English: Considering its share in, and impact on national economies, the construction
industry receives additional attention in terms of its performance and
productivity, especially among small and medium contractors. However,
with the extensive workforce it employs, health and safety (H&S) issues have
become important, since the industry still has the reputation of being one of
those with the highest fatality and accident rates. It has been well established
from literature and previous studies (Fernandez-Muniz, Montes-Peon & Vazquez-
Ordas, 2007: 636; Rajendran & Gambatese, 2009: 1072) that managing H&S helps
to ensure that construction organisations are achieving their H&S objectives.
As such, H&S management practices constitute a vehicle to improve H&S
performance. Given the dominance of small and medium contractors in the
construction sector, the challenge is to determine what needs to be measured
and practised by these Small and Medium Construction Enterprises (SMCEs) at
project level. The objective of this article is to validate the H&S practices that
small and medium construction enterprises practise in order to improve H&S
performance at project level.
A descriptive survey was done and data collected using a structured
questionnaire consisting of 31 practices. These practices were categorised in
terms of five elements developed from an extensive review of literature and the
participation of 20 H&S experts, 16 of whom completed all four iterations of the
Delphi survey. A convenience sample of 1.450 SMCEs was used to gather data.
A total of 228 questionnaires were returned, of which 216 responses were usable
for analysis. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 was
used to determine the convergent validity and the reliability of the proposed
H&S practices. Furthermore, the respondents’ perception on H&S practices was
The five elements, namely upper management commitment and involvement
in H&S, employee involvement and empowerment in H&S, project supervision, project H&S planning and communication in H&S, as well as H&S resources and
training were considered key factors of H&S for SMCEs at project level. However,
employee involvement and empowerment in H&S was the least rated H&S
attribute within the SMCEs. It was, therefore, recommended that employees
needed to be engaged in H&S at the project level of SMCEs.