Construction workers' health and safety knowledge: Initial observations on some test-result data

David J. Edwards, Gary D. Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Numerous factors relate to the effectiveness of health and safety (H&S) management within construction; but a specific factor influencing the extent of H&S "incidents" on site, is the amount of H&S knowledge held by construction workers. This paper aims to offer some initial observations on construction workers' H&S knowledge, based upon test-result data from an invigilated online H&S test. Design/methodology/approach: Data from 564 candidates were analysed principally by observing mean performance scores and apparent differences, among the sample and defined sub-samples, for each of five H&S subject groupings that make up the test. Findings: Mean scores indicate better retained knowledge in "general H&S" questions and lower knowledge in "manual handling" questions. There was little difference in mean scores between defined candidate age groups; or between different size classifications of candidates' employer organisations. Perceived characteristics of employers' training regimes did not appear to impact test results either. Research limitations/implications: Disparity among sub-sample sizes within the data means that these findings are indicative and accordingly, have implications for a follow-on study that will utilise deterministic modelling to more definitively confirm the effect of formal training and other (e.g. workplace) characteristics, on worker H&S knowledge retention. Originality/value: The paper shows that workers having recently undertaken H&S training exhibit greatest retained knowledge, the level of which remains relatively consistent regardless of where a candidate lives, or a candidate's age group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-80
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Construction industry
  • Employees
  • Health and safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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