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An inquiry into the health and safety management practices of construction firms in South Korea

Park, Taeho; Mahamadu, Abdul Majeed; Agyekum, Kofi; Adade-Boateng, Anita; Manu, Patrick; Adinyira, Emmanuel; Adukpo, Selorm

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Taeho Park

Abdul Majeed Mahamadu

Kofi Agyekum

Anita Adade-Boateng

Patrick Manu
Professor of Innovative Construction and Project Management

Emmanuel Adinyira

Selorm Adukpo


Purpose: This paper aims to investigate the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) management practices of construction companies in South Korea to ascertain specific components and practices that need improvement for successful OSH performance. Design/methodology/approach: A quantitative research strategy was adopted. A close-ended questionnaire survey covering 45 OSH management practices was sent to 324 contractors; 108 responses were gathered, representing a response rate of 33.3%. Data were analysed using simple descriptive statistics (frequencies and percentages) and Pearson’s chi-square test. Findings: The findings revealed that there is a moderate level of implementation of OSH management practices among construction firms in South Korea. However, there is a significant disparity in terms of implementation between large enterprises on the one hand and small to medium enterprises on the other. Furthermore, a few of the business characteristics (i.e. the size of companies and certification to OHSAS 18001) were closely associated with the extent of the implementation of OSH management practices. Practical implications: This research uncovers the OSH management practices that are poorly implemented and lays the foundation for appropriate measures to improve OSH in South Korean construction companies. It suggests an effective strategy for communicating health and safety issues to workers, training safety managers, reviewing risk assessments, reviewing the health and safety plan, incentivising workers by rewarding good behaviour and having a penal mechanism for employees not adhering to the rules. Originality/value: The study provides insights into an under-investigated South Korean construction industry topic. It offers additional insight into state-of-the-art health and safety management practices in the construction industry in South Korea. Furthermore, it establishes which components of OSH management practice require improvement in the Korean context. This is also one of the few studies in OSH which establishes the association between the construction business characteristics and OSH management in the South Korean construction domain.


Park, T., Mahamadu, A. M., Agyekum, K., Adade-Boateng, A., Manu, P., Adinyira, E., & Adukpo, S. (in press). An inquiry into the health and safety management practices of construction firms in South Korea. Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 3, 2023
Online Publication Date Jul 11, 2023
Deposit Date Jun 9, 2023
Publicly Available Date Aug 12, 2023
Journal Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Print ISSN 1726-0531
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Construction firms; construction industry; occupational safety and health management; South Korea
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