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Abstract

Hazard recognition is an essential element for successful accident and injury prevention. However, studies have revealed that construction workers fail to identify a large proportion of hazards in their workplaces. Therefore, understanding factors that adversely affect hazard recognition performance is a fundamental step towards improving safety performance. Given the unique, complex, and dynamic nature of construction operations, past research has provided anecdotal evidence suggesting that distraction may be correlated to undesirable safety outcomes such as injuries. For example, Hinze’s distraction theory suggests that workers are more likely to be involved in an accident while they are distracted. However, these theoretical propositions have not been empirically tested. To address this knowledge gap, the objective of this research was to test the hypothesis that distracted workers will identify fewer hazards than undistracted workers. To test the hypothesis, an experiment was conducted with 70 construction workers where the participants were randomly assigned to a distracted or an undistracted group. Sixteen pre-selected case images, representing real construction operations, were used to evaluate the hazard recognition performance of the workers. For the distracted group, distraction was induced using visual stimuli presented as unrelated video clips during the hazard recognition activity. The data analysis results showed that the distracted workers recognized a smaller proportion of hazards than the undistracted workers (p-value = 0.003). The research findings indicate that reducing workplace distractions can be a useful intervention to improve the safety performance of construction workers such as hazard recognition levels.
The Distracted Worker: Effect on Hazard Recognition and Safety Performance
Mostafa Namian1; Alex Albert2; and Jing Feng3
1Graduate Research Assistant, Dept. of Civil, Construction, and Environmental
Engineering, North Carolina State Univ., 2501 Stinson Dr., Raleigh, NC 27695. E-
mail: mnamian@ncsu.edu
2Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering,
North Carolina State Univ., 2501 Stinson Dr., Raleigh, NC 27695. E-mail:
alex_albert@ncsu.edu
3Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychology, North Carolina State Univ., 2310 Stinson
Dr., Raleigh, NC 27695. E-mail: jing_feng@ncsu.edu
Abstract
Hazard recognition is an essential element for successful accident and injury
prevention. However, studies have revealed that construction workers fail to identify
a large proportion of hazards in their workplaces. Therefore, understanding factors
that adversely affect hazard recognition performance is a fundamental step towards
improving safety performance. Given the unique, complex, and dynamic nature of
construction operations, past research has provided anecdotal evidence suggesting
that distraction may be correlated to undesirable safety outcomes such as injuries. For
example, Hinze’s distraction theory suggests that workers are more likely to be
involved in an accident while they are distracted. However, these theoretical
propositions have not been empirically tested. To address this knowledge gap, the
objective of this research was to test the hypothesis that distracted workers will
identify fewer hazards than undistracted workers. To test the hypothesis, an
experiment was conducted with 70 construction workers where the participants were
randomly assigned to a distracted or an undistracted group. Sixteen pre-selected case
images, representing real construction operations, were used to evaluate the hazard
recognition performance of the workers. For the distracted group, distraction was
induced using visual stimuli presented as unrelated video clips during the hazard
recognition activity. The data analysis results showed that the distracted workers
recognized a smaller proportion of hazards than the undistracted workers (p-value =
0.003). The research findings indicate that reducing workplace distractions can be a
useful intervention to improve the safety performance of construction workers such as
hazard recognition levels.
Keywords: Construction safety; Hazard recognition; Hazard identification;
Distraction; Injury prevention.
INTRODUCTION
Despite recent improvements in safety management practices, an unacceptable
number of fatal and non-fatal construction injuries continue to be reported. In the
United States, the number of fatal construction injuries increased by 27 percent
between 2011 and 2015 (BLS 2016; BLS 2013). In addition, more than 200,000 non-
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fatal construction injuries were reported in 2014 (BLS 2015). These accidents have
severe tangible and intangible costs to workers, employers, and the broader society
(Ikpe et al. 2012). Ahmed et al. (2006) quantified the cost of construction accidents in
the United States to exceed $48 billion every year.
Researchers have reviewed and analyzed construction accidents reports to
gain a deeper understanding of the causes of accidents. In more than 70% of the
cases, workers’ unsafe behavior has been identified as an important contributing
factor (Rasmussen 1997; Haslam et al. 2005). Past research has also revealed that
workers often indulge in unsafe behavior when they are unable to recognize
workplace hazards (Carter and Smith 2006). In fact, past studies have shown that over
42% of construction injuries are associated with worker-related factors including poor
hazard recognition (Haslam et al. 2005). However, when workers are able to identify
and manage hazards and the associated safety risks, most construction accidents are
preventable (Albert and Hallowell 2012).
Unfortunately, past research has shown that construction workers fail to
identify a large proportion of construction hazards in typical work environments
(Albert et al. 2014; Bahn 2013; Carter and Smith 2006). Therefore, to enhance
construction safety and prevent occupational injuries, a proper understanding of
factors that impact hazard recognition is essential.
One critical factor that has been hypothesized to affect hazard recognition and
safety performance is distraction (Namian et al. 2016c). Distraction is ubiquitous in
construction workplaces, and the body of literature argues that it is a key element in
several accidents. For example, according to Hinze’s distraction theory, workers are
more prone to be involved in an accident when they are distracted. The theory argues
that workers that are distracted by productivity pressures may be more susceptible to
experiencing injuries since their ability to focus on safety hazards is often
compromised (Hinze 1997). Similarly, Mitropoulos et al. (2009) argued that when
workers perform cognitively demanding tasks that deplete their cognitive resources,
errors and accidents are more likely to occur.
