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Promoting and impeding safety - A qualitative study into direct and indirect safety leadership practices of constructions site managers

Journal article
Authors Martin Grill
K. Nielsen
Published in Safety Science
Volume 114
Pages 148-159
ISSN 0925-7535
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
Department of Psychology
Pages 148-159
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2019.01.0...
Keywords Leadership, Occupational safety, Managerial behaviour, Construction industry, Critical incident, transformational leadership, transactional leadership, occupational-safety, passive leadership, research agenda, work, behavior, model, context, memory
Subject categories Work Sciences, Environmental Health and Occupational Health

Abstract

Managerial leadership is an essential element in preventing occupational risk and increasing safety performance. The aim of the present study was to investigate construction site managers' experiences of how their leadership practices influence safety performance at construction sites in order to expand present knowledge on the influence of leadership on occupational safety. The critical incident technique was applied in interviews with 37 construction site managers. The results provide detailed descriptions of how construction site managers both promote and impede construction site safety performance through their leadership behaviour. The core leadership behaviours involved in positively influencing safety were found to be continuous planning and coordination, role modelling, monitoring work and proactively correcting deviations. Negative safety leadership was found to emerge when site managers were subjected to positive feedback to meet deadlines, minimise costs and refrain from unpopular leadership behaviour. Positive safety leadership may therefore be encouraged by minimizing such feedback and/or providing site managers with positive feedback for engaging in planning, coordinating, role modelling, and monitoring. It may also be encouraged by training and coaching site managers to acknowledge their leadership responsibilities, to communicate clear expectations, to execute individual and collective risk-assessment, and to execute proactive monitoring and feedback procedures.

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