Online Program

Pressure to take shortcuts predicts injury-related absences among construction workers

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cassandra Okechukwu, ScD, MSN, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Seung-sup Kim, college of health sciences, Korea University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
Background: The 5.5 million construction workers continue to rank among the highest in terms of incidence of occupational injury. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that organizational safety practice and climate is an important determinant of workers’ safety practices and injury outcomes.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 1,775 construction workers, which assessed pressure to take shortcut and whether they got pressure came from contractor/employer, union steward, coworkers or due to fast-pace/tight schedule. Multiple logistic regression analyses controlled for job satisfaction and demographic, site, and trade characteristics.

Results: Exertion of pressure to take shortcut occurred most due to fast-paced work/tight schedule (79%) followed by pressure from contractor/employer (55.8%), coworkers (49.8%) and union steward (15.8%). Analyses revealed dose-response association between amount of pressure and injury-related absence among construction workers. Compared to those reporting never experiencing pressure, odds of injury-rated absence were significantly higher for those reporting pressure from (1) fast pace/tight schedule always (OR 1.83; 95%CI 1.06-3.16), usually (OR 1.76; 95%CI 1.22-2.54), and sometimes (OR 1.41; 95%CI 1.06-1.88) and (2) contractor/employer always (OR 5.29; 95%CI 1.56-17.93), usually (OR 2.13; 95%CI 1.39-3.28), and sometimes (OR 1.36; 95%CI 1.06-1.73). Pressure from co-workers was significant only when it was always (OR 3.16; 95%CI 1.36-7.35) and sometimes (OR 1.47; 95%CI 1.15-1.88). Associations with pressure from union steward were not statistically significant.  

Conclusion: Construction workers report pressure to take shortcuts in safety practice coming from multiple influencers at the workplace. Addressing these pressures are important to redressing high injury and injury-related absences among construction workers.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain from whom construction workers feel pressure to take shortcuts Describe how pressure to take shortcut relates to injury-related absences Describe one action to address occupational injury among construction workers

Keyword(s): Workforce Development, Occupational Health and Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working on issues related to occupational health and safety, especially in relation to construction workers' health for the past ten years. I am the primary investigator with the dataset associated with the study and have used it for numerous analyses related to construction workers' health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.