Two significant industry safety reports, prepared by RMIT’s Centre for Construction Work Health and Safety Research were officially launched by the Australian Constructors Association (ACA).
Centre researchers Professors Helen Lingard, Nick Blismas and Ron Wakefield met with industry leaders during an official launch event hosted by the ACA in Sydney on 8 August, 2014.
The two reports address current Australian and international construction approaches and practices in the areas of safety in design and health and safety culture. An ACA media release states that the reports are considered an important step to achieving change in ‘the way the industry, its clients and stakeholders collectively think about and address safety issues’.
The Health and Safety Culture report (PDF 1.3 MB) provides a comprehensive review of published research about organisational culture and its potential to impact health and safety outcomes. It proposes the use of a culture framework that describes common components of workplace culture (for example leadership, organisational goals and values) and presents a culture maturity model that can be used to assess the current level of maturity of a safety culture within an organisation. Some Australian construction organisations have already begun to utilise this tool.
The report also incorporates a Safety Climate Assessment tool for which an extensive evaluation is being undertaken by the Centre prior to being released in 2015.
The Safety in Design report (PDF 1.2 MB) reviews current industry practices and suggests new approaches in the construction process within the design stage to improve safety outcomes both during construction and for end users. It is commonly acknowledged that greater opportunity exists earlier in the design process to make informed decisions that result in more effective safety risk control measures. The report considers barriers to effective safety in design outcomes, including the difficulty in applying linear risk management approaches in a dynamic design environment, the fragmented nature of the project delivery process and lack of detailed knowledge and understanding of complex construction processes – and associated safety risks – within the design sector. Available tools are considered in terms of their ability to support enhanced safety in design outcomes. These include the Centre’s own research, which explores opportunities for the use of an innovative knowledge capture tool that can be used to improve designers’ knowledge of safety requirements in specific construction processes (see the 'Design for safety knowledge information sheet' – PDF 233 KB). This has the potential to provide an enhanced decision support capability during the design process.