Prestigious Us Grant Boosts Construction Ohs Research

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4th March 2010, 12:22pm - Views: 979

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Prestigious US grant boosts construction OHS research

RMIT University researchers have been awarded a $US500,000 grant by the US

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health for a five-year project

investigating innovative approaches to improving occupational health and safety in

the construction industry.

The grant is the result of a collaboration between RMIT’s School of Property

Construction and Project Management and the Center for Innovation in

Construction Safety Research at Virginia Tech.

Head of the School, Professor Ron Wakefield, said the prestigious NIOSH grant

was recognition of the University’s cutting-edge work in the crucial area of

construction OHS.

“Construction is one of Australia’s highest risk industries, with an alarming rate of

7.8 compensated fatalities per 100,000 employees – compared with 2.5 in other

industries,” Professor Wakefield said.

“There is emerging evidence that a ‘whole industry’ approach is needed to address

the intransigent level of injury, illness and death in construction but, despite many

efforts, OHS is still not embedded as a consideration from the earliest planning

stages to the completion of building projects.

“Our research aims to identify, examine and evaluate ways to better integrate OHS

into project decision-making, throughout the project lifecycle.”

A team of RMIT researchers led by Professor Helen Lingard, Professor Wakefield

and Associate Professor Nick Blismas will work on the project to:

identify how organisational complexity within projects impacts OHS;

examine how fragmented supply chains impede the development of a “unity of

purpose” relating to OHS in construction project teams; and 

evaluate how collaborative project delivery mechanisms and procurement

methods can support the integration of OHS during the entire project lifecycle. 

Research exchanges between RMIT and Virginia Tech will be supported through

the project, titled From finger-pointing to lifesaving: A “supply chain” approach to

construction occupational health and safety, which will also involve industry

partnerships with key building firms in Australia and the US.

“Collecting data here and in the US will enable international benchmarking,

allowing knowledge and good practice in OHS to be shared between researchers

and industry participants in both countries,” Professor Wakefield said.

For interviews: Professor Ron Wakefield, (03) 9925 3448 or 0438 024 151, or

Professor Helen Lingard, (03) 9925 3449 or 0409 449 644.


For general media enquiries: RMIT University Communications, Gosia

Kaszubska, (03) 9925 3176 or 0417 510 735.

4 March, 2010

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