting period! x 100
(Total workers in accounting period)

Injury rate 2012 = (Total injuries in 2012) X 100


(Total workers in 2012)

3-year Injury rate = (Injuries in 2010 + Injuries in 2011 + Injuries in 2012) x 100
(Workers in 2010 + Workers in 2010 + Workers in 2010)

Injury rate Colombia construction sector* 2010 : 7.7 injuries per 100 workers

Injury rate Colombia construction sector *2011 : 8.8 injuries per 100 workers

Injury rate Colombia construction sector *2012 : 9.0 injuries per 100 workers

Injury rate Colombia construction sector 2010-2011-2012 : 8.6 injuries per 100 workers

* Source: Federacion de Aseguradores Colombianos Fasecolda. www.fasecolda.com


248

om pany Group 3-year 2010- Group


3-year injury rate injury rate 2012
No. 2012 2012

1 0 .0 0 Low 0 .0 0 Low

2 1 .4 1 Low 1 .4 1 Low

3 6 7 .7 8 High 6 7 .7 8 High

4 1 9 .0 9 H igh 1 9 .0 9 H igh

5 3 0 .3 0 H igh 3 0 .3 0 High

6 0 .8 8 Low 0 .8 8 Low

7 0 .0 0 Low 0 .0 0 Low

8 2 .6 8 Low 7 .8 6 Low

9 7 6 .4 4 High 7 6 .4 4 High

10 2 2 .7 4 High 2 2 .7 4 High

11 7 .8 6 Low 7 .8 6 Low

12 2 2 .9 3 High 4 1 .2 8 High

13 1 5 .9 1 M e d iu m 1 5 .9 1 M e d iu m

14 0 .9 6 Low 0 .9 6 Low

15 1 3 .5 8 M e d iu m 1 3 .5 8 M e d iu m

16 7 .9 2 Low 1 1 .8 9 M e d iu m

17 6 .5 5 Low 8 .5 5 Low

18 1 9 .4 6 High 2 5 .7 1 High

19 2 3 .1 5 H igh 2 3 .1 5 High

20 3 .0 1 Low 5 .9 6 Low

21 0 .4 1 Low 0 .4 1 Low

22 2 4 .8 6 High 2 4 .8 6 High

23 8 .6 3 M e d iu m 8 .6 3 Low

24 2 .3 7 Low 2 .3 7 Low

25 0 .0 0 Low 0 .0 0 Low

26 0 .0 0 Low 0 .0 0 Low

27 0 .0 0 Low 0 .0 0 Low

28 0 .0 0 Low 0 .0 0 Low

29 1 2 .2 8 M e d iu m 1 2 .2 8 M e d iu m

30 0 .5 0 Low 0 .5 0 Low

31 1 .4 6 Low 2 .1 5 Low

32 2 .1 6 Low 2 .1 4 Low

33 1 .2 6 Low 0 .0 0 Low

34 4 .2 3 Low 6 .3 8 Low

35 2 .7 9 Low 3 .0 0 Low

36 2 .5 8 Low 1 .9 6 Low

37 6 .3 1 Low 1 3 .4 0 M e d iu m

38 5 .2 2 Low 4 .7 9 Low

39 6 .8 8 Low 7 .6 6 Low
249

Company Group 3-year 2010- Group


3-year injury rate Injury rate 2012
No. 2012 2012

40 6.63 Low 7.00 Low


41 7.86 Low 10.19 Medium
42 5.33 Low 2.75 Low
43 5.27 Low 2.34 Low
44 30.62 High 47.93 High
45 16.34 Medium 24.10 High
46 8.19 Low 6.47 Low
47 6.63 Low 3.13 Low
48 10.97 Medium 20.12 High
49 9.87 Medium 9.86 Medium
50 9.09 Medium 7.45 Low
51 10.23 Medium 8.95 Low
52 6.08 Low 3.89 Low
53 23.63 High 41.56 High
54 9.92 Medium 0.19 Low
55 9.49 Medium 2.23 Low
56 41.23 High 96.86 High
57 8.43 Low 1.82 Low
58 26.46 High 46.81 High
59 15.15 Medium 15.14 Medium
60 12.09 Medium 4.95 Low
61 10.63 Medium 5.81 Low
62 10.82 Medium 1.10 Low
63 56.76 High 118.47 High
64 15.27 Medium 13.28 Medium
65 10.02 Medium 0.00 Low
66 31.50 High 44.02 High
67 16.10 Medium 11.96 Medium
68 26.04 High 31.27 High
69 10.59 Medium 3.50 Low
70 24.55 High 31.98 High
71 38.36 High 68.27 High
72 24.43 High 29.15 High
73 36.97 High 49.83 High
74 18.70 High 15.47 Medium
75 8.03 Low 4.87 Low
76 28.18 High 37.15 High
77 17.10 High 12.36 Medium
250

Company _ . . ^ Group 3-year 2010- . . Group


3-year injury rate Injury rate 2012
No. 2012 1 1 2012
78 9.27 Medium 2.84 Low
79 22.31 High 13.74 Medium
80 32.08 High 32.25 High
81 47.09 High 60.36 High
82 34.24 High 24.64 High
83 23.90 High 1.97 Low
84 46.93 High 31.51 High
85 20.46 High 18.65 High
86 35.25 High 2.59 Low
87 73.49 High 26.19 High
251

Comparison 3-year injuiy rate and 2012 injury rate

120

110

100

90
No. injuries per 100 worker s in 2012

80

70

60

50

40

30 ♦♦

20

10.

CL
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

Colombian construction sector Injury rate (injuries per


100 workers)
C ut-off p o in t 2012 in jury ra te (8.5)
No. injuries per 100 workers in the period 2010 -2012
C ut-off p o in ttw ic e 2012 injury ra te (17.0)
“ “ ““ “ C ut-off p o in t 2010-2012 injury r a te (9.0)
C ut-off p o in ttw ic e 2010-2012 in jury r a te (18.0)
252

Comparison 3-year injury rate and 2012 injury rate (detailed)


♦ ♦

♦♦
No. injuries per 100 worker s in 2012

♦ ♦



♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
* ..."4

♦♦♦
♦ ♦

♦ ♦



♦ ♦ ♦
♦ ♦
♦ A ♦ ♦ ♦
♦ ♦

l --- i *...........................
O 10 20 30 40

Cobmbbn constructbn sector injury rate (injuries per


Low Medium High
100 workers)
C u t-o ff p o i n t 2 0 1 2 in ju r y r a t e (8.5)
No. injuries per 100 workers in the period 2010 -2012 C u t-o ff p o i n t tw ic e 2 0 1 2 in ju r y r a t e (1 7 .0 )
C u t-o ff p o i n t 2 0 1 0 -2 0 1 2 in ju r y r a t e (9.0)
C u t-o ff p o i n t tw ic e 2 0 1 0 -2 0 1 2 in ju r y r a t e (18.0)
253

Stratified sample selection

3-years vs. 2012 Proposed Sample Invited


No. companies % Final Sample
injury rate (n=30) companies

Low-Low 32 37% 11 8
18
Low-Medium 3 3% 1 1

Medium-High 2 2% 1 1
12
Medium-Low 11 13% 4 4

Medium-Medium 7 8% 2 2

High-High 27 31% 9 9
14
High-Low 2 2% 1 1

High-Medium 3 3% 1 1

Grand Total 87 30 44 27
254

APPENDIX 2

Potential participants’ companies’ invitation letter


255

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n»a»2 arhSc- * *n<r* de nor«<r.6>e Re 201J

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CLAUOlA fcSPEBAN /A H AlCMiND LU/S'IELLAMA«i1*


Oefeots uEH AWH&»ia Dus,»(.*•-» Siwtosi LW«» I ■.>»«•
256

APPENDIX 3

Daily log form used to randomly select potential participants


K ^ v * .,» , * W - .«, L.'*V » ' ..<■ • ■,
258

APPENDIX 4

NOSACQ-50 Safety Climate Questionnaire

English version
NOSACQ-50-
English

N o rd ic o c c u p a tio n a l s a f e ty c lim a te
q u e s tio n n a ire

The purpose of this questionnaire is to get your view on safety at this workplace. Your
answers will be processed on a computer and will be dealt with confidentially. No
individual results will be presented in any way. Although we want you to answer each and
every question, you have the right to refrain from answering any one particular question, a
group of questions, or the entire questionnaire.

