English: This article presents findings from an investigation conducted in Botswana and South Africa on how construction clients could influence health and safety (H&S) performance on construction projects.
The continued poor state of construction H&S and the inability of designers and contractors to influence an industry-wide H&S culture change motivated the article. It was also recognised that one of the reasons the construction industry continued to lag in H&S performance was the way in which H&S implementation and management was organised. The article proposes a client-centred model for H&S performance improvement.
The conceptual model and its factors were developed from both literature and a Delphi survey. Structural equation modelling was applied to data collected from a questionnaire survey to design a best fit model.
The key finding was that, generally, client H&S culture impacted on project H&S performance. The influence of clients was found to be statistically significant when commitment, communication and H&S procedures were evident. This finding was encouraging as it specifically shows how clients could influence performance. However, it remains to be seen whether these results could be replicated in other datasets. If indeed that is the case, then this article contributes significantly to the body of knowledge.