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Cameron, I, Hare, B and Duff, R (2013) An analysis of safety advisor roles and site safety performance. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 20(05), 505-21.

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: Advisor; Advisory services; Consultant; Health and safety; Job roles; Safety
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0969-9988
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-01-2012-0002
  • Abstract:
    Purpose – Present findings from a UK study, funded by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), on the relationship between safety advisor roles and safety performance. Design/methodology/approach – Roles and organisational factors for contractors’ safety advisors (independent variables) were derived from existing literature. The dependent variable was “safety performance”, measured by accident incidence rate (AIR). Data were provided by 101 contractors and variance of means analysis was conducted. Findings – Contractors using only external safety consultants had an average AIR approximately three times those with internal safety staff. However, simply increasing internal safety personnel did not lead to increased safety performance. Contractors, where at least one safety advisor had authority to give orders had a lower mean AIR than those who did not. Other significant variables were: delivering safety training to employees; vetting sub-contractors; and the inclusion of an environmental management role. Practical implications – Employing at least one full-time internal safety person is better than relying solely on a safety consultant. If these safety advisers report to senior management then they have a greater chance of influencing others to act safely or commit resources to manage safety. Delivery of training, vetting sub-contractors and including environmental duties should feature in safety advisor roles. Originality/value – The assumption that merely increasing safety personnel improves safety has been challenged. It is apparent from these findings that what the safety personnel actually do is more important than how many are employed. This is a major finding in relation to theory and practice which challenges previous research.