Zhang, Peihua, Helen Lingard, Nick Blismas, Ron Wakefield, & Brian Kleiner (2015, May). Work-health and safety-risk perceptions of construction-industry stakeholders using photograph-based Q methodology. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 141(5), 1-13. (doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000954) (Link: https://ascelibrary.org/doi/10.1061/%28ASCE%29CO.1943-7862.0000954)

Abstract: Work health and safety (WHS) on construction sites can be influenced by decisions made upstream from the construction stage. The effectiveness of WHS risk management relies on decision makers’ ability to decide appropriate strategies to mitigate/control risks. However, it is unclear whether upstream decision makers share similar WHS risk perceptions with those who undertake the construction work. This study used Q methodology to explore WHS risk perceptions of architects, engineers, construction managers, and WHS professionals. Photographs depicting different technologies/methods were used to capture professionals’ WHS risk judgments. Data were analyzed to identify the within-group and between-group similarity/difference in professionals’ WHS risk perceptions. The data-analysis result indicates the coexistence of within-group difference and similarity, as well as between-group difference and similarity in WHS risk perceptions. The research contributes to the body of knowledge by showing that WHS risk is subjective in nature and that social, psychological, and technical factors interact to shape subjective risk judgments. The research finding challenges traditional risk-management thinking, which assumes risk is objective and easily quantifiable.

Rita Peihua Zhang <rita.ph.zhang@gmail.com> is in the School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University [Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology], Melbourne, Australia.