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Introducing Interventions into the Chaordic Construction Environment

Occupational Health & Safety
Free 1hr

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Work in the construction industry is much different than in traditional workplaces as workers most often behave as independent operators, work at different locations where the conditions change on a daily basis, are employed on a contingent basis on specific projects, and self-determine how the work is to be done.

The industry itself has been described as “chaordic” a term which refers to organizational systems that blend chaos and order. Implementing health and safety programs in construction is challenging as the solutions and learnings from research and practice in traditional workplaces are typically ineffective. This webinar presents findings and experiences emanating from over 6 years of effort by CRE-MSD researchers to reduce MSDs in the construction sector in Ontario.

Take home message:

  • Approaches in health, safety, and ergonomics that are effective in fixed, traditional workplaces often do not work in the complex, dynamic construction environment
  • A recognition of the differences between small, medium and large companies is critical when designing implementation programs
  • An understanding of the power dynamics and social networks operating in the construction sector are essential in designing new programs and occupational health & safety interventions
  • Case studies of interventions with plumbers and with workers handling ladders show the importance of understanding networks
  • Interventions that reduce physical ergonomic risk factors, often through changes in process or tool design, may be effective when implemented with the consideration of local context and networks that are in place
  • Small interventions are easy to introduce and can have a significant impact

Learning Outcomes

How the unique characteristics of work in construction are similar to modern transitional workplaces in which work is increasingly project based and insecure
How a system of complex networks operates in the construction sector and how effective dissemination of information relies of these networks
How open and closed networks operate
How to share knowledge with non-literal learners
That experiential knowledge is important in improving work practices and can be a powerful force in influencing change
About potentially novel approaches of implementing change to impact the burden of MSDs and musculoskeletal pain in construction workers

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