Using safety climate as a tool for improvement of safety performance in construction organisations

Umar, Tariq and Wamuziri, Sam (2016) Using safety climate as a tool for improvement of safety performance in construction organisations. In: The 5th World Construction Symposium 2016 : Greening Environment, Eco-Innovations & Entrepreneurship; 29 - 31 Jul 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka.


Data from a number of industrialized countries show that construction workers are 3 to 4 times more likely than other workers to die from accidents at work. In the developing world, the risks associated with construction work may be 3 to 6 times greater. Construction is one of the world’s biggest industrial sectors, including the building, civil engineering, demolition and maintenance industries, and in Oman it accounts for approximately 10% of the total GDP. Statistics indicate that a total of 723,243 residents including 91% foreigners were working in 100,000 construction organizations in 2014 and was having second larger rate of occupational injuries after manufacturing industry with an estimated cost of 3,700,000 US$ per year. Construction workers are exposed to a wide variety of hazards on the job, including dusts and vapours, asbestos, awkward working positions, heavy loads, adverse weather conditions, work at heights, noise, vibration from tools, and therefore more closer to occupational accidents. In recent years the awareness of the importance for safety performance of organizational, managerial and social factors, has increased. Safety climate is an aspect of organizational climate, and offers a route for safety management, complementing the often predominant engineering approach. Safety climate investigations are more sensitive and proactive bases for developing safety, rather than reactive information from accident rates and accident and incident reports. Based on a thorough literature review, relevant safety climate dimensions including (1) management safety priority, commitment and competence; (2) management safety empowerment; (3) management safety justice; (4) workers’ safety commitment; (5) workers’ safety priority and risk non-acceptance; (6) safety communication, learning, and trust in co-workers’ safety competence; and (7) workers’ trust in the efficacy of safety systems, are identified and discussed. This paper further describes how construction organizations in Oman can improve their safety performance by using and assessing leading safety climate dimensions/ factors among their workers.

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