https://doi.org/10.24928/2019/0207

An Active Caring Approach Through Psychological Safety in Construction Projects

Sulyn Gomez1, Bryan Bishop2, Glenn Ballard3, Mario Saenz4 & Iris Tommelein5

1PhD Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, USA, +1 765 775-6583, sulyn@berkeley.edu
2Safety Manager, Webcor Builders, CA 94107, USA, +1 510 612-5019, bbishop@webcor.com
3Research Director, Civil and Envir. Engrg. Dept., Project Production Systems Lab., Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, USA, +1 415 710-5531, gballard@berkeley.edu
4Project Engineer, Webcor Builders, CA 94107, USA, +1 510 502-6185, msaenz@webcor.com
5Professor, Civil and Envir. Engrg. Dept., Director of the Project Production Systems Lab., Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, USA, +1 510 643-8678, tommelein@berkeley.edu

Abstract

Guided by the lean principle of respect for people, it is key to recognize the value of construction workers feeling psychologically safe on site. Psychological safety is proven to be a driver for learning behaviors as it allows workers feel confident about asking questions to get clarity on their work, asking for help, or speaking up when errors occur on site to avoid repeating mistakes. The authors framed the understanding of psychological safety in the context of a construction project and analyzed worker’s perception regarding factors that foster a psychologically safe work environment. In this study, different trades shared their perception about factors that made them feel safe or unsafe while working at the job site. Outcomes highlighted human behavior characteristics such as how the willingness of workers to speak up when they see someone doing something unsafe changed depending on whom they are talking to. Results were analyzed with the project’s leadership team and action items were set in place. Changes implemented included using English and Spanish during weekly meetings and the establishment of an on-site safety committee to strength relations between and amongst different trades as well as discussion with foremen to keep growing psychological safety on site.

Keywords

Psychological safety, behavior, active caring, learning, safe, sustainable change.

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Reference

Gomez, S. , Bishop, B. , Ballard, G. , Saenz, M. & Tommelein, I. 2019, 'An Active Caring Approach Through Psychological Safety in Construction Projects' In:, Proc. 27th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC). Dublin, Ireland, 3-5 Jul 2019. pp 1037-1048

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