Safety cultural maturity reflects an organisation’s degree of readiness to tackle safety risks. Until recently, no equivalent model for occupational health (OH) had been developed. The current research aimed to develop an OH management maturity index for the construction industry and use the index to survey OH management maturity in the industry.
Index development entailed an initial evidence synthesis and subject expert consultation to establish the index’s theoretical basis/scope. This identified the key constituents of OH maturity as: senior management commitment; continuous improvement; communication; fairness; learning; foresight and employee involvement. Knowledge of OH issues was the criterion for separating 5 levels of maturity from ‘unknowing’ to ‘enlightened’. The index was piloted to assure reliability, validity and usability before conducting a main survey with the sector.
The survey results revealed good levels of OH maturity but must not be interpreted to imply that the sector is performing well already and there is no room for improvement. Maturity scores were significantly higher for those with access to an OH provider and a specific OH policy. Key areas important for improving OH culture maturity included: the role of Principal/Tier 1 contractors, the business case for OH management and the importance of visible senior management commitment to OH.
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