Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Matthew R. Hallowell

Abstract

Researchers and leading industry practitioners have turned to proactive safety metrics, such as safety leading indicators and safety climate, as predictors of future safety performance. Current academic research shows that the relationships between safety leading indicators and safety lagging indicators remain inconsistent, as well as the relationships between the dimensions of safety climate and safety performance. In addition, prior studies have measured the predictive capacity of these constructs separately even though they are logically associated with one another. Standardizing the measurement of proactive safety metrics and understanding how they relate to one another may facilitate consistency among the indicators or dimensions that define the two metrics, and such an understand may be helpful when pursuing efficient, multi-dimensional, and unified techniques for safety monitoring and prediction.

This dissertation therefore aims to (1) empirically validate the relationship between safety leading indicators and safety performance, (2) empirically validate the relationship between the dimensions of construction safety climate and safety performance, and (3) develop a hypothetical exploratory model based on the theoretical differences between safety leading indicators and safety climate and empirically investigate using the structural equation modeling technique with data collected in the field.

The first meta-analysis of construction safety leading indicators and safety climate dimensions is used to quantify the extent to which safety leading indicators and the dimensions of safety climate predict safety performance. The results of the two meta-analyses offer a set of common safety leading indicators and safety climate dimensions that positively correlate with safety performance.

Data collected from a survey of 106 construction workers at nine construction job sites in the US were used to build the structural equation model to investigate the association between safety leading indicators and safety climate. The results show a positive relationship between safety leading indicators and safety climate.

This dissertation is the first work that standardizes, defines, and measures these relationships. Future work might expand the hypothetical exploratory model to include other construction safety predictors (e.g., precursor analysis) and empirically validate the relationships among them to advance the accuracy of construction safety prediction.

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