Construction Workers Risk-Taking Behaviour Model (CWRM) in Hong Kong

香港建築工人冒險行為模型 (CWRM) 之研究

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Awarding Institution
Award date9 Jan 2018


Construction accidents have long been considered an immitigable problem in the industry for over a decade. Many scholars have estimated that approximately 80% to 90% of occupational accidents are caused by individual-related factors or human behaviour. Meanwhile, studies on behaviour-based safety have widely acknowledged the risk-taking propensity of an individual as a determinant of his/her susceptibility to accidents.

Given the rarity of comprehensive studies on the relationship between risk-taking behaviour and construction accidents, this study aimed to build a construction workers risk-taking model (CWRM) to improve the present understanding of those factors that can influence the risk-taking behaviour of these workers as well as to formulate recommendations for improving their safety. This research adopted a mixed research method comprising both quantitative and qualitative approaches to achieve a complementary effect. By applying a quantitative approach in Phase I of the study, 181 validated datasets were harvested from major construction projects in Hong Kong and a CWRM was successfully established. Specific organisational, individual and workplace sub-factors were confirmed to have significant roles in the formation of risk-taking behaviour. Confirmatory factor analysis with structural equation modelling was adopted to interpret the quantitative data collected from the questionnaires and to test the proposed CWRM. A qualitative approach was applied in Phase II by conducting interviews and grounded theory was adopted to analyse the data, to test the relationships amongst different categories and to develop a ground model through three stages of coding. A total of 31 accident cases were reviewed by interviewing safety professionals and 404 quotes were obtained for analysis. Six super-safe workers (no any official accident records in the last five years) participated in the study, 107 quotes were collected and complementary results were obtained.

The results obtained from the quantitative and qualitative studies were integrated and the conclusions were drawn by using the mixed research method. No direct relationship was observed between the risk-taking intention and risk-taking behaviour of construction workers, whilst 10 organisational, individual and workplace sub-factors were shown to have direct and/or indirect relationships with risk-taking behaviour. Further analyses showed that other sub-factors, such as cognitive bias, financial needs with gambling style, risk perception and safety equipment availability and design, were directly associated with risk-taking behaviour. Different numbers of dependents can also influence the risk-taking propensity of construction workers. In sum, the CWRM highlighted a subtle relationship between relevant factors and risk-taking preference as well as provided some recommendations for managing the risk-taking behaviour of construction workers, such as a safety scheme for managing their addictive risk-taking behaviour. Other trends in risk taking and construction safety were also discussed. By advancing the literature on managing the risk-taking behaviour of workers, this study contributes to improving the safety of professionals in their working environment.

    Research areas

  • construction safety, risk taking, behaviour modelling