From crew to country? Local and national construction safety cultures in Denmark
Journal article, 2013
Accidents in construction have evoked over time a range of prevention methods and efforts. This paper adds to the growing body of qualitative studies of safety culture, appreciating that also in construction, the cultural explanations are of crucial importance. It is suggested to use a combined theoretical and ethnographic framework involving the integration, differentiation, ambiguity and multiple configuration elements of safety cultures. The primary case analyzed is a carpenter’s crew of 28 men doing renovation work, who belong to a firm with 100 em-ployees. The analysis finds an overarching common integrative culture of pride of work, which overlaps with differentiation of four cultures: ”mastering”, ”framework and rules”, ”drawing board and plan” and ”ties that bind”. And finally, it finds ambiguous perceptions of possibilities for prevention and risk, which differ according to time, place and actor. Second juxtaposing the cultures found in four other ethnographic studies carried out in Denmark ena-bles reflection over possible grander cultures in play. Although these studies find 25 different safety cultures, a national pattern seems to be prevalent of a constellation of reactive and pro-active safety cultures.