I have read the above introduction to the questionnaire and agree to n y


complete the questionnaire under the stated conditions______________________

The questionnaire is developed by a Nordic working group of work environment specialists


with financial support from the Nordic Council of Ministers

Page 1/8
Examples of how to register your answers
Strongly Disagree Agree Strongly
disagree agree
Put only one X for each question
I Management encourages employees
□ □ 0 □
here to work in accordance with safety Correctly
rules - even when the work schedule is m arked

tight

ii We who work here break safety rules in


order to complete work on time ■ □ □ e r c
If you put an X in a wrong box, fill
in the whole box and put a new X
in the correct box

B a c k g ro u n d in fo r m a tio n

A Y ear o f birth? 19 |____ |____|

B A re y o u CH M ale d l F em ale

C D o you h ave a m anagerial p o sitio n , e.g . m anager, j- i r -i Y eg ^ h?


supervisor?

Page 2/8
In the following section please describe how you perceive that the managers
and supervisors at this workplace deal with safety. Although some questions may
appear very similar, please answer each one of them.

Strongly Disagree Agree Strongly


disagree agree
Put only one X for each question
1. Management encourages employees here
to work in accordance with safety rules -
□ □ □ □
even when the work schedule is tight

2. Management ensures that everyone


receives the necessary information on □ □ □ □
safety

3. Management looks the other way when


someone is careless with safety □ □ □ □

4. Management places safety before


production □ □ □ □

5. Management accepts employees here


taking risks when the work schedule is
□ □ □ □
tight

6. We who work here have confidence in the


management's ability to deal with safety □ □ □ □

7. Management ensures that safety problems


discovered during safety
rounds/evaluations are corrected □ □ □ □
immediately

8. When a risk is detected, management


ignores it without action □ □ □ □

9. Management lacks the ability to deal with


safety properly □ □ □ □

Page 3/8
Although some questions may appear very similar, please answer each one of them

S tr o n g ly D is a g re e A g re e S tro n g ly
d i s a g r e e __________________________________a g r e e
Put only one X for each question
10. Management strives to design safety
routines that are meaningful and actually
work
□ □ □ □
11. Management makes sure that everyone
can influence safety in their work
environment
□ □ □ □
12. Management encourages employees
here to participate in decisions which
affect their safety
□ □ □ □
13. Management never considers employees'
suggestions regarding safety d □ □ □
14. Management strives for everybody at the
worksite to have high competence Q
□ □ □
concerning safety and risks

15. Management never asks employees for


their opinions before making decisions
regarding safety
q
□ □ □
16. Management involves employees in
decisions regarding safety □ □ □ □
17. Management collects accurate
information in accident investigations □ □ □ □

18. Fear of sanctions (negative


consequences) from management
discourages employees here from □ □ □ □
reporting near-miss accidents

19. Management listens carefully to all who


have been involved in an accident □ □ □ □

Page 4/8
Although some questions may appear very similar, please answer each one of them

S tro n g ly D is a g r e e A g re e S tro n g ly
d is a g re e a g re e
Put only one X for each question
20. Management looks for causes, not guilty
persons, when an accident occurs □ □ □ □

21. Management always blames employees


for accidents □ □ □ □

22. Management treats employees involved


in an accident fairly □ □ □ □

In the following section please describe how you perceive that employees at this
workplace deal with safety

23. W e who work here try hard together to


achieve a high level of safety CD CD CD CD

24. W e who work here take joint


responsibility to ensure that the □ CD CD CD
workplace is always kept tidy

25. We who work here do not care about


each others' safety CD CD CD CD

26. W e who work here avoid tackling risks


that are discovered □ □ □ □

27. We who work here help each other to


work safely CD CD CD CD

28. W e who work here take no responsibility


for each others' safety CD CD LJ LD

Page 5/8
Although some questions may appear very similar, please answer each one of them

S tr o n g ly D is a g r e e A g re e S tro n g ly
d is a g re e ag ree
Put only one X for each question
29. W e who work here regard risks as
unavoidable □ □ □ □

30. W e who work here consider minor


accidents to be a normal part of our daily □ □ □ □
work

31. W e who work here accept dangerous


behaviour as long as there are no
□ □ □ □
accidents

32. W e who work here break safety rules in


order to complete work on time □ □ □ □

33. W e who work here never accept risk-


taking even if the work schedule is tight □ □ □ □

34. W e who work here consider that our work


□ □ 0 □
is unsuitable for cowards

35. W e who work here accept risk-taking at


□ □ □ □
work

36. W e who work here try to find a solution if


□ □ □ □
someone points out a safety problem

37. W e who work here feel safe when


□ □ □ □
working together

38. W e who work here have great trust in


each others' ability to ensure safety □ □ □ □

Page 6/8
Although some questions may appear very similar, please answer each one of them
S tro n g ly D is a g r e e A g re e S tro n g ly
d is a g re e ag ree
Put only one X for each question
39. W e who work here learn from our
experiences to prevent accidents □ □ □ □

40. We who work here take each others'


opinions and suggestions concerning □ □ □ □
safety seriously

41. We who work here seldom talk about


safety □ □ □ □

42. W e who work here always discuss safety


issues when such issues come up □ □ □ □

43. We who work here can talk freely and


openly about safety □ □ □ □

44. We who work here consider that a good


safety representative plays an important □ □ □ □
role in preventing accidents

45. We who work here consider that safety


rounds/evaluations have no effect on
□ □ □ □
safety

46. W e who work here consider that safety


training to be good for preventing
□ □ □ □
accidents

47. We who work here consider early planning


□ □ □ □
for safety as meaningless

48. We who work here consider that safety


□ □ □ □
rounds/evaluations help find serious
hazards

49. We who work here consider safety training


□ □ □ □
to be meaningless

50. W e who work here consider it important to


have clear-cut goals for safety □ □ □ □

Page 7/8
If you wish to elaborate on some of your answers, or if you have any comments regarding the
study, you are welcome to write themhere.

Comments:

© Thank you for filling in the questionnaire. Please ensure you have checked off
the box on the front page showing that you have given your informed consent to
participate in the study ©

P £ NATIONAL RESEARCH CENTRE GOTEBORGS U N IV ER SIT ET


a fOR THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT

In te rn a tio n a l
. innueftlrlitid R esearch
■ www.virmueitirui.is IR I S In stitu te o f S ta v a n g e r

T y o te rv e y s la ito s Nordic Council of Ministers

w w w .n r c w e .d k /N O S A C Q

Page 8/8
APPENDIX 5

NOSACQ-50 Safety Climate Questionnaire

Spanish version
NOSACQ-50-
Spanish

C u e s tio n a r io N o rd ic o s o b r e s e g u r id a d e n el
tra b a jo

El proposito de este cuestionario es conocer su impresion acerca de la seguridad en este


lugar de trabajo. Sus respuestas seran procesadas por un ordenador y se trataran con
privacidad. No se presentar£n resultados individuales de ninguna manera. Aunque
queremos que conteste todas y cada una de las preguntas, tiene el derecho de no
contestar a alguna pregunta, grupo de preguntas o el cuestionario entero.

He leido la introduccidn al cuestionario y me comprometo a completarlo [—j g .


bajo las condiciones descritas________ _______________________________ ______

El cuestionario ha sido desarrollado por un grupo de trabajo nordico de especialistas en el


entorno de trabajo con el apoyo economico del Consejo de Ministros Ndrdico

Pagina 1/8
Ejemplos de como marcar sus respuestas
Muyen En De Muyde
desacuerdo desacuerdo acuerdo acuerdo
Ponga s6lo una X para cada pregunta
I La direcci6n anima a los empleados a
□ □ 0 □ M arcado
trabajar de acuerdo con las reglas de
correcta-
seguridad- incluso cuando los tiempos m ente
de trabajo son ajustados

ii Quienes trabajamos aqui infringimos las


B 0 CD 0 M arca
reglas de seguridad para poder terminar corregida
el trabajo a tiempo
Si pone una X en el cuadro
equivocado, rellene todo el
cuadro y ponga una nueva X en
el cuadro correcto

I n fo r m a c io n g e n e r a l

A Z,Ano de 19
nacimiento?

B Usted es 0 Hombre 0 Mujer

C /.Tiene un puesto directivo, por ejemplo, gerente, 0 n o 0 Si Cual?


supervisor? '6

Pagina 2/8
En la siguiente seccion, por favor, describa como percibe que los gerentes y
su p e rv iso rs en este lugar de trabajo manejan la seguridad. Aunque algunas
preguntas puedan parecer muy parecidas, por favor, contestelas todas.

