Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Civil Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Syed M. Ahmed

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mehmet Emre Bayraktar

Third Advisor's Name

Arindam G. Chowdhury

Fourth Advisor's Name

Caesar Abi Shdid

Fifth Advisor's Name

Berrin Tansel

Keywords

construction safety, strategic safety improvement, total safety management, zero accidents, incident and injury free, structural equation modeling, strategic safety framework, safety culture, safety climate, behavior based safety

Date of Defense

4-8-2011

Abstract

In the U.S., construction accidents remain a significant economic and social problem. Despite recent improvement, the Construction industry, generally, has lagged behind other industries in implementing safety as a total management process for achieving zero accidents and developing a high-performance safety culture. One aspect of this total approach to safety that has frustrated the construction industry the most has been “measurement”, which involves identifying and quantifying the factors that critically influence safe work behaviors. The basic problem attributed is the difficulty in assessing what to measure and how to measure it – particularly the intangible aspects of safety. Without measurement, the notion of continuous improvement is hard to follow.

This research was undertaken to develop a strategic framework for the measurement and continuous improvement of total safety in order to achieve and sustain the goal of zero accidents, while improving the quality, productivity and the competitiveness of the construction industry as it moves forward. The research based itself on an integral model of total safety that allowed decomposition of safety into interior and exterior characteristics using a multiattribute analysis technique. Statistical relationships between total safety dimensions and safety performance (measured by safe work behavior) were revealed through a series of latent variables (factors) that describe the total safety environment of a construction organization. A structural equation model (SEM) was estimated for the latent variables to quantify relationships among them and between these total safety determinants and safety performance of a construction organization. The developed SEM constituted a strategic framework for identifying, measuring, and continuously improving safety as a total concern for achieving and sustaining the goal of zero accidents.

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