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Abeytunga, P K (1978) The role of the first line supervisor in construction safety: the potential for training, Unpublished PhD Thesis, Department of Construction and Environmental Health, Aston University.

  • Type: Thesis
  • Keywords: direct observation; document analysis; interview; safety; site management; supervisor; training
  • URL: http://publications.aston.ac.uk/id/eprint/13344/
  • Abstract:

    The research explored two broad questions: 1) the scope for influence of the first-line supervisor on safety in construction sites 2) the training needs of supervisors to exercise that influence. The characteristics of the construction industry and construction process which influence safety and the role of the supervisor were described. A problem-centred diagnostic method was developed to explore the role through the individual perceptions of supervisors. The research method consisted of three major steps: 1) the development of a list of "accident symptoms" from an analysis of a large sample of accident reports; 2) the detection of symptoms during on-site inspection, using the list as a guide, and their use as stimuli in a focussed interview to discover the factors influencing the supervisors’ perception and evaluation of safety; 3) the checking of the extent to which supervisors’ expectations are concurrent with those of other role incumbents. The method proved acceptable to supervisors and fruitful in generating relevant data. The range of variation within the industry prohibited the development of general descriptions of role and training needs, but a revised version of the research method is recommended for use in eliciting specific needs for individual supervisor/site units. The interview data were categorised and analysed to reveal 15 factors affecting the different stages of perception and evaluation. Their prevalence and influence on the supervisors’ role conception, role problems and the ways of coping with the problems are discussed. Safety training needs were found to be inextricably bound up with the total management of the construction site. Hence the optimum balance of change programmes to improve site safety, must depend upon analysis of individual supervisor/site units in the light of their management policy. Further development of the research to allow more quantitative analysis is suggested.