Structural Equation Modeling Approach to Studying the Relationships among Safety Investment, Construction Employees' Safety Cognition, and Behavioral Performance

Yu Han, Jie Li, Xiulan Cao, Ruoyu (Roy) Jin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This study aimed to investigate the internal relationships between safety investments and construction employees' behavioral performance with safety cognition as the mediating factor. A comprehensive methodology was adopted, including theoretical modeling of safety investments, survey questionnaire, and structural equation modeling (SEM). In the theoretical model, four factors were used as safety investment categories: personal protection equipment (PPE), safety education, insurance purchased for site employees, and safety incentives. These four categories were studied for their correlation to the overall safety investment, which was tested for its contribution to employees' behavioral safety performance in both direct and indirect ways. Indirectly, safety cognition was introduced as a mediator to bridge safety investments and behavioral performance. A questionnaire consisting of 28 indicators was adopted to describe safety investment, safety cognition, and behavioral performance. A random sampling approach and the top-down method were implemented to recruit construction site employees from the southeastern region of China. The followup SEM analysis revealed that all four investment categories positively contributed to the overall safety investment, which was found significantly correlated to employees' safety cognition and behavioral performance. Safety incentive was identified as the most significant factor contributing to the overall investment. The current study extends prior studies of safety investments by adopting a quantitative approach from the employees' perspective. Insights are offered to construction employers on how safety investments can affect behavioral performance - for example, the importance of balancing the tangible (e.g., incentive) and intangible (e.g., safety insurance) investment categories. This study also contributes to establishing the internal links among safety investments, safety cognition, and behavioral safety performance. Based on the current findings, future work could investigate how to optimize safety investments to achieve better behavioral performance. The current study, based in China, could be applied in a different geographic context by testing the correlations between safety investments and behavioral safety performance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number04020065
    JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2020

    Bibliographical note

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    • Construction employee
    • Safety behavior
    • Safety cognition
    • Safety investment
    • Structural equation modeling (SEM)


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