A worker engagement maturity model for improving wellbeing and social sustainability in construction

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The ethical management of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) is one of several factors critical to ‘Social Sustainability’. Research on Worker Engagement to improve OSH has identified Meaningful Discussion; Empowerment; Trust; Motivation; and Commitment as five important constructs. This paper reports on the findings of a UK funded research project, to develop a worker engagement maturity model for improving OSH. The model explains the various levels of each construct (termed ‘indicator’) that a worker goes through relevant to ‘worker engagement maturity’. The methods involved 29 in-depth qualitative interviews to gain accounts of episodes of worker engagement, which were categorised using Nvivo with reference to the five constructs identified via an extensive literature review, then ranked based on feedback from expert focus groups. The ranked constructs (indicators) are based on a number of logically progressive worker maturity levels that build on the requirements of already existing levels. Final validation testing of the model will take place during 2017, but it has already undergone prima facie validation with the expert focus groups. The five indicators have their own hierarchical constructs e.g. ‘Meaningful Discussion’ begins with discussing issues affecting the individual worker to issues that affect other workers and eventually to those 'beyond the site gate' such as design processes. The ‘Leadership and Worker Involvement’ tool, developed by the UK HSE, focuses on organisational capabilities, but the model described here is specifically targeted at the construction worker. Worker engagement in OSH to improve overall social sustainability should include assessment using this ‘worker-focused’ model.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Sustainable Futures (ICSF) Bahrain 2017
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2017


  • worker engagement
  • safety in the workplace
  • social sustainability
  • construction industry


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