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BEHAVIOUR CHANGE & WORKER ENGAGEMENT

New research suggests way forward for BCWE in construction  

HSE sponsored research on behaviour change and worker engagement (BCWE) practices in the construction industry has been published. Evidence on the effectiveness of such BCWE programmes is inconclusive and the researchers say it is too soon to permit development of a watertight business case. However, they recommend that progress in creating more rapid spread of effective BCWE practices across the construction sector require both top down and bottom up action including:

  • Leadership – strong industry leadership in setting the tone for BCWE so as to overcome challenges due to the high degree of workforce churn;
  • Supply Chain – routinely incorporating BCWE requirements into supply chain contracts to help drive forward more widespread adoption across the industry;
  • Trade Critical Behaviours – identification of safety critical behaviours on a trade-by-trade basis;
  • Observers – company observers trained in effective worker engagement skills so they regard observation of an unsafe act more as a prompt to undertake root cause analysis;
  • SME Toolkit – development of a BCWE toolkit to help motivate suppliers to appreciate the value in BCWE
  • H&S Culture – developing a generic safety culture maturity matrix to allow practices across the industry to be more reliably benchmarked;
  • Sharing Ideas – continued communication between the major construction companies on experiences in implementing BCWE;
  • Review – revisiting construction companies interviewed to discuss progress and enable a more watertight and compelling business case to be developed than exists at present.

Comment: This is a subject that is exercising the minds of many who are concerned with generating further progress in injury and ill-health reduction in the construction sector and the research is a valuable contribution to the debate. The recommendations above contain a number of practical suggestions which the industry and regulator now needs take forward.

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