M uy e n En De M uy d e
d e sa cu e rd o d e sa cu e rd o acu e rd o acu e rd o
Ponga solo una X para cada pregunta
1. La direccion anima a los empleados a
trabajar de acuerdo con las reglas de
seguridad- incluso cuando los tiempos de L3 □ □ □
trabajo son ajustados

2. La direccion se asegura de que todos


reciban la informacion necesaria sobre LJ LJ D D
seguridad

3. La direccidn hace la vista gorda cuando


alguien es poco cuidadoso con la □ □ □ □
seguridad

4. La direccion valora la seguridad mcis que


la produccidn U □ □ □

5. La direccion acepta que los empleados


aqui s e arriesgen cuando los tiempos de Q LJ LJ LJ
trabajo son ajustados

6. Quienes trabajamos aqui tenemos


confianza en la capacidad de la direccidn LJ □ D D
para manejar la seguridad

7. La direccidn se asegura de que todos los


problem asde seguridad que sedetectan
durante las inspecciones son corregidos l_l l_l L_l l_l
inmediatamente

8. Cuando se detecta un riesgo, la direccion


lo ignora y no hace nada U U U □

9. La direccion no tiene la capacidad de


manejar la seguridad adecuadamente LJ LJ O □

Pagina 3/8
Aunque algunas preguntas puedan parecer muy parecidas, por favor, contestelas
todas

M uy e n En De M uy d e
d e sa c u e rd o d e sa cu e rd o a cu e rd o a c u e rd o
Ponga s6lo una X para cada pregunta
10. La direccion se esfuerza para disefiar
rutinas de seguridad que son
significativas y que realmente funcionan
□ □ □ □
11. La direccion se asegura de que todos y
cada uno puedan influir en la seguridad
en su trabajo
□ □ □ □
12. La direccidn anima a los empleados aqui
a participar en las decisiones que afectan
su seguridad
□ □ □ □
13. La direccidn nunca tiene en cuenta las
sugerencias de los empleados sobre la
seguridad
□ □ □ □
14. La direccion se esfuerza para que todo el
mundo en el lugar de trabajo tenga un
alto nivel de competencia respeto a la □ □ □ □
seguridad y los riesgos

15. La direccidn nunca pide a los empleados


sus opiniones antes de tomar decisiones
sobre la seguridad
□ □ □ □
16. La direccion involucra a los empleados en
las decisiones sobre la seguridad □ □ □ □
17. La direccion recoge informacion precisa
en las investigaciones sobre accidentes □ □ □ □
18. El miedo a las sanciones (consecuencias
negativas) de la direccion desanima a los
empleados aqui de informar sobre
hechos que casi han provocado
□ □ □ □
accidentes

19. La direccion escucha atentamente a


todos los que han estado involucrados en
un accidente
□ □ □ □

Pagina 4/8
Aunque algunas preguntas puedan parecer muy parecidas, por favor, contestelas todas

M uy e n En De M uy d e
d e sa cu e rd o d e sa cu e rd o a c u e rd o a c u e rd o
Ponga s6lo una X para cada pregunta
20. La direccidn busca las causas, no a las
personas culpables, cuando ocurre un
accidente
□ □ □ □
21. La direccion siempre culpa de los
accidentes a los empleados □ □ □ □
22. La direccion trata a los empleados
involucrados en un accidente de manera
justa
□ □ □ □

En la siguiente seccion, por favor, describa como percibe que los empleados en
este lugar de trabajo manejan la seguridad

23. Quienes trabajamos aqui nos


esforzamos conjuntamente en alcanzar
un alto nivel de seguridad
□ □ □ □
24. Quienes trabajamos aqui aceptamos
conjuntamente la responsibilidad de
asegurar que nuestro lugar de trabajo □ □ □ □
siempre este ordenado

25. A quienes trabajamos aqui no nos


importa la seguridad de los demas □ □ □ □
26. Quienes trabajamos aqui evitamos
combatir los riesgos detectados □ □ □ □
27. Quienes trabajamos aqui nos ayudamos
mutuamente a trabajar seguros □ □ □ □
28. Quienes trabajamos aqui no aceptamos
ninguna responsabilidad por la
seguridad de los demas
□ □ □ □

Pagina 5/8
Aunque algunas preguntas puedan parecer muy parecidas, por favor, contestelas todas

M uy e n En De M uy d e
d e sa cu e rd o d e sa cu e rd o a cu e rd o a c u e rd o
Ponga s6lo una X para cada pregunta
29. Quienes trabajamos aqui vemos los
riesgos como algo inevitable □ □ □ □
30. Quienes trabajamos aqui consideramos
los accidentes menores como una parte
normal de nuestro trabajo diario
□ □ □ □
31. Quienes trabajamos aqui aceptamos los
comportamientos de riesgo mientras no
hayan accidentes
□ □ □ □
32. Quienes trabajamos aqui infringimos las
reglas de seguridad para poder terminar
el trabajo a tiempo
□ □ □ □
33. Quienes trabajamos aqui nunca
aceptamos correr riesgos incluso cuando
los tiempos de trabajo son ajustados
□ □ □ □
34. Quienes trabajamos aqui consideramos
que nuestro trabajo no es adecuado para
□ □ □ □
los cobardes

35. Quienes trabajamos aqui aceptamos


correr riesgos en el trabajo
□ □ □ □

36. Quienes trabajamos aqui intentamos


encontrar una solucidn si alguten nos
□ □ □ □
indica un problema en la seguridad

37. Quienes trabajamos aqui nos sentimos


seguros cuando trabajamos juntos
□ □ □ □
38. Quienes trabajamos aqui tenemos mucha
confianza en nuestra mutua capacidad de
garantizar la seguridad
□ □ □ □

Pagina 6/8
Aunque algunas preguntas puedan parecer muy parecidas, por favor, contestelas todas
Muy en En De Muy de
desacuerdo desacuerdo acuerdo acuerdo
Ponga sdlo una X para cada pregunta
39. Quienes trabajamos aqui aprendemos de
nuestras experiencias para prevenir los □ □ □ □
accidentes

40. Quienes trabajamos aqui tomamos muy


en serio las opiniones y sugerencias de □ □
□ □
los demas sobre la seguridad

41. Quienes trabajamos aqui raramente


hablamos sobre la seguridad □ □ □ □

42. Quienes trabajamos aqui siempre


hablamos de temas de seguridad cuando □ □ □ □
estos surgen

43. Quienes trabajamos aqui podemos hablar


iibre y abiertamente sobre la seguridad □ □ □ □

44. Quienes trabajamos aqui consideramos


que un buen representante de seguridad
juega un papel importante en la □ □ □ □
prevention de accidentes

45. Quienes trabajamos aqui consideramos


□ □ □ □
que las revisiones de seguridad no
influyen en la seguridad en absoluto

46. Quienes trabajamos aqui consideramos


que la formacidn en seguridad es buena
□ □ □ □
para prevenir accidentes

47. Quienes trabajamos aqui consideramos


que la planificacion temprana de la
□ □ □ □
seguridad no tiene sentido

48. Quienes trabajamos aqui considermos


que las revisiones de seguridad ayudan a
□ □ □ □
detectar serios riesgos

49. Quienes trabajamos aqui consideramos


que la form ation en seguridad no tiene
□ □ □ □
sentido

50. Quienes trabajamos aqui consideramos


que es importante que haya objetivos de
seguridad claros
□ □ □ □

Pagina 7/8
Si desea ampliar alguna de sus respuestas, o tiene algun comentario sobre el estudio, puede
escribirlo aqui.

Comentarios:

© Gracias por rellenar el cuestionario. Por favor, asegurese de que ha marcado


el cuadro en la portada indicando que da su consentamiento informado para
participar en el estudio ©

NATIONAL RESEARCH CENTRE GOTEBORGS U N IV E R SIT E T


ro fi the w o r k in g e n v ir o n m e n t

In te rn a tio n a l

If innueftirlitid
www.vinnueftirtit.is IRIS R esearch
I n stitu te o f S ta v a n g e r

Tyoterveyslaitos Consejo de Ministros Nordico

www.nrcwe.dk/NOSACQ

Pagina 8/8
276

APPENDIX 6

NOSACQ-50 Questionnaire Spanish version adapted

for the Colombian construction sector


277

Nordic Occupational Safety Climate Questionnaire NOSACQ-50

lnformacion general

1. Ano de nacimiento ________

2. Cual es su genero? _________ Hombre _______ Mujer

3. Cual es su cargo?

Director de obra

______ Contratista

______ Supervisor

______ Trabajador

______ Otro Cuaal?_____________________________

4. Que tipo de trabajo realiza?

5. Cuantos anos ha trabajado en construccion?

6. Cuantos anos ha trabajo con esta compania?

7. Cuantos meses ha trabajado en esta obra?

8. Cual era su oficio antes de trabajar en construccion?

9. Ha sufrido accidentes de trabajo en esta obra?

10. Que tipo de accidente sufrio?

11. Ha sufrido accidentes de trabajo en obras anteriores?

12. Que tipo de accidente sufrio?

13. Es miembro de un comite de seguridad, brigada de emergencias u otro grupo?

14. Cual es su ultimo grado de education?


278

En las siguientes secciones describa como usted percibe que los responsables de esta obra
consideran la seguridad. Aunque algunas preguntas parecen similares, por favor responda
cada una de ellas.

