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Underlying Causes for Risk Taking Behaviour Among Construction Workers

  • Radhlinah Aulin
  • Åsa Ek
  • Christofer Edling
  • Irene Lill
  • Emlyn Witt
Publishing year: 2019-04-26
Language: English
Pages: 419-426
Publication/Series: Emerald Reach Proceedings Series
Volume: 2
Document type: Conference paper
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Abstract english

Purpose – This paper will examine the unsafe work practices that are plaguing the construction industry. Statistics show that four out of five of all workplace accidents are attributed to unsafe behaviour. Research studies have sought to understand worker self-protection. For example, it is difficult to make predictions of conditions that influenced worker’s behaviour to act unsafely or safely in a given work situation. It is evident
there is a gap in the literature in this area of research, most notably failing to understand the underlying “why” factors. The aim of the study is to identify and examine the proximate set of contributing factors most likely to have an influence on workers’ decisions about participation in unsafe behaviour.
Design/Methodology/Approach – To perform the study, questionnaires were adopted, and 225
construction workers from 9 construction companies participated in the study.
Findings – Results showed that both underlying organisational factors and individual factors could affect the risk aversion among construction workers. The paper also highlights measures to create a safe work environment to minimise unsafe behaviour among construction workers. Results from the study are important to help organisation to systematically plan for a good working environment.
Research limitations – As the results were based only from the questionnaires, a deeper understanding behind the workers’ responses was not probed.
Practical implications – Construction companies should work at several organisational levels at the
same time. It is necessary to include levels such as individual, group, workplace and management levels, thus taking a systemperspective on risk behaviour and safety.


  • Work Sciences
  • Construction Management
  • Risk taking
  • Unsafe behaviour
  • Construction workers
  • Underlying causes
  • Management
  • Risk-taking behaviour


  • ISSN: 2516-2853
  • ISBN: 978-1-83867-051-1
Christofer Edling
E-mail: christofer [dot] edling [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se


Faculty of Social Sciences

+46 46 222 88 62



Centre for Economic Demography




+46 46 222 88 62




I earned my PhD from Stockholm University in 1999. Between 2002 and 2005 I was Torgny Segerstedt Pro Futura Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study at Uppsala University. I received my Docent-title in 2003, and was appointed Associate Professor at Stockholm University in 2004. From 2006 to 2008 I was Head of the Department of Sociology at Stockholm university. Before coming to Lund in 2012 I served as Full Professor of Sociology at Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany. I have been a fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2004/05) and Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (2013).

Department of Sociology
Lund University
Visiting address: Sandgatan 11, House G, Lund
Postal address: Box 114 , SE-221 00 LUND, SWEDEN
Telephone: Student Office +46 46-222 88 44, Lund University Switchboard +46 46-222 00 00

Faculty of Social Sciences