Although the adverse effects of distraction have been hypothesized in the
construction literature, no empirically studies have been conducted to understand the
effects of distraction in construction. The current study aimed to investigate and
understand the effect of distraction on hazard recognition performance in construction
using an experimental approach.
LITERATURE REVIEW
Past research has identified unsafe worker actions as a significant cause of
more than 70% of construction accidents (Rasmussen 1997; Haslam et al. 2005). In
most of these accident cases, workers did not intentionally indulge in unsafe behavior
(Tixier et al. 2014). Rather, workers adopted unsafe behavior when they are unable to
recognize safety hazards or perceive the associated safety risks (Carter and Smith
2006).
To ensure safety, workers must successfully identify and manage safety
hazards (Albert et al. 2014; Namian et al. 2016a). When workers fail to recognize
hazards, they often are unable to adopt responsive safety measures – which increases
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the likelihood of injuries (Cheng et al. 2012). Therefore, hazard recognition can be
considered as the most fundamental element of any safety initiative.
To provide context for this article, the next sections discuss the issue of poor
hazard recognition in construction and present some background information of
distractions.
Hazard recognition performance in construction
Despite the importance of hazard recognition, past research has unanimously
found that construction workers fail to recognize a large number of safety hazards. A
recent study revealed that construction workers in the United States, despite receiving
safety training, were unable to identify 46% of hazards (Namian et al. 2016b). In a
similar study, Albert et al. (2014) reported that, on average, workers recognized less
than 50% of safety hazards.
Outside the United States, the issue of poor hazard recognition has been
highlighted by researchers in Australia and the United Kingdom. For example,
researchers in Australia demonstrated that novice workers failed to recognize up to
54% of work-related safety hazards (Bahn et al. 2013). Similarly, a study from the
United Kingdom showed that at least one out of three hazards remained unrecognized
in particular construction projects (Carter and Smith 2006). Therefore, an
understanding of factors that can affect hazard recognition is fundamental to
improving safety performance.
Distraction
Construction workplaces are dynamic and rapidly changing environments –
where distracting stimuli are ubiquitous. When individuals are distracted, their
performance in the primary task (e.g., hazard recognition) often suffers. This is
because distractions divert and consume some of the limited attentional resources that
are available to workers – to perform any cognitive activity. As a result, distraction
has been shown to be associated with slower reaction times, higher error rates, and
lower work quality (Kim et al. 2010).
Numerous studies have examined the impact of distraction in other domains
such as transportation, aviation, and medicine (Rivera-Rodriguez and Karsh 2010;
Young and Salmon 2012). For example, the Federal Highway Administration (2003)
has reported a strong relationship between distracted driving and accident likelihood.
In construction, however, only subjective and theoretical propositions are available
on the effect of distraction. For example, the Hinze’s distraction theory (Hinze 1997)
argues that workers who are distracted by other factors such as productivity pressures
are more likely to experience injury. The current study fills the knowledge gap by
conducting an experiential study to test the theoretical propositions found in the
literature using empirical data.
MOTIVATION AND RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
As already discussed, proper hazard recognition is essential for construction
safety. However, a large number of hazards remain unrecognized in practice. In
addition, construction workers are exposed to distractions that are ubiquitous in
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rapidly changing and dynamic work environments. Despite the importance, past
research has not examined the effect of distraction on construction workers’ safety
performance or hazard recognition ability. Therefore, the primary purpose of this
research was to investigate the effect of distraction on the hazard recognition
performance of construction workers. Accordingly, the following hypothesis was
tested.
Research Hypothesis: Distracted workers recognize fewer hazards compared
with undistracted workers.
RESEARCH METHODS
Seventy construction workers from three independent projects were recruited
one-at-a-time over a 12-month period. For each study participant, first demographic
information was gathered following which the experiment was conducted.
Demographic information included the age, years of construction experience, and
trade focus of the participants. In the experimental phase, four case images for which
hazards were pre-identified were randomly selected out of a pool of 16 for the hazard
recognition assessment. All 16 photographs used in the experiment were captured
from real construction projects and were successfully used in past research to reliably
assess the hazard recognition ability of workers (Albert et al. 2013; Zuluaga et al.
2016).
Distracting stimuli
As part of the study, the participants in the distracted group had to be exposed
to distracting stimuli during the hazard recognition activity. Researchers in other
domains have used several methods to induce distraction. These methods include
mental tasks such as performing arithmetic calculations (Ersal et al. 2010), visual
stimuli such as videos (Pool et al. 2003), and auditory stimuli such as music
(Furnham and Bradley 1997).
As hazard recognition is largely a visual activity, visual stimuli were selected
as the preferred method for inducing distracting. In addition, visual distractions are
prevalent in construction workplaces. Past research has also demonstrated that video
clips attract more attention and can induce higher levels of distraction (Chattington et
al. 2010). Hence, the researchers decided to use video clips rather than static pictures
in the current study.
Twenty-five videos with different contents such as sports, nature, and art were
selected for this study. Previous efforts have also used similar videos themes in other
domains (Al-Khotani et al. 2016; Yoo et al. 2011) to induce distraction. The video
clips were pre-examined by the experimenters avoid using videos depicting high-risk
activities (e.g., unsafe driving or violence). In addition, a pilot study was conducted
where six graduate civil engineering students participated in order to select video
clips that induced the highest levels of distraction from the initial set of 25 videos.
