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Effective safety communication between all parties in a construction project is essential for optimal safety performance. Literature suggests that open safety communication across all levels of the organization enhances safety success. Previous studies have found that open communication and frequent interaction between employees and supervisors differentiate construction companies that have low accident rates from companies that have high rates. Through interviews with construction crew members on active construction projects in the Rocky Mountain region of the US, the patterns of safety communication were identified, modelled, and quantified. Social network analysis (SNA) was utilized to obtain measures of safety communication such as centrality, density, and betweenness within small crews and to generate sociograms that visually depicted communication patterns within effective and ineffective safety networks. A cross-case comparison revealed that the frequency and method of communication are important differentiators between project teams with low and high accident rates. Specifically, top performing crews: (1) have formal safety communication from management on at least a weekly basis; (2) have informal safety communication on a weekly basis; (3) undergo formal safety training; and (4) use all proposed safety communication methods on a monthly basis. In addition, typical SNA metrics, including density, centrality and betweenness, are not significant parameters to distinguish high from low performing crews.

Alsamadani, R., Hallowell, M., and Javernick-Will, A. (2013). “Measuring and Modeling Safety Communication in Small Work Crews in the US using Social Network Analysis.” Construction Management and Economics. 31 (6), 568-579. doi: 10.1080/01446193.2012.685486