• Synergistic effects among leading indicators of construction safety management

      Calhoun, Matthew E.; Schroeder, Herbert P.; Perkins, Robert A.; Bennett, F. Lawrence; Baker, Elisha R. IV (2015-12)
      Safety performance in the construction industry has improved significantly since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was enacted in 1970. Despite these improvements, annual accident statistics indicate the construction industry remains one of the most dangerous for workers. However, there are some construction companies that defy these statistics and have an exemplary safety record. Many of these companies have adopted a zero-accident vision and measure their safety performance using both leading and lagging indicators. Safety performance has traditionally been measured with only lagging indicators that have included recordable injury rates, experience modification rates, days-away-restricted-transferred, among many others. Unfortunately these indicators are recorded after an accident has occurred, resulting in management only being able to take a reactive approach. Conversely, a proactive approach uses leading indicators to alert management before an accident occurs. Previous research has found thirteen leading indicators that are connected to a strong safety performance for construction projects. However, several researchers and safety management experts recommend only monitoring and measuring two to three indicators on a project due to the resources required. Determining which leading indicators to monitor can be a difficult process for management new to this proactive approach. In an effort to help the construction industry, the first phase of data collection for my dissertation benchmarked the knowledge and use of leading indicators by interviewing twenty-five small contractors. The purpose of the interview was to identify leading indicators used by each small contractor and identify challenges to implementation when an indicator was not being used. The results were analyzed to find the total percentage of use for each indicator and their relationship to the contractor's total recordable injury rates. Two leading indicators were found to be linked with a safer total recordable injury rate and both indicators included having high percentages of workers employed for more than five years. The second and third phase of data collection for my dissertation focused on large owner and contractor companies who typically have had a better safety performance in comparison to small contractors. The Delphi method was used to assemble two separate expert panels to quantify the pairwise synergistic effects among thirteen leading indicators from the perspective of an owner and a contractor. The expert panel from the perspective of the owner found the leading indicators with the greatest synergistic impact included pre-task planning, project management team safety process involvement, housekeeping program, owner safety walkthroughs, worker observation process, owner participation in worker orientation sessions, and stop work authority. The other panel from the perspective of a contractor found the indicators with most synergistic impact were pre-task planning, near-miss reporting, worker observation process, an auditing program, and project management team safety process involvement. The results from this study can serve as an aid to all management that are beginning to take a more proactive approach towards measuring and monitoring safety performance.