Construction workers' perceptions of management safety practices: a qualitative investigation

Work. 2004;23(3):245-56.


Background and goals: The purpose of this study was to identify perceptions of management safety practices from the viewpoint of union and nonunion construction workers. A complementary investigation was conducted with construction managers.

Methods: A semi-structured interview guide was used to elicit information from 64 workers (95% male) in ten focus groups. Questions were designed to elicit information about management practices that facilitate or discourage safe working conditions, including communication style, attitude, expectations, and unspoken messages. Data were analyzed using thematic content analysis.

Results: Workers identified management commitment to safety, concern for workers, congruence between spoken messages and practice, professionalism, and communication skills as key qualities in successful managers. Workers provided vivid examples of excellent and poor management strategies.

Conclusions: Construction managers play a pivotal role in the definition and implementation of safety practices in the workplace and workers look to them for guidance and modeling. Given the high rates of injury in construction, deeply imbedded protective policies that rely on input from a broad range of stakeholders, including construction workers, should be developed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Facility Design and Construction*
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Labor Unions*
  • Male
  • Occupational Health*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Safety Management*
  • Workplace