Professor Matthew Hallowell from the University of Colorado in Boulder visited the Centre for Construction Work Health and Safety Research (CCWHSR) to share his hazard recognition findings.
The findings, which identified ways to improve the hazard recognition skills of designers and construction workers, were shared during Professor Hallowell’s visit between August and October 2015.
Hallowell is the Beavers Endowed Professor of Construction Engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
His study revealed that workers and managers in the construction industry typically recognise approximately 45 per cent of hazards upon initial inspection of a construction site. Designers in the industry recognise, on average, 38 per cent of hazards.
The research also showed that using a set of mnemonics or memory aids can improve construction workers’ hazard recognition skills.
In particular, the study found that using tools supporting dynamic safety planning improves workers’ abilities to recognise and effectively communicate hazards by as much as 30 per cent.
Implementing hazard recognition training for designers increases the number of hazards identified and addressed during a project’s design stage.
This is especially true for hazards caused by pressure, as well as hazards that are biological, chemical and mechanical.
Hallowell highlighted the need for further research into hazard recognition training to improve safety in design, work packaging and planning, and pre-task planning.
The research study incorporated the Multiple Baseline experimental technique, adapted from the pharmaceutical industry.
The adaptation was done in collaboration with Professor Helen Lingard of the CCWHSR.
Lingard, Hallowell and colleagues published the methodology in the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, in their paper, ‘Multiple baseline testing: An experimental method for drawing causal inferences in construction engineering and management research’.
The paper describes the experimental method in an effort to improve the rigour of future safety research, especially for projects that seek to create and test new interventions.