Based on their self-reported distraction level, 16 video clips were selected to induce
distraction for the workers in the distracted condition.
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Participants
Seventy construction workers were recruited from three independent projects
located in North Carolina. The projects included a large commercial hotel, the
renovation of a recreation facility, and the construction of apartment complexes; each
worth $4.5 Million, $35 Million, and $35 Million respectively. The experiments were
conducted in the construction break-rooms to eliminate external sources of distraction
(e.g., truck noise, equipment sound, or the interaction of other workers). Overall, the
participants had 12 years of construction experience on average including electricians
(26%), piping and plumbing workers (18%), mechanicals (16%), laborers (10%), and
others (30%). The participants then were randomly assigned to two groups: (I)
distracted group and (II) undistracted group using a pre-determined random
assignment plan. Both the groups included 35 workers each. Based on the 2-sample
test conducted to analyze the data, there was no statically significant difference
between the age (p-value > 0.05) and the number of years in the construction industry
(p-value > 0.05) for both groups.
Data Collection
As mentioned above, the workers were randomly assigned to either the
distracted or the undistracted condition. The randomization process ensures that the
experimental groups (i.e., distracted and undistracted) are equivalent (Park 2014;
Rubin 1974) and balances other potential confounding variables (e.g., age and
experience, safety training, and emotional state) across the treatment and control
groups (Blackston 2002).
The experiment session began with collecting demographic information
followed by hazard recognition activity. In the first section, age, years of construction
experience, and trade focus were gathered. Then, in the next section, four case images
were randomly shown to the participants. Beside each case image, either a video clip
for the distracted group or an empty space holder for the undistracted group was
presented. This ensured that the distracting stimuli were only present for the workers
assigned to the distracted condition. Workers were asked to identify hazards depicted
in each case image within 60 seconds or less in order to evaluate their hazard
recognition performance.
Hazard Recognition Performance Evaluation
For each case image used in the experiment, workers in both groups were given 60
seconds to identify the hazards. The identified hazards were then recorded for each
worker for each of the four case images. Eq. 1 was used to calculate the hazard
recognition performance for four pictures and the average percentage across the
images was recorded as the hazard recognition performance of a particular worker.
The case images were successfully used in a previous study and were examined by a
panel of 17 construction safety professionals (Albert et al. 2014). The case images
depicted a wide variety of construction activities such as grinding, welding,
excavation, cutting, crane and heavy equipment operation, and others.
 =

× 100 (1)
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where  is hazard recognition performance of workers for one evaluated
picture;  is the number of identified hazards by a worker for that case image;
and  is the total number of identified hazards for the same case photographs
recognized by a panel of 17 construction experts.
DATA ANALYSIS APPROACH
The collected demographic information (i.e., age and years of construction
experience) of two groups was not significantly different – which provided evidence
that the randomization approach for participant assignment was successful in
producing equivalent groups.
The research hypothesis predicted that distraction will adversely affect hazard
recognition performance. Accordingly, it was expected that the distracted workers
will recognize a smaller proportion of the hazards. The hazard recognition
performances of two groups were computed and then analyzed to test the research
hypothesis. Based on skewness and kurtosis test, the collected samples for the
undistracted group and the distracted group were normally distributed (p-value >
0.05). Therefore, a parametric two-sample t-test was applied to test the research
hypothesis. As shown in Table 1, the undistracted group (hazard recognition
performance = 43%) was able to identify a larger proportion of hazards than the
workers in the distracted group (hazard recognition performance = 36%). This
difference (more than 7%) in performance was statistically different (p-value < 0.01)
indicating that the research hypothesis is supported by the experimental evidence. In
other words, distraction decreases the ability of workers to identify hazards and
consequently increases the possibility of adverse outcomes of their safety
performance such as accidents.
Table 1: Analysis results
Hazard Recognition Performance
Experimental Condition n M (Mn) SD
p-value
Undistracted 35 42.71% (40.41%) 10.20%
7.19% 0.003*
Distracted 35 35.52% (34.24%) 9.59%
Overall 70 39.11% (38.41%) 10.48%
n – No. of workers; M (Mn) – Mean (Median); SD – Std. Deviation; - Effect size
* significance level: p-value < 0.05
RESEARCH IMPLICATIONS
The current research represents an empirical effort to investigate the effect of
distraction on a leading indicator of safety performance – the hazard recognition
performance of construction workers. Our findings have important practical and
theoretical implications for the construction industry and future research studies.
First and foremost, the research results have provided strong empirical
evidence indicating that workplace distractions in construction can lead to adverse
safety outcomes. Specifically, when workers are exposed to distractors, they allocate
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a proportion of their attentional resources to the distraction which in turn reduces the
proportion of hazards recognized. Because hazard recognition is an essential
prerequisite to effective safety management, workplace distractions may adversely
and undesirably increase the likelihood of occupational injuries.