Muy en De Muy de
Item Desacuerdo
desacuerdo acuerdo acuerdo
1. L os responsables de la obra animan a los
trabajadores a trabajar de acuerdo con las
norm as de seguridad - in clu so cuando los
tiem pos de trabajo son cortos
2. L os responsables de la obra se aseguran que
todos (trabajadores,
contratistas/subcontratistas) reciban la
inform acion de seguridad necesaria
3. L os responsables de la obra se hacen los de
la vista gorda cuando alguien es poco
cuidadoso con la seguridad
4. L os responsables de la obra valoran la
seguridad m as que el avance de la obra?
5. L os responsables de la obra aceptan que los
trabajadores de esta obra se arriesguen cuando
los tiem pos de trabajo son cortos
6. Q uienes trabajamos en esta obra confiam os
en la capacidad de la d ireccion para manejar la
seguridad
7. L os responsables de la obra se aseguran que
todos los problem as de seguridad que se
detectan durante las in sp eccion es sean
corregidos inm ediatam ente
8. Cuando se detecta un riesgo, los
responsables de la obra lo ignoran y no hacen
nada
9. L os responsables de la obra no tienen el
con ocim ien to para manejar la seguridad
adecuadam ente
10. L os responsable de la obra se esfuerzan por
disenar practicas de seguridad que sean
importantes y realm ente funcionen
11. L os responsables de la obra se aseguran que
todos y cada uno de los trabajadores puedan
influir en la seguridad en su lugar de trabajo
12. L os responsables de la obra anim a a los
trabajadores de esta obra a participar en las
279

M u y en De M uy de
Item D esa c u e rd o
d esa c u e rd o a cu er d o a cu erd o
d ecision es que afectan su seguridad
13. L os responsables de la obra nunca tiene en
cuenta las sugerencias de los trabajadores sobre
la seguridad
14. L os responsable de la obra se esfuerzan
para que todos en el lugar de trabajo tenga un
alto nivel de con ocim ien to sobre la seguridad y
los riesgos
15. L os responsables de la obra nunca piden a
los trabajadores sus op iniones antes de tomar
d ecision es sobre la seguridad
16. L os responsables de la obra consultan a los
em pleados en las d ecisio n es sobre la seguridad
17. L os responsables de la obra recogen
inform acion com p leta y detallada en las
in vestigaciones de accidentes
18. L os trabajadores de esta obra sienten tem or
a ser seflalados negativam ente por informar
sobre las situ acion es que casi han provocado
accidentes
19. L os responsables de la obra escuchan
atentam ente a tod os los que han sido afectados
en un accidente
20. Cuando ocurre un accidente, los
responsables de la obra buscan las causas del
accidente, no a las personas culpables
21. L os responsables de la obra siem pre culpan
a los trabajadores de los accidentes
22. Los responsables de la obra tratan a los
em pleados afectador en un accidente de manera
justa
En la siguiente secci6n por favordescribai^om^ftfstod'percibe que los traba adores de esta obra
tratan cori;Ia seguridafl. <t v t "r : J j --

23. Q uienes trabajamos en esta obra nos


esforzam os en alcanzar un alto nivel de
seguridad
24. Q uienes trabajamos en esta obra som os
responsables de m antener el orden y el aseo en
nuestro lugar de trabajo
25. A quienes trabajamos en esta obra N O nos
importa la seguridad de los dem as
280

M u y en De M uy de
Item D esa c u e rd o
d esa c u e rd o a cu er d o acu erd o
26. Q u ien es trabajamos evitam os enfrentam os
a los riesgos detectados
27. Q u ien es trabajamos en esta obra nos
ayudam os m utuam ente a trabajar seguros
28. Q u ien es trabajamos en esta obra no
aceptam os ninguna responsabilidad por la
seguridad de los dem as
29. Q u ien es trabajamos en esta obra v em o s los
riesgos com o algo inevitable
30. Q u ien es trabajamos aqui consideram os los
accidentes lev es com o una parte normal de
nuestro trabajo diario
31. Q u ien es trabajamos en esta obra aceptam os
los com portam ientos inseguros siem pre y
cuando estos no generen accidentes
32. Q u ien es trabajamos en esta obra
incum plim os las norm as de seguridad para
poder terminar el trabajo a tiem po
33. Q u ien es trabajamos aqui nunca correm os
riesgos in clu so cuando los tiem pos para hacer
el trabajo son cortos
34. Q u ien es trabajamos en esta obra
consideram os que nuestro trabajo no es
adecuado para los m ied osos (cobardes)
35. Q u ien es trabajamos en esta obra aceptam os
correr riesgos en el trabajo
36. Q u ien es trabajamos en esta obra intentam os
encontrar una solu cion si alguien n os indica un
problem a en la seguridad
37. Q u ien es trabajamos en esta obra nos
sentim os seguros cuando trabajamos juntos
38. Q u ien es trabajamos en esta obra confiam os
en nuestra capacidad m utua de garantizar la
seguridad
39. Q u ien es trabajamos en esta obra
aprendem os de nuestras experiencias para
prevenir los accidentes
40. Q u ien es trabajamos aqui tom am os m uy en
serio las op iniones y sugerencias de los dem as
sobre la seguridad
41. Q u ien es trabajamos en esta obra casi nunca
hablam os sobre la seguridad
281

M u y en De M u y de
Item D esa c u e rd o
d esa c u e rd o a cu er d o acu erd o
42. Q uienes trabajamos en esta obra siem pre
hablam os de tem as de seguridad cuando estos
problem as surgen
43. Q uienes trabajamos en esta obra podem os
hablar libre y abiertam ente sobre la seguridad
44. Q uienes trabajamos aqui consideram os que
un buen SISO (representante de seguridad)
ju ega un papel im portante en la prevencion de
accidentes
45. Q uienes trabajamos aqui consideram os que
las in sp eccion es de seguridad no influyen para
nada en la seguridad
46. Q uienes trabajam os en esta obra
consideram os que la capacitacion en seguridad
es buena para prevenir accidentes
47. Q uienes trabajamos en esta obra
consideram os que la planeacion tem prana de la
seguridad no tiene sentido
48. Q uienes trabajamos en esta obra
consideram os que las in speccion es de
seguridad ayudan a detectar riesgos importantes
49. Q uienes trabajamos aqui consideram os que
la capacitacion en seguridad no tiene sentido
50. Q u ien es trabajamos aqui consideram os que
es importante que haya objetivos de seguridad
claros
282

APPENDIX 7

Safety Management Practices (SMPs)

Assessment Tool
f

Safety Management Practices (SMPs) Assessment Tool


(Construction site level)
For Safety Managers or Coordinators

1. General information Company/Project code


a. Nature of the project:
Vertical: Commercial Residential
Horizontal: Highways Tunnels
Other
b. Brief project description

c. Current project stage

d. ________________________________________________
_________ Project start date
/ /
e. Project expected end date / /

f. No. O f workers on the worksite__________ ____________


No. company workers ____________
No. contractors ____________
No. Contractor’s workers

g. Estimated project
budget_________
284

I. Practices focused on determining the project site hazard profile

a. Hazard identification

Yes No

The company has developed a standard hazard profile(“risk


1.1
matrix”, other) which is used at each construction site
A new hazard identification report is generated for each worksite
1.2
previous to start of the project
Each construction site must adapt its own hazard profile according
1.3
to the company’s standard hazard profile

1.4 Hazard profile is updated along each construction stage

b. Hazard assessment

Yes No

Impact on health and safety is assessed based on the Guide to Risk


2.1 Management NTC 5254 [1] or other methodology (frequency and
duration of exposure, and potential severity of injury/illness)
Likelihood of the occurrence of a hazardous event is determined
2.2
(risk matrix, etc.)

