Individual and Organizational Factors Influencing Technology Adoption for Construction Safety
Borhani, Atieh Sadat
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Nowadays, providing a safer and zero-injury jobsite is an objective of many construction companies. Nevertheless, construction industry has not achieved a satisfactory level of safety, and is still considered to be one of the most dangerous occupations. Currently, there are several studies addressing the technology applications for construction safety but many of them are limited to research studies and are not really adopted by construction companies. Reviewing the past researches in this context shows that cultural, individual and organizational factors have a great impact on the technology adoption for construction safety. This study aims to investigate where the construction industry stands right now in the way of using technologies for safety. In addition, it identifies the contributing factors as well as barriers affecting employees’ and employers’ opinions to apply/refuse a new technology for safety. Finally, the potential solutions and recommendations are discussed to address the current barriers. The methodology of this research includes the following two main parts: a web-based survey and key informant interviews. Our results demonstrate that in the studied population (all from the Puget Sound area), companies started applying new technologies (in their current condition) for safety almost 7 years ago and the trend has been accelerated in the past 2-3 years. Currently, about 83% of participants apply at least one type of technologies for construction safety. The top three technologies that are used mostly by construction companies are safety-specific software applications, ICT devices, and BIM, respectively. On the contrary, wearable technologies are completely new to the construction industry and are least used among the studied technologies. In general, this study reports that according to the construction experts, safety inspection, safety training, and safety planning are the top three phases that can benefit more from applying new technologies. Also, safety communication is mentioned as an area that may be influenced positively by the applications of new technologies. During this research, the most significant barriers for technology adoption were identified, including: complexity to use; uncertainty about practicality and benefits of applying a new technology; time needed for additional training; cost, and leadership support. In terms of potential recommendations to overcome the technology adoption barriers, some solutions are provided to construction companies (users) as well as technology developers including “Enhance the overall safety culture”, “Have practical expectations”, “Look from users’ perspective” and “Be flexible in technology features”.