Date of Award

Spring 12-1-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Matthew R. Hallowell

Second Advisor

Paul M. Goodrum

Third Advisor

Keith R. Molenaar

Abstract

This research investigates the cultural and personal challenges faced by Hispanic construction workers in construction safety while it introduces photovoice as a research method in this field. As a direct implication of photovoice, the research framework deviates from past studies by eliciting information directly from the workers without using presupposed ideas such as surveys and questionnaires. Instead, it uses pictures captured by the participants to have vivid discussions of their everyday activities and their past experiences. The findings corroborate past research in that unfair work distribution, language barriers, and machismo are some of the principal challenges. However, the study further suggests that Hispanic workers feel a need to perform their work quickly. This need is based on their background and past experiences and leads to negligent and unsafe behaviors at the job site. In addition, the results also suggest that close friendships between Hispanic workers can negatively impact communication of safety related issues. This happens because workers fear damaging their relationships through their criticism. One final contribution deals with the racial differentiation that Hispanic workers notice at the jobsite. This according to them explains in part the unfair work distribution issues discussed in previous research.

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