2.3 Priorities are established based on the level of risk

2.4 Priorities are established based only on regulations

Priorities are established based on potential for system


2.5
improvement
The company (project management committee) determines if the
2.6
level of risk is acceptable or unacceptable

2.7 Specific task/activities involving fall hazards are identified

2.8 Specific task/activities involving MSD hazards are identified


285

c. Hazard prioritization

Yes No

Priority hazards are listed and documented objectives and


3.1
implementation plans

3.2 Fall hazards are listed according to priorities

3.3 MSD hazards are listed according to priorities

Fall prevention written program includes specific objectives and


3.4
implementation plans
Fall prevention written program includes specific fall hazards
3.5
(work over 6 feet, scaffolds, ladders) at the construction site
MSD prevention program includes specific objectives and
3.6
implementation plans
MSD prevention program includes specific hazards (lifting,
3.7
carrying, MMH) at the construction site

d. Contractors participation

Yes No

Contractors/subcontractors participate in safety inspection to


4.1
identify latent and potential fall hazards and MSD hazards
Contractors/subcontractors establish safety priorities according to
4.2
hazards identified
Contractors/subcontractors adopt company’s safety priorities and
4.3
establish safety plans
286

e. Hazard control

Fall hazards

Protective barriers such as guardrails or handrails are placed around


5.1
openings or edges to prevent a fall to a lower level
Toe boards are installed around the edges of a permanent floor
5.2
opening
Fall restraint systems are installed to prevent workers from working
5.3
or walking too close to an opening or roof edge
Fall arrest systems (including lifeline, a lanyard, a harness, and an
5.4
anchor point) are provided to protect workers from falls
Requirements for provisional or permanent anchor points are
5.5
defined and verified in the field by a competent person
Work procedures such as control zones are used to minimize risk of
5.6
falling

Manual material handling

Mechanical aids are available at the worksite to reduce the need for
5.7
manual lifting or use of manual force
Layouts are defined to minimize distances workers must travel to
5.8
carry materials or tools
Maximum weights for lifting, carrying or loading are established
5.9.
based on regulations or on the company’s safety standards
Workers work in groups to help with handling, lifting or carrying
5.10.
heavy loads
287

II. Practices focused on management involvement

a. Safety planning

Yes No

Hazardous operations or tasks to be performed are previously


1.1
identified and analyzed during regular (weekly) project meetings

Safety controls required for hazardous operations or tasks are


1.2 previously identified and discussed during the regular (weekly)
project meetings
Tasks/activities involving fall hazards are formally analyzed in
1.3
advance by supervisors or managers to identify required controls
Tasks/activities involving heavy lifting or manual material handling
1.4 are formally analyzed in advance by supervisors or managers to
identify in advance required controls

b. Safety responsibilities

Yes No

Responsibilities for carrying out the safety and health program have
2.1 been assigned to all levels at the worksite (site managers,
supervisors, safety coordinators and workers)?
Supervisors' safety responsibilities are defined by project
2.2
management
Contractor/subcontractor's safety responsibilities are defined by the
2.3
company or project management

Worker’s safety responsibilities are defined by the contractor or the


2.4
company

Safety officer's safety responsibilities are defined by the company


2.5
or the site manager
288

c. Safety committee

Yes No

The company has a safety committee and some representatives of


3.1
the current project site participate in it

3.2 The current project site has its own safety committee

Contractor and subcontractor representatives participate in monthly


3.3
safety committee meetings

Contractors or subcontractors conduct their own safety committee


3.4
meeting and representatives of the company participate in it

3.5 The safety committee meets at least once a month

d. Management participation

Yes No

4.1 Site management participates in monthly safety committees

Site management participates in accident investigation (severe


4.2
injuries or fatalities)

During weekly project meetings, site management discusses safety


4.3
concerns regarding upcoming tasks

4.4 Safety officers participate in weekly project meetings

4.5 Safety concerns are discussed during the weekly project meetings

4.6 Site management conducts regular safety walkthroughs

Site management conducts/participates in safety meetings with


4.7
contractors, subcontractors and/or workers
289

e. Measuring sa fety performance

Yes No

Project management establishes safety indicators to measure safety


5.1
performance of contractor/subcontractor

Project safety performance is reported and analyzed during the


5.2
weekly project meetings

Contractor/subcontractor injury records are regularly analyzed at


5.3
least once a month during the project meetings

Contractor’s safety performance is taken into account to assign a


5.4
new contract
290

III. Practices focused on improving safety system

o. Goal setting

Yes No

Specific goal-setting plan has been established for priority fall


1.1
hazards according to project progress

1.2 Goals established are measurable

Goal-setting plan involves regular feedback so workers and


1.3 supervisors know about progress towards the fall prevention
goals set
The goal-setting plan is discussed in weekly project progress
1.4 meetings to measure progress, barriers and make decisions to meet
goals
Specific goal-setting plan has been established for priority MSD
1.5
hazards according to project progress

1.6 Safety goals established are measurable

Goal-setting plan involves regular feedback so workers and


1.7 supervisors know about progress towards the MSD prevention goals
set
The goal-setting plan is discussed in weekly project progress
1.8 meetings to measure progress, barriers and make decisions to meet
goals
291

b. Safety inspections

Yes No

Periodic safety inspections are scheduled and carried out by site


2.1
managers and supervisors

Periodic safety inspections are scheduled and carried out by the


2.2
safety committee

Safety inspection approach used allows to identity unsafe conditions


2.3
and practices

c. Accident report and investigation

2.4 There is an incident report and investigation procedure

Methodology used for accident investigation allows to identity root


2.5
causes

2.6 Reported fall-related accidents are systematically investigated

2.7 Reported MSD injuries are systematically investigated

Site management follows up the implementation of


2.8
recommendations based on accident investigation

Root causes derived from accident investigation are incorporated in


2.9
safety plans

IV. Practices focused on improving people skills

a. Worker participation
292

Yes No

1.1 Workers participate in identifying tasks/activities involving fall


hazards?

1.2 Workers participate in identifying tasks/activities involving MSD


hazards?

1.3 Site management promotes workers' participation in suggesting how


to prevent falls

1.4 Site management promotes workers' participation in suggesting how


to reduce lifting, carrying, and manual materials handling

b. Training

Y es No

F all p rotection training n eed s are evalu ated b y th e sa fety s ta ff and


2.1
site m a n a g em en t

2.2 F all p rotection training is adapted to th e w o rk site s p e c ific task s

Fall protection training is provided to all workers when they are first
2.3
hired according to their job assignments

MSD training needs are evaluated by the safety staff and site
2.4
management

2.5 MSD training is adapted to worksite specific tasks

MSD prevention training is provided to all workers when they are


2.6
first hired

2.7 Site management attends fall prevention training

2.8 Site management attends MSD prevention training


293

APPENDIX 8

SMPS percentage of implementation in 25 construction companies in Colombia.


294

1. Practices focused on determ ining th e project site hazard profile

a. Hazard identification

Yes No

The company has developed a standard hazard profile(“risk


1.1 15 60% 10 40%
matrix”, other) which is used at each construction site

A new hazard identification report is generated for each


1.2 9 36% 16 64%
worksite previous to start o f the project

Each construction site must adapt its own hazard profile


1.3 9 36% 16 64%
according to the com pany’s standard hazard profile

1.4 Hazard profile is updated along each construction stage 3 12% 22 88%

b. Hazard assessment

Yes No

Impact on health and safety is assessed based on the Guide to


Risk Management NTC 5254 [1] or other methodology
2.1 16 64% 9 36%
(frequency and duration o f exposure, and potential severity o f
injury/illness)

Likelihood o f the occurrence o f a hazardous event is determined


2.2 14 56% 11 44%
(risk matrix, etc.)

2.3 Priorities are established based on the level o f risk 13 52% 12 48%

2.4 Priorities are established based only on regulations 25 100% 0 0%

Priorities are established based on potential for system


2.5 0 0 25 100%
improvement

The company (project management committee) determines if


2.6 4 16% 21 84%
the level o f risk is acceptable or unacceptable

2.7 Specific task/activities involving fall hazards are identified 22 88% 3 12%

2.8 Specific task/activities involving MSD hazards are identified 5 20% 20 80%
295

c. Hazard prioritization

Yes No

Priority hazards are listed and documented objectives and


3.1 10 40% 15 60%
implementation plans

3.2 Fall hazards are listed according to priorities 10 40% 15 60%

3.3 M SD hazards are listed according to priorities 1 4% 24 96%

Fall prevention written program includes specific objectives and


3.4 13 52% 12 52%
implementation plans

Fall prevention written program includes specific fall hazards


3.5 5 5% 20 80%
(work over 6 feet, scaffolds, ladders) at the construction site

M SD prevention program includes specific objectives and


3.6 0 0% 25 100%
implementation plans

M SD prevention program includes specific hazards (lifting,


3.7 0 0% 25 100%
carrying, MMH) at the construction site

d. Contractors participation

Yes No

Contractors/subcontractors participate in safety inspection to


4.1 10 40% 15 60%
identify latent and potential fall hazards and M SD hazards

Contractors/subcontractors establish safety priorities according


4.2 7 28% 18 72%
to hazards identified

Contractors/subcontractors adopt company’s safety priorities


4.3 7 28% 18 72%
and establish safety plans
296

e. Hazard control

Yes No

Fall hazards

Protective barriers such as guardrails or handrails are placed


5.1 16 64% 9 36%
around openings or edges to prevent a fall to a lower level

Toe boards are installed around the edges o f a permanent floor


5.2 7 28% 18 72%
opening

Fall restraint system s are installed to prevent workers from


5.3 10 40% 15 60%
working or walking too close to an opening or roof edge

Fall arrest system s (including lifeline, a lanyard, a harness,


5.4 25 40% 0 0%
and an anchor point) are provided to protect workers from falls

Requirements for provisional or permanent anchor points are


5.5 18 72% 7 28%
defined and verified in the field by a competent person

Work procedures such as control zones are used to m inimize


5.6 8 32% 17 68%
risk o f falling

Manual material handling

Mechanical aids are available at the worksite to reduce the


5.7 20 80% 5 20%
need for manual lifting or use o f manual force

Layouts are defined to m inimize distances workers must travel


5.8 0 0% 25 100%
to carry materials or tools

Maximum w eights for lifting, carrying or loading are


5.9. established based on regulations or on the company’s safety 1 4% 24 96%
standards