Second, the study findings highlight and alert the importance and necessity of
reducing construction workplace distraction – whenever possible – in order to
improve workplace safety. This need becomes more significant for employers and
contractors as they are increasingly encouraged to introduce new technologies within
construction such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs; also called drones) and
Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) for project monitoring, topographical surveying
of projects, inspections, and material transportation and management (Irizarry and
Costa 2016; Namian et al. 2018; Boroujeni and Han 2017). These technologies
provide revolutionary opportunities; however, practitioners and professionals must be
cognizant of their adverse effects as a potential distractor (Tatum and Liu 2017).
Recent research in other domains has raised similar concerns with the broad use of
UAVs – in the area including distracted driving, the safety of pedestrians, and
recreational sports (e.g., Kim et al. 2017). The adverse effect of emerging
technologies is not limited to drones but other advanced gadgets and technologies
including augmented and mixed reality headsets, wearable sensors, and smartphones.
Finally, whenever eliminating distractions is not plausible, safety managers
and contractors may seek effective interventions to minimize the adverse impacts of
workplace distractions to control the associated outcomes. For example, employers
may provide tailored safety training to educate workers on the adverse effects of
working in distracted conditions and promote behaviors that limit unnecessary
distractions – such as the use of mobile devices and portable tablets. Employers may
also manage to schedule high-risk and cognitive-demanding work tasks when the
level of distraction is limited and relatively low. Employers may also consider
decreasing employer-induced distractions such as extreme work pressures that divert
attention from safety issues including hazard recognition.
CONCLUSION
Proper hazard recognition performance is fundamental to the prevention of
occupational injuries. The likelihood of injuries increases when workers are not able
to recognize and control workplace hazards (Carter and Smith 2006). Unfortunately,
several studies across the world revealed that a large proportion of hazards remain
unrecognized in workplaces that expose workers to undesirable risk (Albert et al.
2014; Bahn 2013; Carter and Smith 2006). Therefore, understanding factors that
adversely affect hazard recognition performance is a fundamental step towards
improving safety performance. Given the unique, complex, and dynamic nature of
construction operations, past research has provided anecdotal evidence suggesting
that distraction may be correlated to undesirable safety outcomes such as injuries.
Although distraction-free environments are desired, in practice, construction
workers are frequently exposed to numerous attention-diverting distractions. The
objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of distraction on hazard recognition
performance – which is a leading indicator of safety performance.
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In the study, 70 construction workers were recruited to participate in an
experiment where their hazard recognition performance was evaluated in the presence
and absence of distractions. Distraction was induced using 16 video clips, and hazard
recognition performance was assessed using construction case images. Our findings
showed that workers in the distracted condition identified fewer hazards than workers
in the undistracted condition. The results of the study address a gap in the existing
literature by empirically examining the effect of distractions on hazard recognition
performance. However, in this study, the type and level of distraction were not
measured assuming that all participants were equally distracted. In reality, an
identical distractor could cause different levels of distractions which vary from
worker to worker. Moreover, construction workers are typically exposed to different
types of distractions (i.e., visual and auditory stimuli). Therefore, further
investigations using different types of distractors and new methods to quantify
distraction at the personal level will be beneficial to adopt proactive safety measures.
Overall, the research findings suggested that distractions adversely affect the
hazard recognition performance of construction workers – which may impede their
ability to assess the associated safety risk and adopt responsive safety measures.
Therefore, employers must reduce construction workplace distraction including
employer-induced distractors – whenever possible, and actively consider
interventions such as tailored safety training to reduce the adverse effects of
distractions on safety performance. The findings of this study will be beneficial for
construction professionals, practitioners, and researchers seeking to improve hazard
recognition and safety performance within the construction industry.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors thank the project managers, superintendents, and workers who
assisted and participated in this study. This research would not have been possible
without their help and support.
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... Although there is much debate on what factors impact the perception of safety risks (Alomari et al. 2018), there is consensus among safety researchers that higher levels of perceived risks contribute to safer behaviors (Albert et al. 2020;Ayhan and Tokdemir 2019;Carter and Smith 2006;Jazayeri and Dadi 2020;Namian et al. 2018a;Rashid and Behzadan 2018;Sun et al. 2020). Safety risk perception is subjective, but it is mainly considered as the product of estimated frequency and severity of potentially harmful outcomes To fulfill the objectives of this study, a widely adopted instrument (Hallowell 2010a; Jazayeri and Dadi 2020; Namian et al. 2018b) was used to quantify the perceived safety risk of workers (Table 6). ...
... The collected data included several variables such as fatigue elements, hazard recognition, and safety risk perception. All of these variables are continuous in nature (Jazayeri and Dadi 2020; Namian et al. 2018a;Winwood et al. 2005). However, to measure fatigue among construction workers, a 7-point Likert scale was utilized, which is ordinal. ...
... In other words, short-term aspects of fatigue fundamentally impact the hazard recognition and safety risk perception of workers. Although hazard recognition and safety risk perception performance are cognitive processes (Albert et al. 2014;Mitropoulos et al. 2009;Namian et al. 2018a), they are mainly impacted by physical aspects of fatigue. This is, on one hand, surprising that chronic, concentration, and motivation subscales did not significantly predict safety performance. ...
... Table 2 presents the instrument used to calculate participants' perceived safety risks. Safety researchers are in agreement that underestimation of safety risks (i.e., low levels of perceived risks) can lead to workers' unsafe behaviors (Albert et al. 2020b;Carter and Smith 2006;Jazayeri and Dadi 2020;Namian et al. 2018a;Sun et al. 2020). Therefore, lower levels of perceived safety risks can increase the likelihood of unsafe behavior among workers. ...
