Examining the Perception of Site Workers of Their Risk-Taking Behaviours on Construction Sites in Ghana

Frederick Owusu Danso, Kofi Agyekum, Patrick Manu, Emmanuel Adinyira , Divine Kwaku Ahadzie, Edward Badu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – Although many health and safety (H&S) studies have widely examined safety risk perception in the construction industry, few studies have explored how this perception influences site workers’ risk-taking behaviours during construction. This study examines how construction site workers perceive and judge safety risks in their risk-taking behaviours for intervention safety policy framework that may encourage safe work.
Design/methodology/approach – The study employed Pictorial-based Q-Methodology, which documented 63 picture scenarios of risk-taking behaviours from building sites and submitted them for validation from H&S inspectors. Thirty-three pictures emerged as having great potential to cause harm. After using these 33 pictures to elicit data from randomised site workers, the study used Frequency Tabulation, Relative Importance Index, and Kruskal-Wallis Test to analyse the collected data. To fully explain the analysed data for deeper understanding, the study conducted Focus Group Discussions with these site workers to share their thoughts on these pictures.
Findings – Two distinctive pictures emerged from these analyses, one showing a risk-taking behaviour likely to contract internal and skin disease and the other likely to fall from height. One of the implications is that construction site workers are unfamiliar with the dangerous contaminants in the materials they use to work, which can potentially harm their skin and internal organs. Hence, they continue engaging in risk-taking behaviours. The other is that they are aware of and can mention catastrophic physical injuries attached to their jobs. However, they continue engaging in risk-taking behaviours because of their safety plights and rely on the favour and mercies of a supreme being as coping strategies to escape from these physical injuries.
Originality/value – This study is original in that it uses picture scenarios of risk-taking behaviours to amass an empirical-based understanding of how site workers perceive and respond to H&S risks during construction. This piece of evidence is missing in the numerous research in this area. Again, the findings contribute to the state-of-the-art literature regarding risk-taking behaviours on construction sites.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEngineering Construction and Architectural Management
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2023


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