Workers work in groups to help with handling, lifting or


5.10. 22 88% 3 12%
carrying heavy loads
II. Practices focused on management involvement

o. Safety planning

Yes No

Hazardous operations or tasks to be performed are previously


1.1 identified and analyzed during the regular (weekly) project 12 48% 13 53%
meetings

Safety controls required for hazardous operations or tasks are


1.2 previously identified and discussed during the regular (weekly) 16 64% 36%
project m eetings

Tasks/activities involving fall hazards are formally analyzed in


1.3 advance by supervisors or managers to identify required 11 44% 14 56%
controls

Tasks/activities involving heavy lifting or manual material


1.4 handling are formally analyzed in advance by supervisors or 24% 19 76%
managers to identify in advance required controls

b. Safety responsibilities

Yes No

Responsibilities for carrying out the safety and health program


2.1 have been assigned to all levels at the worksite (site managers, 15 60% 10 40%
supervisors, safety coordinators and workers)?

Supervisors' safety responsibilities are defined by project


2.2 18 72% 7 28%
management

Contractor/subcontractor's safety responsibilities are defined by


2.3 18 72% 7 28%
the company or project management

Worker’s safety responsibilities are defined by the contractor or


2.4 22 88% 3 12%
the company

Safety officer's safety responsibilities are defined by the


2.5 22 88% 3 12%
company or the site manager
298

c. Safety committee

Yes No

The company has a safety committee and some representatives


3.1 25 100% 0 0%
o f the current project site participate in it

3.2 The current project site has its own safety committee 12 48% 13 52%

Contractor and subcontractor representatives participate in


3.3 17 68% 8 32%
monthly safety committee meetings

Contractors or subcontractors conduct their own safety


3.4 committee m eeting and representatives o f the company 3 12% 22 88%
participate in it

3.5 The safety committee m eets at least once a month 24 96% 1 4%

d. Management participation

Yes No

4.1 Site management participates in monthly safety committees 19 76% 6 24%

Site management participates in accident investigation (severe


4.2 11 44% 14 56%
injuries or fatalities)

During w eekly project meetings, site management discusses


4.3 13 52% 12 48%
safety concerns regarding upcoming tasks

4.4 Safety officers participate in w eekly project meetings 10 40% 15 60%

Safety concerns are discussed during the w eekly project


4.5 16 64% 9 36%
meetings

4.6 Site management conducts regular safety walkthroughs 6 24% 19 76%

Site management conducts/participates in safety meetings with


4.7 9 36% 16 64%
contractors, subcontractors and/or workers
299

e. Measuring safety performance

Yes No

Project management establishes safety indicators to measure


5.1 13 52% 12 48%
safety performance o f contractor/subcontractor

Project safety performance is reported and analyzed during the


5.2 20 80% 5 20%
w eekly project meetings

Contractor/subcontractor injury records are regularly analyzed


5.3 19 76% 6 24%
at least once a month during the project meetings

Contractor’s safety performance is taken into account to


5.4 4 16% 21 84%
assign a new contract

III. Practices focu sed on im proving safety system

a. Goal setting

Yes No

Specific goal-setting plan has been established for priority fall


1.1 5 20% 20 80%
hazards according to project progress

1.2 Goals established are measurable 3 12% 22 88%

Goal-setting plan involves regular feedback so workers and


1.3 supervisors know about progress towards the fall prevention 3 12% 22 88%
goals set
The goal-setting plan is discussed in w eekly project progress
1.4 m eetings to measure progress, barriers and make decisions to 1 4% 24 96%
m eet goals

Specific goal-setting plan has been established for priority


1.5 0 0% 25 100%
M SD hazards according to project progress

1.6 Safety goals established are measurable 0 0% 25 100%

Goal-setting plan involves regular feedback so workers and


1.7 supervisors know about progress towards the MSD 0 0% 25 100%
prevention goals set
The goal-setting plan is discussed in w eekly project progress
1.8 meetings to measure progress, barriers and make decisions to 0 0% 25 100%
meet goals
300

b. Safety inspections

Yes No

Periodic safety inspections are scheduled and carried out by


2.1 16 64% 9 36%
site managers and supervisors

Periodic safety inspections are scheduled and carried out by the


2.2 21 84% 4 16%
safety committee

Safety inspection approach used allows to identify unsafe


2.3 24 96% 1 4%
conditions and practices

c. Accident report and investigation

2.4 There is an incident report and investigation procedure 17 68% 8 32%

M ethodology used for accident investigation allows to


2.5 12 48% 13 52%
identify root causes

2.6 Reported fall-related accidents are systematically investigated 18 72% 7 28%

2.7 Reported M SD injuries are systematically investigated 2 8% 23 92%

Site management follow s up the implementation o f


2.8 10 40% 15 60%
recommendations based on accident investigation

Root causes derived from accident investigation are


2.9 5 20% 20 80%
incorporated in safety plans
301

IV. Practices focu sed on improving p eop le skills

a. Worker participation

Yes No

Workers participate in identifying tasks/activities involving


1.1 7 28% 18 72%
fall hazards?

Workers participate in identifying tasks/activities involving


1.2 2 8% 23 92%
M SD hazards?

Site management promotes workers' participation in


1.3 10 40% 15 60%
suggesting how to prevent falls

Site management promotes workers' participation in


1.4 suggesting how to reduce lifting, carrying, and manual 4 16% 21 84%
materials handling

fa. Training

Yes No

Fall protection training needs are evaluated by the safety staff


2.1 12 48% 13 52%
and site management

Fall protection training is adapted to the worksite specific


2.2 18 72% 7 28%
tasks

Fall protection training is provided to all workers when they


2.3 13 52% 12 48%
are first hired according to their job assignments

M SD training needs are evaluated by the safety staff and site


2.4 0 0% 25 100%
management

2.5 M SD training is adapted to worksite specific tasks 0 0% 25 100%

M SD prevention training is provided to all workers when they


2.6 0 0% 25 100%
are first hired

2.7 Site management attends fall prevention training 16 64% 9 36%

2.8 Site management attends M SD prevention training 0 0% 25 100%


APPENDIX 9

Construction Workers’ Safety Climate Average Score by

NOSACQ-50 dimension in 25 Colombian Construction Companies


303

NOSACQ-50 Dimension 1. Management safety priority and commitment

Standard
Company Count Median Range Minimum Maximum
Deviation
1 11 2.85 .31 2.78 1.22 2.33 3.56
2 10 2.70 .23 2.78 .67 2.22 2.89
3 10 2.88 .29 2.83 1.00 2.44 3.44
4 10 2.96 .18 2.94 .56 2.67 3.22
5 10 2.78 .32 2.89 1.00 2.11 3.11
6 12 2.99 .55 3.00 1.44 2.22 3.67
7 10 2.66 .28 2.67 .89 2.11 3.00
8 10 2.53 .48 2.61 1.33 1.78 3.11
9 10 2.87 .15 2.89 .44 2.56 3.00
10 9 2.99 .23 3.00 .78 2.67 3.44
11 10 3.27 .39 3.33 1.33 2.33 3.67
12 10 2.64 .39 2.61 1.11 2.22 3.33
13 11 2.71 .15 2.67 .56 2.44 3.00
14 12 2.76 .28 2.78 1.00 2.33 3.33
15 9 2.85 .15 2.89 .44 2.56 3.00
16 9 2.88 .31 3.00 .89 2.33 3.22
17 10 3.04 .25 3.00 .89 2.67 3.56
18 12 3.03 .15 3.00 .56 2.78 3.33
19 11 2.55 .40 2.44 1.00 2.00 3.00
20 10 2.36 .21 2.39 .67 2.00 2.67
21 10 3.48 .33 3.44 1.00 3.00 4.00
22 10 2.98 .13 3.00 .44 2.78 3.22
23 10 2.96 .38 3.00 1.44 2.11 3.56
24 10 2.67 .31 2.72 .67 2.33 3.00
25 10 3.17 .37 3.28 1.33 2.33 3.67
304

