Volume 16, Issue 6 (1-2020)                   ioh 2020, 16(6): 91-101 | Back to browse issues page

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Zeinalabedin Tehrani V, Rezaeifar O, Gholhaki M, Khosravi Y. Investigating the Impact of Safety Investment on Safety Culture in Construction Projects - Case Study of Power Plant Construction Projects. ioh. 2020; 16 (6) :91-101
URL: http://ioh.iums.ac.ir/article-1-2480-en.html
Department of Civil Engineering, Semnan University, Semnan, Iran , orezayfar@semnan.ac.ir
Abstract:   (1124 Views)
Background and aims: Construction industry is known as one of the most perilous industries in that it is involving the hazardous projects as well as the high manpower activities correlating with a high rate of work-related accidents. On the other hand, the high rate of accidents in the industry demanding a big budget for the damages; therefore, safety is strongly emphasized in the construction industry projects.
One of the large-scale projects is the construction project of power plant in the construction industry; since they are involved in various administrative tasks, they are extremely complicated and consequently highly susceptible to accidents. Iran hold 15th site in the worldchr('39') rank in terms of electricity generation and as a developing country needs to boost its electricity production by about five percent annually. On the other hand, some factors indicate the necessities of a focus on promoting safety and a safety culture in these projects; the risky nature of power plant construction, the increment in the number of contracting companies, the size of projects and the complexity of work procedures, and the natural outsourcing of activities, to name but a few.
The accidents of the construction industry caused by a variety of causes are generally categorized into two groups, those which are caused by dangerous situations or physics and ones with the reason correlated to the unsafe behaviors or the actions. Accordingly, many studies have focused on the behavior of individuals as one of the first-line factor of accidents, and it is believed that fostering an appropriate safety culture in the organization and individuals is a crucial strategy lessening the work-related accidents. The safety culture of an organization is the product of group and individual values, perspectives, anticipations, adequacies, and behavior patterns that ascertain the extent of their commitment to the organization proficiency, health style, and safety management. In general, the organizations with a strong safety culture which are gradually enhancing by time effectively prevent from individual and organizational disasters. According to several studies, there are disparate factors affecting the safety culture of the organization and the individuals. Given to the results of numerous studies, the safety investment in the projects has an impact on the safety culture and the safety performance. However, the degree of influence of each safety factor on the culture improvement is not assessed in the previous studies. Furthermore, it is necessary to recognize the effective type of investment impacting on the enhancement of the safety culture, in that the amount of safety investment in each project and the contracting company has limitations. The present study aimed at evaluating the impact of various safety investment methods on improving safety culture in the construction industry projects and for this reason we investigate the thermal power plant projects.
Methods: The current study inspecting the interactive effects of safety investment factors embodying the cost of safety training, the safety incentives, the safety personnel and the safety equipment on the safety culture in the power plant construction projects in Iran. The Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) method explores the interactive effects of various types of safety investments on the safety culture. The SEM as a multivariate method helps us to simultaneously investigate the relationship between independent and dependent structures in a theoretical model. The SEM is one of the most useful techniques analyzing the relationships between variables. Although variables are probably hypothetical or invisible (hidden variables), this method can specify complex relationships between variables.
Among different types of SEM method, the Partial Least Squares SEM (PLS-SEM) method was selected for this study since the data of the study were abnormal and abnormal data can be analyzed using PLS method. Additionally, the PLS method does not require a big sample size and it can compute the hidden structures in the small statistical population by linearly combining the observable variables through their weight relations. The PLS method can also be used both to evaluate hidden (or dependent) variables measured by observed variables (or indices) and to evaluate the relationship between variables (i.e., path coefficients of hypotheses). The software used in this study is Smart PLS Version 2.0.M3.
To achieve the objectives of the research, a conceptual model with four hypothetical paths was presented to investigate the impact of different types of investment methods on safety and ten indicators were used to evaluate the safety culture. The four hypotheses of this study including 1- Cost for safety training has a significant impact on the safety culture 2- Cost for promoting safety and incentives has a significant impact on the safety culture 3- Cost for safety personnel has a significant impact on the safety culture 4- Costs for safety equipment have a significant impact on the safety culture.
Structured questionnaire was used to collect data needed to evaluate the safety culture measurement model and safety investment. The statistical population is the contracting companies involved in the construction of gas, steam and combined cycle power plants to collect the required data. In order to collect the required research information, we made a connection with the project manager of 28 power plant projects, 19 of which participated in the study through which we receive the questionnaires from 62 specialized contractors. Having utilized the data collected from power plant construction projects, the proposed model was empirically tested using the SEM-PLS method and it was determined which method had a significant impact on improving the safety culture.
Results: according to the results of data analysis in this study, the factor analysis of all questions for assessing the indices of the safety culture is between 0.6 and 0.9 which is more than 0.4 and indicates that these criteria are suitable for measuring indicators. Also the results of the measurement model parameters have acceptable reliability and validity. The results of the structural model also show that overall spending on investing in safety improves the safety culture in projects and shows three hypotheses of impact of cost of training, cost of incentives and cost of safety personnel with the path coefficients of +0.46, +0.26 and +0.09, respectively. They were confirmed with 95% confidence level. The path coefficient of +0.46 in the first hypothesis indicates that the investment in the safety training accounts for 46% of the variation in the safety culture variable. Hence, given the significant amount of path coefficients for this hypothesis, it can be concluded that increased investment in the safety training by contractors in power plant construction projects has a significant impact on improving their safety culture. +0.26 as the amount of the path coefficient of the second hypothesis showed that the costs of safety incentives in projects has an impact on the safety culture. Considering the path coefficient of +0.09 for the third hypothesis, which is not a significant amount, it can be concluded that the cost of safety personnel has a small impact on the safety culture; accordingly, merely compulsory investments such as costs for safety personnel, have little impact on improving the safety culture. The fourth hypothesis, namely, the effect of cost of safety equipment on safety culture was not confirmed by t = 1.384 on the bases of significant coefficient. Although this result indicates that the cost of the safety equipment reduces the accidents, does not directly have an impact on improving the safety culture.
Conclusion: Among the various methods of investing in the safety, the cost of safety training has the most significant effect on improving the safety culture of contractors, indicating that the safety training positively improves safety participation, awareness, knowledge, behavior, and motivation. The safety training directly effect on the safety culture. After the cost of safety training, the cost of safety incentives and publicity owned the second place in improving the safety culture. The costs for safety personnel have also been relatively influential on safety culture. The costs for safety equipment have no impact on improving the safety culture. The costs for safety equipment would be effective in the project if the safety training be emphasized to improve contractor safety performance. The results of this study help construction industry contractors to optimize safety culture, therefore, reduce work-related accidents by optimally spending on the safety.
The first limitation is that the research findings is not generalizable. As mentioned earlier, the culture of safety varies across different regions and industries. The findings of this research are based on the information of the construction of power plant projects in Iran and these findings should be interpreted within this limited context. The current study suffers from the other limitation which is the small sample size; since there is limited number of power plant projects and the accountability of the contractors is low. It is worth noting that PLS method, which is the most appropriate method of the structural equation analysis for the data with small sample size, was utilized to solve this problem. Moreover, this study merely investigates the impact of four investment methods. In the future for the future studies, by collecting additional datasets, different factors can be explored in other projects and regions and presented with separated models.
Full-Text [PDF 678 kb]   (157 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Assessment of Management Systems and Systematic Audits
Received: 2018/06/27 | Accepted: 2018/12/26 | Published: 2020/04/20

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