School of Medical and Health Sciences
Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship
COVID-19 had a significant impact on construction projects due to labor shortages and COVID-19 restrictions, yet little is known about the impact it had on construction safety. To address this gap, an Australian construction project was selected to study the impact of COVID-19 on safety performance, safety climate and safety leadership. The study collected data from safety climate surveys, leading and lagging safety indicators and used linear regression to compare safety performance pre and post the onset of COVID-19. Our results showed after the onset of COVID-19 there was a significant reduction (Pr > F at 0.05 %) in incident rate, an improvement in supervisor safety leadership and safety climate, and satisfaction with organisational communication. The study identified the increase level of safety awareness due to COVID-19 did not result in an increase in the level of engagement in safety leadership. Interestingly, participation in the safety leadership activities did not improve until a change of Project Manager occurred. The study determined leaders who establish a positive safety climate within a project could negate the safety performance impact of COVID-19. The study confirms the importance of site safety leadership in maintaining engagement in risk management and the value of focused safety communication.
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