Residential Construction, Industry Analysis

Safety in the construction industry has always been a major issue. Wherever reliable records are available, construction is found to be one of the most dangerous on safety and health criteria, particularly in developing countries. Though much improvement in construction safety has been achieved, the industry still continues to lag behind most other industries with regard to safety. In developing countries, safety rules usually do not exist; if any exist, the regulatory authority is usually very weak in implementing such rules effectively.

Further, work hazards at the construction workplace are either not perceived at all, or perceived to be less dangerous than what they actually are. The safety climate of any organisation consists of employees' attitudes towards, and perceptions of, health and safety behaviour. Construction workers' attitudes towards safety are influenced by their perceptions of risk, management, safety rules and procedures. Although research into safety climate has continued for more than two decades, there is still no universally accepted theory of safety climate.

Nevertheless, positive correlation exists between workers' safe behaviour and safety climate in construction site environments. Workers' attitudes and behaviours discernible in safety climate, could be regarded as the micro-elements of an organisation, which themselves are determined by macro-elements of safety management systems and practices. Thus, it could be argued that management safety systems and practices permeate down through the organisation to the workforce. Classic construction safety management functions (such as recruitment, training, supervision, etc.

) are determined by different conceptions of the role and nature of management effectiveness. These conceptions are underpinned by related cultural values. Therefore, national culture can be a key characteristic that may manifest itself in varying approaches to the safe work behavior. Pakistan is a developing country that is currently enjoying a relatively strong growth in construction activities. Unfortunately, Pakistan's construction industry suffers from poor safety and health conditions. The framework of the existing occupational and health conditions is fragmented and inadequately enforced, making construction sites more hazardous.

It may even be argued that relevant regulations are outdated and irrelevant in day-to-day construction operations. This thesis is broadly concerned with national culture and its influence on safety climate in the construction industry in Pakistan. More specifically, it investigates the safety perceptions, attitudes, and behaviour of Pakistani construction workers and management safety practices. It presents the empirical results of a number of questionnaire surveys administrated in Pakistan targeting construction workers, and managers with safety management responsibilities.

Based upon the survey analysis results, this study demonstrates that the majority of Pakistani construction workers have a good degree of risk awareness and self-rated competence, and a relatively high degree of safety awareness. Further it was found, empirically, that overall workers' intentional behaviour seems to be best explained by workers' attitudes towards their own and managements' safety responsibilities, as well as their perception of the risk they are generally exposed to in their workplace environment.

The study also showed that workers are more collective, feminist, believe in less power distance and opt for higher uncertainty avoidance in their attitudes. The analysis of the interrelationship between workers' behaviour and national culture revealed that the more workers working in a collective, feminist, and higher uncertainty avoidance environments, the more they are going to exhibit safer behaviour. The management safety practices survey analysis showed that managers' safety management preferences are being influenced by their cultural trends.

Their safety related decisions, whether being developed in head office or on site, are influenced by their high collectivistic, feministic, power distance and uncertainty avoidance attitude. This study thus establishes a statistically significant positive relationship between the factors of workers' perceptions, attitudes and safe work behaviour, and management practices. Finally, this study gauges empirically the influence of cultural dimensions on workers' perceptions, attitudes, and safe work behaviour and managers' safety practices.

The analysis showed that managers' operational practices on site have the most statistically significant relationship with workers' attitudes and perceptions. It was also found that the more collectivistic and higher uncertainty avoidance attitude of workers, the stronger their safety attitudes and perceptions will be. less Safety in the construction industry has always been a major issue. Wherever reliable records are available, construction is found to be one of the most dangerous on safety and health criteria, particularly in developing countries. Though much improvement in ... more