Construction is one of the most hazardous industries with high fatal and nonfatal accidents rates. However, many accidents could be prevented by improving workers' safety performance. Numerous factors impact their performance, such as safety culture and attitude, distraction, and personal characteristics. Among these factors, age has been widely cited in past research, but there is no unanimity among researchers regarding its impact on workers' safety performance. Both positive and negative impacts of age on safety performance have been reported in studies, along with several researchers who found no significant difference in safety performance among workers of different ages. To demystify the impact of age on construction workers' safety performance, this research hypothesizes that the relationship between age and safety performance is mediated by other factors such as experience and fatigue. A survey was conducted among 135 randomly selected participants from 38 construction sites in Iran. The survey consisted of three sections, namely demographic information, subjective fatigue assessment, and safety performance measurement. Statistical analysis revealed that the relationship between age and safety performance is mediated by experience and fatigue, explaining the disparity among past research findings. The findings of this study highlight that age does not have a direct impact, but an indirect impact mediated by multiple factors, on workers' safety performance. Future research must consider mediating factors when studying the role of age in workers' safety performance. The results suggest that researchers and practitioners should focus on other factors such as fatigue and safety training, which employers can positively influence.
... To this end, the fundamental step is identifying the contributing and detrimental safety factors in a construction project. Examples of research conducted in this category are (1) studies focusing on accident theories, including Domino Theory [46], Hinze's Distraction Theory [11,47], and human error theory [48]; (2) studies that apply models to investigate accidents' causes such as the multiple causation model [49] and accident root cause tracing model [50]; (3) research on factors causing specific accident types, such as falls [51] and electrocution [52]; (4) the application of technology in detecting the causes such as image processing [53] and machine learning [54]; and (5) survey-based studies asking construction professionals [55]. ...
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Persisting high rates of worksite accidents and injuries in construction projects indicate the urge to investigate the root causes and revisit safety practices in this industry. Consonance in perceptions and safety approaches has been identified as a fundamental factor in boosting projects’ safety. Discrepancies between how different elements of construction safety are perceived and handled by the key stakeholders, namely managers and workers, could be detrimental to worksite safety. This research studied how, if at all, the perception of four key construction safety components, including 33 sets of pairwise questions, is different in the lens of managers from workers. To explore safety perceptions, 133 construction professionals in the United States participated in the study and expressed their perceptions toward their own and counterparts’ (1) safety knowledge, (2) safety culture and commitment, (3) safety performance, and (4) safety support and communication. The results indicated that massive gaps in safety perceptions do exist between the construction managers and workers (26 out of 33 areas), and the magnitude varies for different safety elements. In all four categories, both managers and workers perceived a superior safety position for themselves and inferior for their counterparts. Further investigations revealed that the common ground between managers and workers is their consensus on proper communication and safety training as the key solutions to address such discrepancies. Construction safety professionals and practitioners can benefit from the results of this study to establish and implement strategies to foster communication and provide more effective safety training to bridge the existing gaps in the perception of safety by managers and workers.
... As a consequence of the unsolvable nature of the E-H dilemma, workers may ruminate about the dilemma, its components, and potential solutions. Rumination has been shown to impede executive functions (Cropley & Collis, 2020), that is the cognitive processes that allow concentrating or focusing on activities (Diamond, 2013), which might be essential for preventing injuries (Namian et al., 2018). Also, rumination may foster depressive symptoms via irritation (Klinger, 1975;Müller et al., 2004). ...
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Work and organizational psychology (WOP) research has to date mostly focused on people privileged to have the choice between several attractive job options and less on people who are restricted in their job choice (e.g., due to their qualification or personal contingencies) and have to choose from fewer and often less‐than‐optimal jobs. Often, the jobs available to the latter are characterized by precarious employment and hazardous working conditions which can put them in the difficult situation of having to choose between a health‐threatening job and possible unemployment. Building on interdisciplinary literature, we propose the employment‐health dilemma (E‐H dilemma) as a framework for analyzing this intrapersonal conflict of having to choose between employment (incurring health threats) and health (incurring economic threats) and discussing potential antecedents and consequences of the E‐H dilemma at the societal, organizational, and individual level. We outline the implications of the E‐H dilemma and make a case for examining the full spectrum of job choice situations in WOP research. In doing so, we demonstrate what WOP can gain by embracing a more inclusive and multidisciplinary approach: Uncovering processes in their entirety (e.g., job choice decisions of all people) and strengthening the role and legitimacy of WOP in society.
... Noisy or otherwise distracting environments may also increase risk. One experimental study performed in the related sector of construction (where most electrical work occurs [4]) showed that distracted construction workers detected fewer hazards, had lower risk perception, and demonstrated fewer safety behaviors [33]. In an electrical industry-specific study, Austin and colleagues [13] found that 20% of respondents said customers create distractions that can impact the risk of inadvertently working on live circuits. ...