NOSACQ-50 Dimension 2. Management safety empowerment

Standard
Company Count Mean Median Range Minimum Maximun
Deviation
1 11 2.39 .33 2.43 1.00 1.86 2.86
2 10 2.53 .50 2.86 1.43 1.71 3.14
3 10 2.44 .30 2.57 0.86 1.86 2.71
4 10 2.64 .20 2.57 .57 2.29 2.86
5 10 2.44 .20 2.43 0.57 2.14 2.71
6 12 2.83 .70 2.57 1.86 2.14 4.00
7 10 2.66 .32 2.71 1.00 2.00 3.00
8 10 2.20 .22 2.29 0.57 1.86 2.43
9 10 2.67 .37 2.71 1.43 2.14 3.57
10 9 2.62 .12 2.57 .43 2.43 2.86
11 10 3.06 .44 3.00 1.14 2.57 3.71
12 10 2.11 .46 2.14 1.57 1.14 2.71
13 11 2.38 .23 2.29 .86 2.00 2.86
14 12 2.23 .23 2.21 0.86 1.71 2.57
15 9 2.43 .14 2.43 .43 2.29 2.71
16 9 2.48 .29 2.43 .86 2.14 3.00
17 10 2.51 .25 2.57 .86 2.14 3.00
18 12 2.54 .12 2.57 .43 2.29 2.71
19 11 2.06 .36 2.14 1.14 1.43 2.57
20 10 2.24 .21 2.29 .71 1.71 2.43
21 10 3.31 .45 3.21 1.29 2.71 4.00
22 10 2.50 .20 2.50 .71 2.14 2.86
23 10 2.66 .45 2.57 1.71 2.00 3.71
24 10 2.49 .07 2.43 .14 2.43 2.57
25 10 3.04 .45 3.07 1.43 2.14 3.57
305

NOSACQ-50 Dimension 3. Management safety justice

Standard
Company Count Mean Median Range Minimum Maximum
Deviation
1 11 2.76 .50 2.83 2.00 1.83 3.83
2 10 2.63 .20 2.67 .50 2.33 2.83
3 10 2.63 .34 2.67 1.17 2.00 3.17
4 10 2.92 .09 2.92 .17 2.83 3.00
5 10 2.90 .20 3.00 0.67 2.50 3.17
6 12 2.79 .85 3.00 2.33 1.50 3.83
7 10 2.52 .36 2.58 1.17 1.83 3.00
8 10 2.48 .44 2.67 1.33 1.67 3.00
9 10 2.60 .30 2.50 .67 2.33 3.00
10 9 2.63 .30 2.83 .83 2.17 3.00
11 10 2.92 .57 3.08 1.50 2.17 3.67
12 10 2.65 .86 2.42 2.33 1.50 3.83
13 11 2.61 .23 2.67 .50 2.33 2.83
14 12 2.53 .31 2.50 1.17 2.00 3.17
15 9 2.85 .18 2.83 .50 2.50 3.00
16 9 2.61 .45 2.83 1.50 1.67 3.17
17 10 2.88 .22 3.00 .67 2.50 3.17
18 12 2.85 .15 2.83 .33 2.67 3.00
19 11 2.55 .20 2.50 0.50 2.33 2.83
20 10 2.27 .39 2.25 1.33 1.67 3.00
21 10 3.50 .35 3.50 1.00 3.00 4.00
22 10 2.87 .39 2.67 1.33 2.50 3.83
23 10 2.85 .47 3.00 1.83 1.67 3.50
24 10 2.65 .30 2.58 .83 2.17 3.00
25 10 2.97 .55 3.08 1.50 2.00 3.50
306

NOSACQ-50 Dimension 4. Workers' safety commitment

Standard
Company Count Mean Median Range Minimum Maximun
Deviation
1 11 2.77 .40 3.00 1.17 2.00 3.17
2 10 2.93 .21 3.00 .67 2.50 3.17
3 10 2.92 .20 2.92 0.67 2.67 3.33
4 10 3.10 .14 3.00 .33 3.00 3.33
5 10 2.87 .32 3.00 0.83 2.33 3.17
6 12 3.33 .62 3.33 1.83 2.17 4.00
7 10 2.82 .20 2.83 .50 2.50 3.00
8 10 2.95 .34 3.00 1.17 2.33 3.50
9 10 2.98 .28 3.00 1.00 2.67 3.67
10 9 3.06 .26 3.00 .83 2.83 3.67
11 10 3.60 .21 3.67 0.50 3.33 3.83
12 10 2.80 .32 2.75 1.00 2.33 3.33
13 11 2.80 .21 2.83 .67 2.50 3.17
14 12 2.99 .34 3.00 1.17 2.33 3.50
15 9 2.85 .18 2.83 .50 2.50 3.00
16 9 3.19 .29 3.17 .83 2.83 3.67
17 10 3.08 .21 3.08 .83 2.67 3.50
18 12 3.00 .17 3.00 .50 2.67 3.17
19 11 2.74 .60 3.00 2.00 1.17 3.17
20 10 2.65 .20 2.58 .50 2.50 3.00
21 10 3.80 .27 3.92 0.67 3.33 4.00
22 10 3.17 .32 3.08 1.00 2.67 3.67
23 10 2.98 .45 3.00 1.67 1.83 3.50
24 10 2.82 .20 2.83 .67 2.50 3.17
25 10 3.08 .53 3.17 1.67 2.17 3.83
307

NOSACQ-50 Dimension 5. Workers' safety priority

Standard
Company Count Mean Median Range Minimum Maximun
Deviation
1 11 2.45 .28 2.57 1.00 1.86 2.86
2 10 2.46 .35 2.29 1.14 2.14 3.29
3 10 2.34 .26 2.36 0.86 2.00 2.86
4 10 2.90 .20 2.93 .71 2.57 3.29
5 10 2.29 .19 2.36 0.57 1.86 2.43
6 12 2.52 .66 2.36 2.00 1.57 3.57
7 10 2.44 .26 2.50 .86 2.00 2.86
8 10 2.24 .45 2.36 1.57 1.29 2.86
9 10 2.41 .27 2.29 .71 2.14 2.86
10 9 2.56 .35 2.57 1.00 2.14 3.14
11 10 2.67 .53 2.71 1.86 1.71 3.57
12 10 2.39 .58 2.50 1.43 1.71 3.14
13 11 2.26 .17 2.29 .57 2.00 2.57
14 12 2.04 .41 2.00 1.43 1.43 2.86
15 9 2.46 .26 2.43 .71 2.14 2.86
16 9 2.57 .29 2.43 .86 2.14 3.00
17 10 2.59 .27 2.64 .86 2.00 2.86
18 12 2.54 .45 2.64 1.29 1.71 3.00
19 11 1.97 .30 1.86 0.71 1.71 2.43
20 10 2.06 .29 2.07 .86 1.57 2.43
21 10 2.91 .31 2.93 1.14 2.29 3.43
22 10 2.73 .40 2.71 1.29 2.00 3.29
23 10 2.43 .36 2.43 1.14 2.00 3.14
24 10 2.34 .24 2.36 .71 1.86 2.57
25 10 2.21 .66 2.43 2.29 1.00 3.29
308

NOSACQ-50 Dimension 6.

