An ethnographic investigation into a series of incidents on a large construction project

Oswald, D 2017, 'An ethnographic investigation into a series of incidents on a large construction project', in Proceedings of Australasian Universities Building Education Association 2017, Melbourne, Australia, 3-5th July 2017, pp. 157-166.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title An ethnographic investigation into a series of incidents on a large construction project
Author(s) Oswald, D
Year 2017
Conference name AUBEA 2017
Conference location Melbourne, Australia
Conference dates 3-5th July 2017
Proceedings title Proceedings of Australasian Universities Building Education Association 2017
Publisher AUBEA
Place of publication Melbourne, Australia
Start page 157
End page 166
Total pages 10
Abstract A series of incidents in a short period created cause for concern on a large construction project in the UK (+£500m). Incident investigations are one of the ways to learn about safety failings, so that remedial action can be put into place to avoid a recurrence. The researcher was a member of the H&S department, with the role of a participant observer during the incident investigation period. Data collection included: informal conversations with employees; attending safety and accident investigation meetings; viewing project documents; and attending the safety stand down that occurred. The case study findings revealed that a blame culture restricted information flow on the incidents; and consequently there was a focus on easily observable unsafe acts, and static unsafe conditions, providing a narrow rather than deep perspective. These acts and conditions, such as a lack of compliance with PPE, or a weather condition, were often difficult to manage. For safety understanding the project repeatedly used Heinrich's (1931) seminal work as a foundation. However, this work is arguably outdated as it focuses on accidents on an individual rather than complex socio-technical level.
Subjects Building Construction Management and Project Planning
Keyword(s) Construction
Safety
Accident investigations
Ethnographic methods
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Created: Tue, 10 Oct 2017, 09:49:00 EST by Catalyst Administrator
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