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UBC Theses and Dissertations

(En)gendering safety : masculinity, risk, and safety social capital in male dominated occupations Hollingdale, Hazel Elaine


High hazard work sectors are often male-dominated, and can have occupational cultures that impede following safety regulations. Many of these sectors, such as the skilled trades, have cultures that align with conventional masculine norms. The existing literature suggests that workers in these fields often experience safety compliance measures as conflicting with this normative culture, and this can lead to increased risk taking. It has also been found that organizational attitudes towards safety in the workplace individualize these issues, rather than considering a widespread lack of compliance as a symptom of underlying social issues. This research project used a case study approach to evaluate risk taking and organizational approaches to safety at the male-dominated organization, WestTech. Using both quantitative and qualitative accident reports, I found that risk taking and accidents vary by occupational sector; however, this was not addressed in WestTech's conclusions or safety recommendations. The relatively new accident investigation model, “Curtailing Accidents by Managing Social Capital” (CAMSoc), is discussed and employed to evaluate how the inclusion of social factors can help to better scrutinize the role of these underlying issues and how they contribute to negative safety outcomes.

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