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Injuries sustained while performing electrical work are a significant threat to the health and safety of workers and occur frequently. In some jurisdictions, non-fatal serious incidents have increased in recent years. Although significant work has been carried out on electrical safety from a human factor perspective, reviews of this literature are sparse. Thus, the purpose of this review is to collate and summarize human factors implicated in electrical safety events. Articles were collected from three databases (Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar), using the search terms: safety, electri*, human factors, and arc flash. Titles and abstracts were screened, full-text reviews were conducted, and 18 articles were included in the final review. Quality checks were undertaken using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool and the Critical Appraisal Skills Program. Environmental, individual, team, organizational, and macro factors were identified in the literature as factors which shape frontline electrical worker behavior, highlighting the complexity of injury prevention. The key contributions of this paper include: (1) a holistic and integrated summary of human factors implicated in electrical safety events, (2) the application of an established theoretical model to explain dynamic forces implicated in electrical safety incidents, and (3) several practical implications and recommendations to improve electrical safety. It is recommended that this framework is used to develop and test future interventions at the individual, team, organizational, and regulator level to mitigate risk and create meaningful and sustainable change in the electrical safety space.
... Moreover, distraction can lead to unsafe worker behavior, increasing the likelihood of human errors, hazard exposures, and loss of productivity (11). To prevent accidents in construction workplaces, it is extremely crucial to control the presence of distracting stimuli and minimize workers' exposure to distraction (31). Because of its dynamic nature, a construction job site is already filled with numerous distractors, and the integration of drones can open up newer possibilities for distraction-related unsafe behaviors leading to catastrophic accidents (11). ...
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Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have gained their prevalent recognition in construction because of their exceptional advantages. Despite the increasing use of UAVs in the industry and their remarkable benefits, there are serious potential safety risks associated that have been overlooked. Construction is one of the most hazardous industries in the United States. In addition to the ordinary hazards normally present in dynamic construction workplaces, UAVs can expose workers to a wider range of never-before-seen safety risks that must be recognized and controlled. The industry is not equipped with safety measures to prevent potential accidents, because of scarce research on drone-associated hazards and risks. The aim of this research was to (1) identify the UAV-associated hazards in construction that may expose personnel and property to potential harms, and (2) study the relative impact of each hazard and the associated safety risks. In Phase I, the researchers conducted an extensive literature review and consulted with a construction UAV expert. In Phase II, the researchers obtained data from 54 construction experts validating and evaluating the identified hazards and risks. The results revealed that adopting UAVs can expose construction projects to a variety of hazards that the industry is not familiar with. ''Collision with properties,'' ''collision with humans,'' and ''distraction'' were identified as the top three safety risks. Moreover, the study introduces effective strategies, such as having qualified crew members, proper drone model selection, and drone maintenance, to mitigate the safety risks. Finally, a post-hoc case study was investigated and presented in this article.
... The participant's hazard recognition performance was measured as the average hazard recognition percentage of four case images. A similar approach has been used by different researchers in the past (Albert et al., 2014;Namian et al., 2018a;Namian et al., 2018b). The range of each participant's Hazard Recognition performance measure is from 0% to 100%. ...
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The construction industry has high rates of accidents, but most can be prevented. To prevent accidents, researchers have demonstrated that workers must first identify workplace hazards. However, workers fail to identify most hazards in construction environments. Previous studies report several factors (i.e., safety attitude) that impact construction workers' ability to recognize hazards. However, the role of superstitious beliefs in safety performance has not been studied. This research investigates how construction workers' superstitious beliefs impact their safety performance. To achieve the objectives, 135 construction workers participated in this study. The workers' safety beliefs and the role of supernatural myths in accident causation perception were studied through use of a validated survey instrument. Results revealed that the greater workers' superstitious beliefs, the more inferior their safety performance. Driven by superstitions, a worker believes that accidents are caused by supernatural powers and workers have little control over their fate resulting in inferior safety performance (i.e., hazard recognition). Poor safety performance, in turn, makes workers more vulnerable to accidents strengthening their superstitious beliefs. Results of this study highlight the role of personal superstitious beliefs in safety performance. Findings are beneficial for construction professionals and practitioners seeking long-lasting and effective interventions to improve safety performance.
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A variety of technologies have been implemented in the construction industry at an increasing rate. With the ongoing development of assistive remote sensing and information technologies, as well as computer vision techniques, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have a great potential to influence construction performance positively in terms of safety, quality, cost, and schedule. However, the implementation of UAV-based technology can bring new safety risks to construction stakeholders. Previous research studies on the topic have touched on the potential negative impacts of using UAVs on construction projects, but the safety concerns have not been adequately studied. This exploratory study aims to identify and summarize the construction safety risks associated with the use of UAV-assisted management methods in construction projects. The authors identified and categorized the safety concerns using an extended review of scholarly and industry publications on the topic of UAVs in construction. To propose effective solutions to mitigate the potential safety risks associated with the use of UAVs in construction, the Hierarchy of Control (HoC) for safety management is utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of each solution. As a result of the use of the HoC, each proposed/identified potential solution is evaluated in terms of effectiveness to eliminate a certain type of hazard. The present study makes an important contribution to practice by identifying safety risks associated with the use of UAVs in construction and highlighting solutions to mitigate potential safety risks associated with the use of UAVs. It is expected that industry professionals and practitioners could use the presented knowledge to identify the safety risks construction workers are exposed to and implement proper controls to mitigate the hazards and prevent incidents from occurring.
