Challenging standardisation by embracing ambiguities of site safety

Aboagye-Nimo, E. ORCID: 0000-0002-7651-744X and Raidén, A. ORCID: 0000-0001-7176-1139, 2019. Challenging standardisation by embracing ambiguities of site safety. In: C. Gorse and C.J. Neilson, eds., Proceedings of the 35th Annual ARCOM Conference. Leeds: Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM), pp. 546-555. ISBN 9780995546349

1280378_Raiden.pdf - Published version

Download (332kB) | Preview


Streamlining and standardising safety practices in the construction industry has always been the goal of many policymakers and large construction firms. This would understandably ensure that all practices on a wide range of projects adopt and implement similar procedures and regulations. In addition, this idea could possibly reduce the uncertainties and variations associated with interpretations of policies and regulations amongst project teams. Unfortunately, safety issues on construction projects and sites are widely acknowledged to differ from project to project and even activity to activity. For this reason, the implementation of a broad-brush approach has always proven difficult in the industry. Micro firms in the industry operate under the notion that projects and site conditions are always fluid and adapt their safety practices accordingly. The aim of this research is to the experiences and nuances in practices of workers of micro firms as they challenge standardisation by embracing ambiguities in project risks. Ethnographies were carried out on six construction sites in the South East and the East Midlands regions of the UK. Data collection tools adopted included observations, semi-structured interviews and conversations with tradesmen of selected micro firms. Findings from the ethnographic studies indicate that workers from small and micro firms from both regions acknowledge that the risks and hazards associated with various stages of projects change constantly. These changes are attributed to various reasons including site conditions, project changes, workers’ state of mind and overall site culture. Furthermore, the workers believe that standardising approaches for all projects will be ineffective especially if the teams should encounter extenuating circumstances that they have not planned for. The workers thus embrace the uncertainties in safety and adopt an approach the considers the ambiguities associated with construction practices thereby being able to use a dynamic approach to avoid accidents and injuries that could prove costly or fatal.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Description: Proceedings of the Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM) 35th Annual Conference, Leeds, 2-4 September 2019.
Creators: Aboagye-Nimo, E. and Raidén, A.
Publisher: Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM)
Place of Publication: Leeds
Date: 2019
ISBN: 9780995546349
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Schools > School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 06 Feb 2020 13:02
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 14:28
Related URLs:

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year