Characteristics of the Construction Industry in Developing Countries and Its Implications for Health and Safety: An Exploratory Study in Ghana

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun 9;17(11):4110. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17114110.


From both practical and theoretical perspectives, understanding the health and safety (H&S) implications of the characteristics and foundation upon which the construction industry in developing countries is built and operates is essential for H&S management within the industry. While many studies have provided evidence of factors affecting construction H&S in developing countries, none has fully considered the H&S implications of the industry's characteristics. The current study thus examined how the peculiar characteristics of the construction industry in developing countries impact on the industry's H&S management. Data were collected using questionnaire surveys from construction industry professionals in Ghana. Nine distinct characteristics were identified and ranked, as well as their relationships and statistical significance determined through correlation and analysis of variance (ANOVA), respectively. The findings showed that these characteristics of the construction industry in developing countries, particularly the lack of skilled and educated workforce, reliance on labour intensive methods and lack of single regulatory authority, present huge challenges to the management of H&S. Accordingly, this research recommended strategic interventions which are tailored towards the context of the industry's characteristics. With the construction industry in developing countries exhibiting similar characteristics, the findings of this research can serve as a framework for country-specific study. The study contributes to the broader H&S performance improvement research in developing countries by throwing light on the characteristics of the industry that pose challenges to H&S performance.

Keywords: characteristics; construction industry; developing countries; health and safety.

MeSH terms

  • Construction Industry*
  • Developing Countries
  • Ghana
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health*
  • Safety Management*