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In efforts to automate construction performance monitoring, past studies have worked on vision-based registration of image to BIM and 3D point clouds to BIM. The continuous development of simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) enabled real-time estimation of locations and orientations of a camera while incrementally reconstructing a 3D scene. However, it localizes a camera to an arbitrary local coordinate system and produces a low-resolution and noisy point cloud that is not suitable for quality assessment of a structure. For the architecture/engineering/construction industry, the better and realistic approach is to localize with respect to building information models (BIMs) in real-time and post-process 3D dense reconstruction. This approach will allow project management teams to better communicate quality and progress using visuals associated with locations shown with BIMs. Moreover, it will automate images-to-BIM and image-based point clouds-to-BIM registration, enhancing past studies that attempt to automate image-based progress detection and quality assessment. On the other hand, the current state-of-the-art method for registering an image-based point cloud to a BIM requires selection of the correspondences. To address these challenges and achieve automation, this paper presents a new localization method that aligns an image to a BIM by detecting and matching perspectives of the image and the BIM. The results demonstrate the potential for enabling automated visual data collection (as-built aligned with as-planned) for performance monitoring.
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Aim: Dental anxiety leads to undesirable distresses such as avoidance of dental treatment and increase stress among caregivers that consequently affect the treatment quality. The aim of this study was therefore to evaluate the effectiveness of viewing videotaped cartoons using an eyeglass system (i-theatre™) as an audiovisual (AV) distraction technique on behaviour and anxiety in children receiving dental restorative treatment. Methods: Fifty-six consecutive children patients who presented for treatment and met inclusion criteria were included and randomly divided into two groups; a control group without distraction (CTR-group) and a distraction-group (AV-group). Three dental treatment visits were provided for each patient. Anxiety and cooperative behaviour were assessed with the Facial Image Scale (FIS) and the Modified Venham’s clinical ratings of anxiety and cooperative behaviour scale (MVARS). The vital signs, blood pressure and pulse were also taken. Results: The AV-group showed significantly lower MVARS scores than the CTR-group (p = 0.029), and the scores decreased significantly during treatment in the AV-group (p = 0.04). Further, the pulse rate was significantly increased in the CTR-group during injection with local anaesthesia (p = 0.02), but not in the AV-group. Conclusion: AV distraction seems to be an effective method in reducing fear and anxiety in children during dental treatment. Further, children who used eyeglass goggle display as a distraction tool during dental treatment reported not only less anxiety than control groups but also showed more positive responses after injection with local anaesthesia. Hence, AV-distraction seems to be a useful tool to decrease the distress and dental anxiety during dental treatment.
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Most safety initiatives in the construction industry are implemented to manage recognized hazards. Therefore, proper hazard recognition is often the first step to develop effective field-based hazard management strategies. Despite its significance, recent research has demonstrated that construction workers are often unable to recognize hazards sufficiently in dynamic and rapidly changing environments. These unrecognized and unmanaged hazards can potentially result in catastrophic accidents and injuries. Although few studies have developed strategies to improve hazard recognition in general, a thorough understanding of factors impacting worker’s hazard recognition performance is lacking. In this study, through interviews with construction managers and safety professionals, and a thorough review of literature; 36 critical factors impacting worker’s hazard recognition were identified. Examining the identified factors revealed that a multilevel construct existed among factors, and consequently the underlying factors were clustered as personal, organizational, social, situational and industry-related, and miscellaneous factors. After compiling the factors, the participating experts reviewed the factors and validated the findings. The findings of this study can be used by practicing construction professionals to improve hazard recognition during pre-task safety meetings, and to develop a conductive climate that facilitates hazard recognition and management.
Article
Both hazard recognition and safety risk perception are fundamental to effective safety management. When construction hazards remain unrecognized or the associated safety risk remains unperceived, the likelihood of human errors and injuries increases. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that a large number of construction hazards remain unrecognized in typical workplaces. Likewise, past research has demonstrated that safety risk is widely underestimated in construction. Therefore, to improve safety performance, a proper understanding of factors that influence hazard recognition and safety risk perception is vital. Toward achieving this goal, the objective of the current study is to evaluate the effect of distractions - which are ubiquitous in construction environments - on the hazard recognition performance and safety risk perception of workers. The study goals are accomplished through an experimental effort involving 70 construction workers representing various specialty trades. The workers were randomly assigned to a distracted or undistracted condition, and their hazard recognition performance and safety risk perception levels were measured using construction case images. The study findings revealed that the distracted workers recognized a smaller proportion of hazards compared with undistracted workers. However, there were no significant differences in the level of perceived safety risk between the two groups. A closer examination of the data revealed that the safety risk perception levels for the undistracted workers are positively related to their hazard recognition performance. In other words, when undistracted workers recognize a larger proportion of hazards, they also perceive higher levels of safety risk. However, no such relationship was observed for the distracted workers, suggesting that the perceived risk was unrelated to or not dependent on their hazard recognition performance. The findings suggest that workplace distractions can adversely affect hazard recognition, safety risk perception, and safety performance. Given that constuction workers are already exposed to numerous distractors in typical workplaces, contractors seeking to introduce emerging technologies such as drones, mobile devices, and smart robots must be cognizant of their potential distracting effects. The current study represents the first empirical effort investigating the effect of workplace distraction on construction hazard recognition and safety risk perception.
