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Cultivating a ‘just’ culture in construction industry to improve Health and Safety management systems

Duryan, M; Xu, J; Smyth, H; (2021) Cultivating a ‘just’ culture in construction industry to improve Health and Safety management systems. In: Proceedings of the ​W099 & W123 Annual International Conference : ​Changes and innovations for improved wellbeing in construction. (pp. p. 12). : Glasgow , Uk. Green open access

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Abstract

Within the last decades,safety statistics in the UK construction industry have reached a plateau and cultural changes are required for further improvement of occupational health and safety (H&S) management systems. The aim of this research is to understand how the UK construction industry can improve H&S reporting to learn from failures and near misses based on experience of aviation and aerospace industries that made a successful shift from a ‘blame’ to a ‘just’ culture. The reason is that H&S culture remains undeveloped within the industry. Cultivation of a culture that can facilitate bottom-up reporting and learning from failures and near misses is difficult due to fragmented nature and the complexity of construction programme and project operations. The industry that is criticised for being inward looking and slow in learning could benefit from safety practices of other safety-critical industries, rather than take a position of its uniqueness. An interpretative methodology is applied in this research. Thematic analysis is supported by cognitive mapping technique. The findings revealed that H&S practices in the construction industry are affected by the lack of consistency across construction sites due to fragmented supply chain, ‘silo’ project culture and a tendency to blame individuals for human error. The levels of engagement with bottom-up reporting are quite low and the most frequently mentioned reasons are transactional approach to H&S by the management, figure-pointing behaviours, lack of robust follow-up processes and lack of trust. H&S regulations, norms and guidelines do not include all possible safety issues specific to unique project environments. Cultivation of a ‘just’ culture could help the industry to go beyond H&S legal compliance and change attitude to safety reporting. Despite the differences, construction organisations can learn from aviation and aerospace industries’ accountability for the systems they design and from their proactive approaches to dealing with human error and encouraging and facilitating self-reporting.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Cultivating a ‘just’ culture in construction industry to improve Health and Safety management systems
Event: Joint CIB W099 & W123 International Conference 2021: Changes and innovations for improved wellbeing in construction
Location: Glasgow
Dates: 09 September 2021 - 10 September 2021
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.w099tg592020.com/2021-paper-presentati...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Health and Safety, Construction, Culture, Management System, Organisational Learning.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett Sch of Const and Proj Mgt
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10134171
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