Last edited 19 Jan 2021

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CIOB Institute / association Website

Effect of safety investments on safety performance of building projects

Dr Yingbin Feng, University of Western Sydney, Australia

Published in Safety Science, Vol.59, pp.28-45, 2013.


The construction industry is increasingly reliant on contractors’ voluntary initiatives to reduce construction accidents. This study investigates the effect of investment on safety performance, and identifies some key influencing factors. For the study, a regression/correlation research design was adopted. Multiple techniques were used to collect data from 47 completed building projects. Bivariate correlation and moderated regression techniques were used to analyse the data. The results show that basic safety investment does not produce a constant effect on safety performance, but varies according to site culture and project conditions.

Investment in basic safety has a stronger positive effect on accident prevention if the project already has a robust safety culture and project hazard level. On the other hand, corresponding levels of investment in projects with a poor safety culture will not yield such positive results. The findings suggest that increasing protection and creating a safer environment will not necessarily raise safety performance if site culture has also not improved. So contractorsinterventions should combine physical protection with other cultural safety measures.

This paper was the Premier Award Winner of the 2014 CIOB Research Paper Award.

The judge's said, “This paper provides a holistic re-evaluation of safety management within construction, exploring a variety of factors and clearly illustrating the highly complex and multi-faceted nature of safety within the industry. It is a well-executed study that sheds light on how safety investments can lead to both positive and negative safety performance. It is original, well written with clearly articulated objectives. It also has the benefit of being highly accessible to a wide readership.”


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