2B: Communicating Safety and Health in Construction

Communication is at the heart of project management and can be a major contributor or devastator to the project success. Fostering opportunities for communication and soliciting stakeholder inputs helps set the stage for identifying major safety and health challenges. Visualization as an effective communication strategy can highlight hazards in all shapes and sizes, and improve worker training and understanding. Communication techniques which help avoid misperceptions and enhance comprehension can make a difference on not only field safety but also crew productivity. In all, this panel will dive into how communication interplays with construction safety and health through various lenses and functions of project management such as planning, training, and field management.

Panel Lead

Dr. Ken-Yu Lin is a P.D. Koon Endowed Associate Professor in the Department of Construction Management at the University of Washington (UW). She is the Director for the Construction Management Occupational Safety and Health (CMOSH) program at the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Health (NCOSH), a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) funded Education and Research Center (ERC) in Region X. Dr. Lin also co-directs the SHARE (Safety and Health Advancement through Research and Education) Lab with her colleague Dr. Giovanni Migliaccio and serves as the Executive Committee Chair for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Computing Division. Dr. Lin is interested in research applications that contribute to smart safety and health in construction; workforce development and training; and sustainable practices. Her technical backgrounds land in serious gaming and visualization; information and communication technology; intelligent sensing and monitoring; and ontologies and semantic approaches.


Three topics will be discussed in this panel session:

Communicating and Improving Safety Climate

Dr. Linda Goldenhar, Center for Construction Research and Evaluation (CPWR)

The safety climate on a construction jobsite refers to management’s and workers’ shared perceptions about the extent to which safety is rewarded, expected, valued and reinforced.  It may be influenced by things such as project scheduling and planning methods and norms of the trades working on-site. In this talk, Dr. Goldenhar will introduce the assessment tools from CPWR which aim to help construction management and safety professionals learn, measure and strengthen their organizations’ safety climate.

Foundations for Safety Leadership

Dr. Linda Goldenhar, Center for Construction Research and Evaluation (CPWR)

The Foundation for Safety Leadership is an interactive training module form CPWR which provides construction foremen and other lead workers with the skills and information they need to become effective safety leaders who are able create a strong jobsite safety climate. In this talk, Dr. Goldenhar will introduce CPWR’s development effort on the module and how communication is one of the core strategies to achieve effective leadership.

Safety Critical Communications in Construction

Dr. Ken-Yu Lin, University of Washington

Dr. Lin will discuss communications critical to a contractor’s safety outcomes. The frame of discussion will be structured along the line of general vs. job-specific, formal vs. informal, and normal vs. emergency, covering strategies and examples which promote these critical communications.”

Speaker Bio

Dr. Linda M. Goldenhar received her PhD in Public Health and began her career as a Research Psychologist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). While there, she focused her research on a variety of construction-related topics including tradeswomen’s safety and health concerns, worker perceptions on working overtime, among others. She served as NIOSH’s construction coordinator and was a member of the National Academy of Science review of NIOSH’s construction program. For the past 5 years, Dr. Goldenhar has been the Director of Research and Evaluation at CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Evaluation. She leads the project that created the Foundations for Safety Leadership (FSL), a leadership training module for frontline foremen and supervisors. She’s also the lead on CPWR’s safety climate efforts that includes creating the Workbook and Rating Tool to Help you Strengthen Jobsite Safety Climate and the Safety Climate Assessment Tool (S-CAT). She has published over 65 peer-reviewed publications, articles in trade magazines, book chapters and manuals and has presented a numerous national and international academic and construction conferences.