From Theoretical to Practical Competence on Health and Safety
Chapter, Peer reviewed
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Original versionÅsgård, T., & Nygaard, P. (2019). From theoretical to practical competence on health and safety. In I. Lill & E. Witt (Eds.), 10th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organization (p. 473-479). Emerald.
Purpose The construction industry is considered worldwide to be a dangerous industry because of its high rate of fatal accidents and serious injuries. This study aims to find ways to improve this situation by focusing on how to improve competence on health and safety (H&S) among newly graduated construction engineers in Norway. Design/Methodology/Approach In Norway, the regional safety representatives (RSRs) are considered to be cornerstones in ensuring H&S in the construction industry. Information in this study was gathered by conducting semi-structured in-depth interviews with 15 RSRs. Findings The results show that RSRs believe that while construction engineers have sufficient theoretical competence on H&S; however, many seem to lack the practical competence needed to ensure and implement H&S measures. The informants underline the importance of work practice on construction sites as part of the education as key to improve H&S competence among graduates. Research Limitations/Implications Input on possible improvements is collected from only one group of stakeholders in the industry. Other stakeholders might have valuable input that should be considered before concluding what improvements in the education are most effective. Practical Implications The findings may help to decide upon and implement improvements in the education of construction engineers and, thus, contribute to a safer and healthier industry in the future. Originality/Value The stakeholder perspective of RSRs on education of construction engineers has not been considered in earlier research despite the fact that they represent vital competence on H&S in the construction industry. This study aims to fill some of this gap.