Construction Workers’ Health and Safety Knowledge: Initial Observations on Some Test Result Data.

Edwards, David and Holt, Gary David (2008) Construction Workers’ Health and Safety Knowledge: Initial Observations on Some Test Result Data. The Journal of Engineering, Design, and Technology., 6 (1). pp. 65-80. ISSN 1726-0531

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Purpose – Numerous factors relate to the effectiveness of health and safety (H&S) management within construction; but a specific factor influencing the extent of H&S “incidents” on site, is the amount of H&S knowledge held by construction workers. This paper aims to offer some initial observations on construction workers' H&S knowledge, based upon test-result data from an invigilated online H&S test.

Design/methodology/approach – Data from 564 candidates were analysed principally by observing mean performance scores and apparent differences, among the sample and defined sub-samples, for each of five H&S subject groupings that make up the test.

Findings – Mean scores indicate better retained knowledge in “general H&S” questions and lower knowledge in “manual handling” questions. There was little difference in mean scores between defined candidate age groups; or between different size classifications of candidates' employer organisations. Perceived characteristics of employers' training regimes did not appear to impact test results either.

Research limitations/implications – Disparity among sub-sample sizes within the data means that these findings are indicative and accordingly, have implications for a follow-on study that will utilise deterministic modelling to more definitively confirm the effect of formal training and other (e.g. workplace) characteristics, on worker H&S knowledge retention.

Originality/value – The paper shows that workers having recently undertaken H&S training exhibit greatest retained knowledge, the level of which remains relatively consistent regardless of where a candidate lives, or a candidate's age group.

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