Quantification of risk perception : development and validation of the construction worker risk perception (CoWoRP) scale

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-39
Journal / PublicationJournal of Safety Research
Online published12 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


Introduction: The construction sector is leading in the number of accidents and fatalities; risk perception is the key to driving these numbers. Previous construction safety studies on risk perception quantification have not considered affective risk perception of construction workers or conducted comprehensive reliability and validity testing. Thus, this study aims to fill this need by developing a psychometrically sound instrument – the Construction Worker Risk Perception (CoWoRP) Scale – to assess the risk perception of construction workers. Method: Four phases of scale development, namely, item development, factor analysis, reliability assessment, and validity assessment were conducted with the collection and testing of data from a group (n = 469) of voluntary construction workers in Hong Kong. Results: The CoWoRP Scale with 13 items was shown to have acceptable test–retest reliability, internal consistency reliability, as well as content, convergent, discriminant, and criterion-related validity. Also, the CoWoRP Scale was affirmed to have three dimensions of worker risk perception, namely risk perception – probability, risk perception – severity, risk perception – worry and unsafe. These three dimensions of worker risk perception were negatively correlated with their risk-taking behavior. Conclusions: The CoWoRP Scale is a reliable and valid instrument for measuring the risk perception of construction workers and is expected to facilitate the construction safety studies that take risk perception of construction workers into account. Practical applications: The CoWoRP Scale could serve as an aptitude test to identify the characteristics of construction workers most likely to perceive lower risk in risky work situations. In turn, this information could help safety management provide safety training programs to those workers to enhance their risk perception and thereby minimizing their risk-taking behavior, reducing unnecessary training costs, and improving the construction safety performance.

Research Area(s)

  • Construction industry, Construction workers, Risk perception, Risk-taking behavior, Scale development