International Construction Specialty Conference of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (ICSC) (5th : 2015)

Data collection framework for construction safety research Chen, Yuting; Alderman, Emilie; McCabe, Brenda; Hyatt, Douglas


Engaging workers from construction companies of various sizes and ensuring their participation in construction safety research is often very difficult. Voluntary participation is typically limited by industry-specific recruitment challenges such as the transient nature of the workforce, industry perception of safety research, schedule limitations, and economic constraints. This paper uses the lessons learned and best practices from several years of data collection experience to present a data collection framework for research within the construction industry. The framework includes organizational support, research instruments, data collection processes, and measures of data collection efficiency. The framework was developed following an intensive six-month data collection period, resulting in 370 completed surveys. A 95% survey completion rate following survey site visits was observed, however the overall recruitment time per survey was 3.8 hours. It is clear that data collection itself is often one of the most challenging and time consuming activities related to construction safety research. Clear communication protocols, strict confidentiality measures, and effective incentive strategies are discussed. Methods of engagement are also provided; often a hybrid of a top-down and bottom-up approach is required ensuring participation and worker/company buy-in. The data collection framework in this paper provides a point of departure for researchers to improve their data collection processes and in turn, work toward improving safety performance more efficiently in the construction industry.

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