Adapting to COVID-19 on construction sites: what are the lessons for long-term improvements in safety and worker effectiveness?
journal contributionposted on 2021-08-18, 08:52 authored by Wendy JonesWendy Jones, Alistair Gibb, Vivien ChowVivien Chow
Substantial changes were made on many UK construction projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this paper is to explore the unanticipated positive consequences of these and the scope for longer-term learning and developments within the sector.
A qualitative approach was used, semi-structured interviews were conducted across six major project sites. Interviewees (n = 33) included site and senior managers, supply chain representatives and occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals. The interviews explored their experiences of working on site during the pandemic, the changes made to work practices and their perceived impacts of these changes.
Improved planning and work sequencing were part of the revised process to make sites COVID-secure. This increased worker effectiveness and housekeeping/tidiness. The view on some sites was that this would improve OSH performance. The changes were perceived to be beneficial but may not be accepted by clients in the long term, as they could result in projects taking longer to complete. The ways in which COVID-19 risk has been communicated and perceived also provides longer-term lessons for the sector’s OSH management and training.
Construction has adapted rapidly and effectively to new ways of working during the pandemic. This research captured in real time some of the changes made and presents an argument for embedding and adopting the changes to improve working arrangements and OSH within the construction sector.
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering
- Design and Creative Arts
Published inJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)
Rights holder© Emerald Publishing Limited
Publisher statementThis paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1108/JEDT-11-2020-0473. This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact email@example.com