Standard
Company Count Mean Median Range M inim um Maximum
Deviation

1 11 2.80 .20 2.88 0.75 2.25 3.00

2 10 2.85 .08 2.88 .25 2.75 3.00

3 10 2.95 .21 2.88 0.63 2.75 3.38


4 10 3.03 .13 3.00 .50 2.75 3.25
5 10 2.98 .08 3.00 0.25 2.88 3.13
6 12 3.14 .49 3.31 1.63 2.13 3.75
7 10 2.86 .11 2.88 .25 2.75 3.00
8 10 2.78 .20 2.88 0.63 2.25 2.88

9 10 2.93 .32 2.94 1.13 2.25 3.38

10 9 2.97 .15 3.00 .50 2.75 3.25

11 10 3.50 .14 3.50 0.50 3.25 3.75


12 10 3.13 .24 3.06 0.63 2.88 3.50

13 11 2.84 .20 2.88 .75 2.25 3.00


14 12 3.14 .16 3.13 0.50 2.88 3.38

15 9 2.94 .09 3.00 .25 2.75 3.00

16 9 3.31 .22 3.25 .75 3.00 3.75

17 10 3.03 .10 3.00 .25 2.88 3.13

18 12 3.03 .19 3.00 .75 2.75 3.50

19 11 2.88 .20 2.88 0.63 2.63 3.25

20 10 2.66 .17 2.69 .50 2.38 2.88

21 10 3.58 .13 3.50 0.38 3.38 3.75

22 10 3.05 .24 2.94 .63 2.88 3.50

23 10 3.05 .24 3.00 0.75 2.88 3.63


24 10 2.79 .26 2.88 .88 2.25 3.13

25 10 3.25 .42 3.31 1.13 2.63 3.75


309

NOSACQ-50 Dimension 7. Workers' trust in efficacy of safety systems

Standard
ompany Count Mean Median Range M inim um Maximun
Deviation

1 11 3.03 .31 3.00 0.86 2.57 3.43


2 10 2.90 .21 2.86 .71 2.57 3.29
3 10 3.03 .16 3.00 0.43 2.86 3.29
4 10 3.13 .14 3.07 .29 3.00 3.29
5 10 3.16 .21 3.14 0.71 2.86 3.57
6 12 3.57 .46 3.71 1.14 2.86 4.00
7 10 2.99 .13 3.00 .29 2.86 3.14
8 10 2.90 .19 2.86 0.57 2.71 3.29
9 10 3.11 .21 3.07 .57 2.86 3.43
10 9 3.25 .27 3.29 .86 2.86 3.71
11 10 3.77 .36 3.86 1.14 2.86 4.00
12 10 3.44 .57 3.57 1.29 2.71 4.00
13 11 2.88 .21 2.86 .71 2.57 3.29
14 12 3.17 .24 3.07 0.71 2.86 3.57

15 9 2.94 .24 3.00 .71 2.57 3.29


16 9 3.78 .19 3.86 .57 3.43 4.00
17 10 3.16 .27 3.14 .86 2.71 3.57

18 12 3.23 .21 3.21 .71 3.00 3.71


19 11 3.26 .38 3.29 1.14 2.57 3.71

20 10 3.20 .17 3.21 .43 3.00 3.43


21 10 3.83 .25 4.00 0.57 3.43 4.00
22 10 3.09 .27 3.00 .86 2.57 3.43
23 10 3.23 .42 3.21 1.43 2.57 4.00
24 10 3.16 .14 3.21 .29 3.00 3.29
25 10 3.19 .38 3.14 1.00 2.57 3.57
310

APPENDIX 10

Interview guideline
311

INTERVIEW GUIDE FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKERS,

SUPERVISORS AND SITE MANAGERS

1. Practices focused on determining project site hazard profile

a. Hazard identification and assessment

• What kinds of construction jobs does this company do?

- Vertical Construction (Buildings: residential and non-residential)

— Horizontal Construction (highway, bridges, tunnels)

• What kind of construction job do you do?

- Job title: bricklayer, concrete finisher, heavy equipment operator, ironworker,


laborer, cleaner, supervisor (maestro), site manager

• What construction activities are most likely to put workers at risk of falling from
heights (or having low back, shoulder or arm pain?

— Excavation, pour foundation wall, concrete slab pour, steel erection, masonry,
finishing, etc.

• How these hazards could be controlled?

• Do you find difficulties in doing certain tasks safely?

• How do you identify if doing certain task is safe?

- How were you taught to identify them?

— How do you teach your workers them?

• What safety plans are being implemented at this construction site?

• How you and your crew identify potential hazards in performing a task?

I f so, what steps do you follow up to identify hazard conditions or situations and
to propose controls? What are the most common results o f these analyses? Who is
responsible fo r implementing the suggested controls?
312

b. Hazard control

• When workers must work at heights, what does the company (or the contractor)
do to prevent that they get injured?

— What would make it easier fo r the company or contractors to prevent falls?

— What else should the company do to prevent falls?

• When workers must lift or carry heavy loads what does the company (or the
contractor) do to prevent that workers get discomfort or pain in the hands, arms,
shoulders, neck, back, legs or feet?

— Which mechanical aids do workers have to handle, lift or carry on heavy


loads?

— What would make it easier fo r the company or contractors to prevent


musculoskeletal injuries?

— What else should the company do to prevent musculoskeletal injuries?

• What makes it difficult to keep the work sites safe?

• What are some of the challenges/barriers safety officer faces?

2. Practices focused on safety management and involvement

a. Safety roles and responsibilities

• Who has the responsibility for conducting and implementing safety activities
here?

• Who participates in those activities?

• How does the top management promote workers’ participation in those activities?

• Which safety activities (if so) do top managers participate?

• How are contractors involved in safety activities?


313

b. Management participation

• How does site manager lead safety at the worksite?

• Are safety reports discussed with site managers during the regular weekly project
meetings?

• For site managers: How often do you have the chance to talk with your workers
about their job performance? How often do you have chance to talk with your
workers about their safety performance and safety concerns?

• For workers and supervisors: How often do you have the chance to talk with
your site manager about your job performance? How often do you have the
chance to talk with your site manager about your safety performance and safety
concerns?

c. Measuring safety performance

• How do you follow up safety performance in this construction site?

• Who measures the safety performance (general contractor, contractors and


subcontractors),

• What indicators are used and how often are measured?

• How is contractors’/subcontractors’ safety performance measured at this


worksite?

• Is the contractor’s/subcontractor’s safety performance a variable to provide them


with new contracts?

3. Practices focused on the safety system

a. Safety inspection

• How often are safety inspections conducted in your worksite? If so, who
conducts these inspections? Do you know what has been found by these safety
inspections? Do you know what has been improved from these inspections?
314

b. Accident investigation

• Have you heard about recent accidents at this construction site? What caused
them? What could have prevented it?

• How does your company’s (contractor’s or subcontractor’s) respond to a work-


related injury? {report procedure, investigation protocol, discuss causes and
controls with workers, implement changes)

4. Practices focused on people

a. Workers participation

• If you have concerns about fall hazards at the workplace, how can you proceed?

• When workers must perform a task that requires working at heights, how is the
crew set up to get the job done?

• When workers must perform a task that requires handing, lifting or carrying
heavy loads, how does the crew set up to get the job done?

b. Training

• How did you learn about fall hazards in the construction sites?

• How did you learn about protecting workers to avoid falling from heights? Do
you think that the fall protection training that you have received is applicable to
tasks/activities performed daily?

• Do you know how to lift or carry heavy loads in a safe way? If so, have you
received training about how to handle safely heavy materials (lifting or carrying)?
Do you think that the training on how to lift or carry materials that you have
received is applicable to tasks/activities performed daily?

i
315

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF AUTHOR

Luz Stella Marin Ramirez received her degree in Chemical Engineering from National
University of Colombia (Universidad Nacional de Colombia), in Bogota, Colombia.
After her graduation, she worked as a Research and Development Engineer for a national
chemical company.

In 1996, she began her career in the occupational safety and health field as a researcher in
a Colombian non-governmental organization where she was involved in the study of the
impact of industrial wastes on workers’ health. In 1997, Ms. Marin received her Master
Degree in Occupational Safety and Health from Our Lady of the Rosary University
(Universidad del Rosario) in Colombia.

For ten years, she worked as a safety professional for a worker’s compensation insurance
company in Colombia. In this role, she conducted data analysis of occupational injuries
reported to the insurance company and site investigations of fatal occupational injuries,
and developed injury prevention programs for companies from diverse industrial sectors
such as construction, transportation chemical, floriculture, and manufacturing.

In 2006, she received a scholarship from the Swedish International Development


Cooperation Agency to participate in the Occupational Health and Safety Program in
Sweden. In 2007, she received a Specialist Degree in Project Management from the
Colombian School of Engineering (Escuela Colombiana de Ingenierla).

Ms. Marin entered the Occupational Ergonomics and Safety program in the Department
of Work Environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, in 2008. She worked
as a research assistant in the Protection en Construction research project where she was
extensively involved in field research in the construction industry. Through these
research activities, she gained valuable experience in community-based participatory
approaches, field research methods, and working with immigrants and vulnerable
populations. In 2010, she completed her Master of Science degree. Her Master’s project
was the design and implementation of a culturally adapted training program for
construction supervisors working with Hispanic construction workers.

In 2014, she accepted a post-doctoral positon at Northeastern University. Currently, she


is working with a team to study the whole body vibration in operators of heavy
equipment vehicles in an open pit mine in Colombia. Ms. Marin hopes to continue in the
field of applied research to improve workers’ safety and health.