The motivation of operatives in small construction firms towards health and safety – A conceptual framework

Khan, Sunan and Proverbs, David and Xiao, Hong (2021) The motivation of operatives in small construction firms towards health and safety – A conceptual framework. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 29 (1). pp. 245-261. ISSN 0969-9988

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Abstract

Purpose
Health and safety in small construction firms is often neglected by owners leading to poor health and safety performance and unacceptably high fatality and injury rates. A body of knowledge has established significant links between the motivational behaviours of operatives towards health and safety. Motivation is also considered as a key tool for improving operative productivity as when operatives experience safe worksites, they can carry out their work in a more productive manner. The purpose of this research is to develop a framework to examine the motivational factors that affect operative health and safety in small construction firms.

Design/methodology/approach
A critical review and synthesis of the body of knowledge incorporating motivational theory, health and safety literature and the factors which characterise small firms, is used to develop the framework.

Findings
Key components of the framework include the presence of intrinsic and extrinsic components, appropriate health and safety policies and procedures, the type of work environment, the operatives (i.e. attitude, experience and training) as well as the presence of appropriate management and supervision. The study revealed that operatives in small firms are less likely to be extrinsically motivated due to the absence of training, management commitment, policies and the wider working environment

Research limitations/implications
Failure of motivational support can result in increased danger and risk in exposing operatives to injury in the small firm environment. In this context, the damage caused to operative's health and safety in small construction firms is dependent mainly on the extrinsic factors.

Practical implications
The framework provides a basis for improving our understanding of how to motivate operatives to act safely and will help to improve the health and safety performance of small firms. It is therefore vital to emphasise enhancement efforts on these extrinsic strategies in the small firms' environment especially in the initial stages of the project (or activity), so that the health and safety of operatives in small firms can be improved.

Originality/value
This study proposes a contribution in developing an understanding of the motivational factors and their influence on the health and safety of operatives in small construction firms. The study revealed that operatives in small firms are less likely to be extrinsically motivated and have only intrinsically motivated elements in their workplace. The study proposes an indirect link between the extrinsic and intrinsic factors that affect motivation.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-06-2020-0399
Dates:
DateEvent
1 March 2021Accepted
2 March 2021Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: Health and safety, motivation, extrinsic, operatives, management
Subjects: CAH17 - business and management > CAH17-01 - business and management > CAH17-01-05 - human resource management
Divisions: Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Engineering and the Built Environment > Resilient Environments
Depositing User: Hong Xiao
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2022 13:28
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2022 13:28
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13543

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