Factors that influence the effective use of safe work method statements for high-risk construction work in Australia – A literature review

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Safety Science


Introduction: The purpose of this literature review was to gather the most current and up to date information on a construction worker's knowledge and understanding of the risk management documentation process relating to high-risk construction work through safe work method statements. The Australian construction industry holds a significant share in the number of people employed. This industry sector can be a dangerous place to conduct work and despite the decline in fatalities across the industry, workers are still being injured and killed at worksites. Method: A variety of literature material was reviewed comprising of a thorough database search on construction safety documentation applied across the sector and human behavioural factors that influence construction workers. Results: Results indicated that construction workers come from a range of diverse cultural backgrounds where some workers may have low literacy levels and be from non-English speaking environments. With the mandate of safety documentation for where high-risk construction work activities are being undertaken, several socio-psychological factors have been found to influence a construction worker's decision-making approach. These factors also known as human behaviour include knowledge, skills, and literacy, collectively have a distinct impact on task performance. Discussion: The significance of consultation, training and education should not be underestimated and treated as necessary development amongst the workforce to account for the various socio-psychological factors and aid with informed decision-making. Hence the importance of regular communication through social interactions and conversations with construction workers at worksites. The key findings from this literature review indicated that management are the key stakeholders in the construction industry. They are essential to developing the necessary skills amongst the workforce to educate, inform and reduce or eliminate fatalities in the sector.

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