CE3CHS-Health and Safety Management and Culture in Construction

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Dylan Tutt

Email: d.e.tutt@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
Construction projects involve multiple contractors, trades and personnel from diverse backgrounds, who need to temporarily work together in a complex and constantly changing environment. These high levels of organizational, technological and cultural differentiation create substantial challenges for the management of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). In the labour-intensive sector of construction, with a heavy reliance on subcontracting, research indicates that those at the bottom of the contractual chain bear the most significant consequences when things go wrong. This module provides a critical examination of the contemporary OHS landscape, exploring the causes of OHS hazards and the challenges of integrating OHS into construction project management. It encourages students to develop a holistic approach to the management of OHS risks.

This module will help students develop and broaden perspectives on workplace cultures and the critical role of OHS communication in construction. It considers the challenges of managing OHS at the interface between project participants, technologies and work practices, and the difficulty of organisational learning in the construction sector. The module aims to develop students’ understanding of the role of safety communication in construction and equip them with knowledge of strategies for OHS integration, worker engagement and meaningful consultation between managers and workers.

Assessable learning outcomes:

At the completion of this module, it is expected that students will be able to:
-appraise and critically assess different perspectives and understandings of policy makers, industry employers, union groups and researchers on the management of OHS in the construction industry, through engagement with both theory and empirical evidence.
-assess critically how OHS is spoken about and understood at construction workplaces and in industry rhetoric.
-explain ways to apply and interpret construction industry legal framework and guidance on the management of OHS.
-critically evaluate the use and value of occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) and less formal workplace strategies in different project settings.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
The module will include the following topics:

Fragmented supply chain and effective OHS management
•OHS problems in supply chains: economic and reward pressures, disorganisation, and fragmented employment context.
•How professional differences in values, beliefs and attitudes related to OHS responsibility can produce conflicting interests and communication failures.
•Integrating different functional groups that develop very different work processes and priorities.
•The difficulty of organisational learning in the construction sector.

Organisational culture
•Top down (functionalist) and bottom up (interpretive) culture: onsite discourses of enforcement and engagement.
•Creating organisational culture. Site culture also influenced by interaction between the contractor’s culture, site management and subcontractors.
•Onsite (sub) cultures: dynamic, emergent and created by interaction.
•Communication systems and worker engagement as important enablers
•Embedding positive H&S Culture: Olympic Park, ODA ‘health like safety’ approach; H&S Charter and H&S as a management function.

Safety Systems
•Four ages of safety: technological solutions to new (industrial revolution) workplace hazards; Accounting for human factors; Implementation of OHS management systems; Integration age: R&D of new tech-based OHS tools.
•The use of OHS management systems (OHSMS), technological interventions and less formal workplace strategies

Construction industry legal framework and guidance
•Interpreting and applying the regs and the legal and organizational health and safety roles and responsibilities of construction clients and their contractors.
•Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and specific construction Regulations including Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
•ILO conventions and recommendations to promote H&S of workers in construction.
•How decisions made in planning and design stages of projects can have H&S implications; ‘upstream’ decision-makers and Prevention through Design (PtD).

H&S communication channels in practice:
•The role of safety communication in construction and methods of communicating H&S information: verbal, written and graphic.
•Key schemes and situations for critical OHS communication: Site inductions; signage and visual communication; interpretation and translation; hazard report cards etc.
•OHS for vulnerable workers and migrant workers on global construction projects.

Guest lecture topics (TBC):
•Legitimacy and regulatory myths of H&S in construction.
•Industry discourses of safety enforcement and engagement.
•Digital design practices and safety challenges embedded with design.
•London 2012 Olympic Park: H&S as a management function.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This module will use a variety of teaching and learning methods to help students understand OHS challenges faced by organizations and to apply this knowledge to address issues that arise in real-life project environments. This will include lectures, case studies and interactive group discussions. A particular focus will be placed on learning to critically deconstruct accepted concepts, practices and principles.

The module content will be highly research informed, drawing on and engaging with contemporary and ongoing research for IOSH, CITB, CIOB etc., and drawing on research and industry case study material.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 16
Seminars 4
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/exams/UgGuide-2012-13.pdf
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
• where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
• where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 40% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
Re submission of assignments

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 20 April 2018


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