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Photo: Melina Granberg
Jan Johansson, Professor of Industrial Work Environment. Photo: Melina Granberg View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Accidents in the construction industry are analysed

Published: 4 November 2016

Accidents are very common among construction workers. The Swedish Work Environment Authority has therefore given Luleå University of Technology an assignment to to write a research review on risks in the construction industry.

– We compiles an analysis of Swedish and international research concerning risks and risk prevention at construction sites. The analyse shows that it looks pretty similar around the world, but we have found certain cultural differences. In Spain, for example, more accidents happen after lunch, which is linked with alcohol intake to food, says Jan Johansson, Professor of Industrial Work Environment.

The analysis shows that the most common accidents are related to slip and falls. But it can also be hit by things falling down, construction workers who are injured on hand-held tools or hit by motor driven vehicles.

Lack of Swedish research

In the industry there is often time pressure, which can lead to stress on the individual level. How the work is organized has a major impact on the level of risk. For example, the local workplace culture, work operations, attitudes to safety, leadership, working conditions and production requirements. The researchers' analysis shows a general lack of Swedish research in the area.

– It is possible to reduce the risks already in the planning phase of a project, for example by choosing construction methods that are not dangerous. If unsafe methods still are selected, can discussions about precautions take place at an early stage. This is an area where we see that we lack research.

Other gaps in knowledge are about how subcontractors and black labour affects security and how a macho culture influences on attitudes to safety.

– A typical macho culture often leads to carelessness with safety. It is considered a bit silly to follow all the rules.

– Our review report is soon finished. Then it is up to the Swedish Work Environment Authority to propose measures. It will also be printed in a publication that will be available to employers and unions. In the end, it's about reducing serious accidents in the construction industry.