Communicating health and safety on a multinational construction project: challenges and strategies

David Oswald, Faye Wade, Fred Sherratt, Simon Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The health and safety (H&S) of workers is a critical project management goal in construction. As globalisation and migrant movement increases, construction projects are becoming more nationally diverse. Amongst multinational workforces, language barriers present an obvious but largely unresolved H&S communication challenge. Researchers and governing bodies have made recommendations on how to overcome this issue, yet whether and how these are implemented in practice has yet to be assessed. On a large construction project in the United Kingdom H&S communication strategies were explored through an ethnographic approach. By interrogating the ‘Community of Practice’ amongst this nationally diverse construction workforce, this paper reveals challenges in the use of employees as interpreters; the responsibilities and rewards of being multilingual; and the adoption of technologies and non-verbal means for translating information. This reveals the complexities involved in implementing effective communication strategies on international and multinational projects, which have previously remained largely ignored.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number4
Early online date14 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Ethnography
  • Multinational
  • migrant workers
  • labor
  • employees
  • Imaging Techniques
  • financial management
  • construction sites
  • Project management
  • occupational safety


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