An Examination of Safety Meetings on Construction Sites

Tarja Mäki1 & Anssi Koskenvesa2

1Project Manager, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Center for Research on Activity, Development and Learning, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 3A), 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland, Phone +358 40 755 2319, tarja.maki@helsinki.fi
2Researcher, Faculty of the Built Environment, Tampere University of Technology; Finland. Phone +358 40 581 4263; anssi.koskenvesa@mittaviiva.fi

Abstract

Communication occurs in the way people understand what others are saying. On a construction site, meetings of various types are the arena where the participants should share their understandings on safety issues and topics. A considerable portion of work time in a project at hand is spent in meetings. Meetings should promote work safety on a construction site, but do they? What is gained in the meetings? Are people truly participating or is a meeting just a “must” or a “play with a mutual manuscript”. The objective of this paper is to elaborate findings from project safety meetings in Finnish construction sites. The research questions are: What issues are discussed in the course of safety meetings? How do the participants share their knowledge in the meetings? What issues or methods inspire the participants to discuss in the meetings? What could Lean Construction have to offer to the way we manage safety? This paper begins by an introduction and a literature review to management culture and particularly to managing work safety. Then it provides data and analysis from observations of site meetings and interviews of workers and foremen. The central occasions to promote work safety are various types of safety meetings at a construction site. Still, in this research the interviewees are rather critical to the effectiveness of the meetings and they emphasize the daily control of work safety. The safety meetings, in general, seem to be highly main-contractor –led. The subcontractor’s workers have a very passive role in the meetings and interactive conversation emerges only in some meetings . The question remains: do we reach our safety goals through these kinds of meetings, or are these meetings a waste of time?

Keywords

Project meeting, safety, construction site, participation, talk, collaboration, lean construction

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Reference

Mäki, T. & Koskenvesa, A. 2012, 'An Examination of Safety Meetings on Construction Sites' In:, Tommelein, I.D. & Pasquire, C.L., 20th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. San Diego, USA, 18-20 Jul 2012.

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