A multifaceted study of occupational safety culture and habits in the Irish construction industry.
The primary goal of this research was to investigate the factors that influence safety behavior and compliance with safety requirements on construction sites. This goal was realized through the following objectives:
- The first objective
was to examine compliance with safety requirements in the construction
- The second
was to investigate the behavior, perceptions and attitudes associated
with safety in construction.
- The third was
to investigate management practices and associated documentation relating
- The final objective
was to seek to establish what factors are significantly associated
with safe behaviors or safety compliance.
- Furthermore the high incidence of falling from heights in construction accident statistics led to a focus, particularly in the site observations and operatives' questionnaire, on factors associated with falling from heights.
of compliance with a range of standard safety requirements.
- Perception of
risk associated with certain target behaviors and situations, estimation
of prevalence of these situations on this site and elsewhere, and
most likely response in those situations.
- Attitudes to
safety and safety climate (perception of the organization's commitment
to and involvement in safety)
- The role and
activities of management and other persons with a specific safety
role, and of organizational activities related to safety.
- Review of available company documentation relevant to the management of safety. The design adopted was a cross-sectional one based on a comparison of a sample of sites in Ireland, employing measures of these dimensions.
Because the goal of the research was to investigate factors influencing compliance, this required that the sample contained a variety of contrasting sites, giving sufficient variance in the factors being studied to investigate their influence. To achieve this it was not necessary to have an exactly representative sample. It was however considered desirable for the sample to be broadly representative of important parameters of the industry. In order to gain our sample of construction sites the following aspects were taken into consideration:
of sites in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland
of sites in Dublin and other urban areas in the Republic
of small and larger building sites
- Comparison of House Building work with General Contracting work
Because of the possibility of biases in the final composition of the sample, the question of sampling will be considered again in the discussion section of this document.
Analysis of the fatality statistics allowed those sites to be chosen that most closely matched the type of contractor and the trade of recorded fatalities that most represented the characteristics of the fatalities. However due to practical limitations the sample did not represent very small sites or sites in purely rural areas.
A total of eighteen construction sites took part in this research project. Table below provides a breakdown of sites across the different areas. For the purpose of the study small sites were defined as being worth between one and five million Irish punts in the Republic of Ireland and one and five million pounds sterling in Northern Ireland. Large sites were defined as being worth over five million Irish punts in the Republic of Ireland and over five million pounds sterling in Northern Ireland.
Table 6 provides a breakdown of sites in the sample and table 7 provides a detailed description of each of the sites visited.
|Large General Contracting||Small General Contracting||Large Housing||Small Housing||Total|
Table 6: Breakdown of sites by type and size
|Size m2 *||Build Type||Main
|01||Social Infrastructure||Dublin||80||30,000||New build||Substructure External walls to first floor level Internal walls to first floor level|
|02||Social Infrastructure||Dublin||80||>250,000||New build||Substructure External wall and cladding in Roof deck|
|03||Social Infrastructure||Dublin||200||>250,000||New build||Substructure , external walls Steel framework Roof and roof covering|
|04||Social Infrastructure||Dublin||30||20,000||New build||Substructure Internal fixtures and fittings Roof and roof covering,|
|05||Housing||Dublin||40||50 units||New build||Substructure External & Internal walls Floor slabs in place Services in part|
|06||Housing||Dublin||50||250 units||New build||Substructure in part Roof and roof covering in part Internal fixtures and fittings in part|
|07||Housing||Dublin||60||150 units||New build||Substructure in part Roof and roof covering in part Internal fixtures and fittings in part|
|08||Social Infrastructure||Dublin||50||1,000||Renovation refurbishment||Internal fixtures and fittings Internal partitions Finishes|
|09||Social Infrastructure||Republic of Ireland||40||15,000||New build||Ground floor First floor slab Roof deck|
|10||Housing||Republic of Ireland||20||50 units||New build||Substructures in part Roof and roof covering in part Internal fixtures and fittings in part|
|11||Housing||Republic of Ireland||160||450 units||New build||Substructure External walls part Roof and covering part|
|12||Social Infrastructure||Republic of Ireland||150||10,000||Renovation of existing / expansion||Topped out Internal partitions fixtures and fittings Services|
|13||Social Infrastructure||Belfast||100||12,000||New build||Substructure Steel framework External walls, roof and covering part|
|14||Social Infrastructure||Belfast||50||15,000||New build||Substructure Steel framework External walls part|
|15||Social Infrastructure||Belfast||60||15,000||New build||Nearly complete Internal fixtures and fittings Services|
|16||Housing||Northern Ireland||20||50 units||New build||<10 units incomplete External walls Internal partitions and floors.|
|17||Housing||Northern Ireland||30||50 units||Refurbishment & development of existing structure||Groundworks Internal partitions Basement and ground floor slabs|
|18||Housing||Northern Ireland||20||30 units||New build||<10
Roof and roof covering in part Internal fixtures and fittings in part
|Housing could consist of residential units ranging from one bed apartments to five bed detached houses. Social Infrastructure: small less than 5000m 2 / Large over 5000m 2 . Housing: small Less than 100 units/ Large Over 100 units|
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