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The current study looked at the distracting effects of ‘pop music’ on introverts' and extraverts' performance on various cognitive tasks. It was predicted that there would be a main effect for music and an interaction effect with introverts performing less well in the presence of music than extraverts. Ten introverts and ten extraverts were given two tests (a memory test with immediate and delayed recall and a reading comprehension test), which were completed, either while being exposed to pop music, or in silence. The results showed that there was a detrimental effect on immediate recall on the memory test for both groups when music was played, and two of the three interactions were significant. After a 6-minute interval the introverts who had memorized the objects in the presence of the pop music had a significantly lower recall than the extraverts in the same condition and the introverts who had observed them in silence. The introverts who completed a reading comprehension task when music was being played also performed significantly less well than these two groups. These findings have implications for the study habits of introverts when needing to retain or process complex information. © 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Hazard recognition and the accurate perception of safety risk are fundamental to the success of any safety program. When hazards remain unrecognized, or the associated safety risk is underestimated, the likelihood of catastrophic and unexpected injuries dramatically increase. Unfortunately, recent research has found that a large number of hazards in construction remain unrecognized. Likewise, past studies have demonstrated that safety risk is widely underestimated within construction. To improve hazard recognition and the accurate perception of safety risk, employers adopt a wide variety of training programs. However, the prevalent use of ineffective and unengaging training methods have significantly impeded training efforts in construction. The purpose of this research was to assess the impact of safety training on two objective training outcomes: hazard recognition performance and safety risk perception. The research objectives were accomplished by gathering empirical data from 51 active projects in the United States. Specifically, data pertaining to the training method (i.e., high-engagement versus low-engagement training) adopted at the project level were gathered, following which the hazard recognition ability of representative workers and their safety risk perception levels were measured. The results of the study revealed that (1) compared to low-engagement training, high-engagement training is associated with higher levels of hazard recognition and safety risk perception; and (2) the effect of training on safety risk perception is mediated by hazard recognition performance. Therefore, workers representing projects that offered high-engagement training were able to identify a larger proportion of hazards, and consequently perceived that safety risk was relatively higher. The findings of this study will be useful to practicing professionals seeking to improve training delivery, hazard recognition performance, and the perception of safety risk within construction. This study represents the first formal attempt to empirically evaluate the holistic relationship between training, hazard recognition, and safety risk perception in the construction context.
Conference Paper
Disproportionate injury rates continue to be a major issue in the construction industry. Complex working conditions, and the challenges associated with detecting and managing hazards in dynamic environments are partly responsible for these high incident rates. To improve safety performance, employers provide hazard recognition and management training to workers. However, past research reveal that traditional training programs are inadequately designed, and do not facilitate efficient knowledge transfer. This study assessed the perception of training delivery methods, its impact on worker’s hazard recognition performance, and its subsequent influence on worker’s risk perception. Construction personnel from 49 projects in the United States were asked to identify training methods adopted by their organizations. In addition, the hazard recognition ability and risk perception of workers were assessed using a random sample of construction photographs captured from real projects. Strong statistical significance was found between the training’s level of engagement, hazard recognition performance and risk perception. The results of the study can be used by managers to select efficient training methods that will help improve hazard recognition, risk perception and overall safety performance.
Article
Most construction safety activities focus on managing identified hazards. Hazards that remain unrecognized, and as a result unmanaged, can potentially result in catastrophic and unexpected injuries. Therefore, proper hazard recognition is foundational to the success of any safety program. However, recent research has revealed that a large proportion of construction hazards remain unrecognized in construction projects. To improve hazard recognition performance, employers provide their workers with safety and hazard recognition training. Despite these efforts, desirable levels of hazard recognition have not been achieved, and the anticipated return on investment (ROI) from training has not been attained. Such failures in training efforts are partly because knowledge acquired through training programs is often not transferred or applied in the workplace. Subsequently, training efforts do not alter work practices or behavior once workers return to the field. Other reasons for training failure include improper training delivery and the adoption of low-engagement training methods. To advance theory and practice in hazard recognition, training transfer, and training delivery, the objectives of this study were to (1) identify training transfer elements that maximize the transfer of safety training, (2) evaluate the relative effectiveness of the identified training transfer elements in transferring safety knowledge gained through training programs, and (3) assess the interaction effect between training method (i.e., high-engagement versus low-engagement training) and training transfer levels on hazard recognition performance. The objectives of the study were accomplished by gathering input from construction industry experts through interviews, questionnaire surveys, and the analysis of empirical data gathered from 51 case projects in the United States. The results of the study revealed that training efforts may be undermined if training transfer elements are not synergistically adopted. Specifically, the findings suggest that safety training is necessary, but is not sufficient to maximize training outcomes such as hazard recognition. To maximize safety training outcomes, employers must adopt training transfer elements along with high-engagement training methods. This study represents the first formal attempt to evaluate the role of training transfer elements in the construction context.
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Despite studies exploring potential applications of unmanned aerial systems (UASs), the particular use and value of visual assets (photographs or video) collected with UASs for construction management tasks is not well understood. This paper presents an exploratory case study to identify potential applications of visual assets obtained from UASs for construction management tasks. The case study involved the development of a visual assets database from UAS-based images and videos collected during UAS flights at jobsites in the United States and Brazil as well as semi-structured interviews with construction project personnel. The results revealed potential applications of UASs mainly for project progress monitoring, job site logistics, evaluating safety conditions, and quality inspections among other secondary management tasks. In addition, an analysis of costs related to the use of UASs was performed. The main contribution of this case study is a better understanding of the use of UASs for construction management tasks and their regulatory and cost implications.