Anglia Ruskin University
Sherratt_2012.pdf (109.38 kB)

Inconsistent, incomplete and incidental: site safety culture from a constructionist perspective

Download (109.38 kB)
conference contribution
posted on 2023-07-26, 13:50 authored by Fred Sherratt, Peter Farrell, Rod Noble
Safety culture is a common concept within both academia and industry, where large UK contractors have made significant efforts to improve the safety culture and consequently the safety of their sites. Academic research has sought to identify and measure safety culture on sites, however such a quantification of culture is something that may not ultimately be possible. Grounded in social constructionism, this study instead sought to explore and examine safety culture in practice. This epistemology enabled the exploration of culture through the discursive patterns and constructional frameworks that surround safety on sites, themselves constructed through shared social practices and resources. Data was collected from five UK construction projects, all over £20m in value, and included site safety signage, safety talk and various safety documents. Discourse analysis, followed by triangulation of the key themes and representations, revealed considerable variation in the constructions of safety on sites. Safety culture was found to be inconsistent, incomplete and incidental; relating to a variety of different realities in a variety of different contexts. This variation not only has significance for the practices of large contractors in their desire to develop safety culture on sites, but also the direction of further academic research. Recommendations for practice were generated, in order to facilitate further improvements in safety on sites.


Page range






Conference proceeding

Proceedings 28th Annual ARCOM Conference

Name of event

28th Annual ARCOM Conference


Edinburgh, UK

Event start date


Event finish date


File version

  • Published version


  • eng

Legacy posted date


Legacy creation date


Legacy Faculty/School/Department

ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)

Usage metrics

    ARU Outputs


    No categories selected