A safety culture shaped by common sense

Emmanuel Aboagye-Nimo, Ani Raiden, Andrew King, Susanne Tietze

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


A positive safety culture among construction firms is known to be an invaluable means by which accident prevention and employee safety on sites can be improved. Workers of small construction firms strive to create and maintain safe working environments for each other and for the safety of stakeholders. Based on the organisational and safety cultures developed within small construction firms, the workers have been known to incorporate informal and situational practices in order to improve site and project safety. This paper investigates the safety cultures found in small construction firms including workers’ informal practices in relation to hazard identification and accident prevention. The paper is based on a research project that has an overall aim of investigating ‘good’ safety practices of workers of small construction firms in the East Midlands region of the United Kingdom. In this qualitative research, rich data was acquired through semi-structured interviews and non-participant observations from five construction sites. Findings from the empirical work suggest that owners and experienced workers of small construction firms significantly shape the outcome of the firms’ safety cultures. For example, when they show initiative for producing safe working environments, other workers are compelled to follow suit and vice-versa. Furthermore, workers of small construction firms undertake ‘informal’ practices that help improve safety on site including informal risk assessment and subsequent management of hazardous events. In addition, new and less experienced worker receive effective guidance and vital on-the-job training in a way that is not documented. Unlike much research in the field, this project seeks to identify and encourage activities and approaches that help workers of small construction firms create working attitudes and environments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 29th Annual ARCOM Conference
Place of PublicationReading
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2013
EventProceedings 29th Annual ARCOM Conference - Reading, UK, 2013
Duration: 2 Sept 2013 → …


ConferenceProceedings 29th Annual ARCOM Conference
Period2/09/13 → …

Bibliographical note

Original paper first published by ARCOM as part of Conference Proceedings


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