A comparison of subgroup construction workers’ perceptions of a safety program

Qian Chen, Ruoyu Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subcontractor safety performance has become increasingly important due to the extensive use of subcontracting in construction and the elevated safety risks. Ensuring subcontractor safety has also become a major challenge of general contractors (GC). While many GCs leave the safety responsibility to individual subcontractors, others take active roles in helping them improve safety performance. To advance the understanding of how an active approach taken by the GC is received by subcontractors, a comparative study was performed to investigate subgroup workers’ perceptions of a safety program implemented by a U.S. GC among all the workers on its jobsites. In this study, a 5-dimension 28-item questionnaire was administered to 350 workers on the GC’s jobsites. The collected information was used to examine differences in workers’ perceptions between selected subgroups, i.e., the GC and its subcontractors as well as high- and low-risk building trades. This research found more positive perceptions of the safety program (i.e., the overall perception and the awareness and acceptance dimensions) among the GC’s workers than those of the subcontractors but no difference in perceptions from high- and low-risk trades. This research also identified differences in workers’ perceptions among other subgroups (e.g., based on age ranges and safety violation records) and drew insights from workers’ feedback to open-ended survey questions. The findings will help contractors better understand and manage their diverse workforce to improve jobsite safety performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Construction industry
  • Safety
  • Specialty contractors
  • General contractor (GC)


Dive into the research topics of 'A comparison of subgroup construction workers’ perceptions of a safety program'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this