Occupational safety in a globalized construction industry: a study on Polish workers in Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPolicy and Practice in Health and Safety. 2016, 14 (2), 128-143. 10.1080/14773996.2016.1256553
Polish workers are the largest group of migrant workers in Norway and are particularly well represented in the construction industry. According to several studies, migrant workers are more prone to occupational accidents than the native workers are. This difference is often attributed to poor communication and lack of linguistic skills. We explored factors affecting occupational safety related to migrant workers with an emphasis on communication, culture and language through interviews with Polish and Norwegian workers. The study shows that the construction industry in Norway mainly focuses on language as an issue. Culture is seen as a contributing factor, but is somewhat neglected. Fewer measures to cope with challenges related to migrant workers were found for cultural issues as compared to linguistic. However, the study shows that cultural aspects are at least as important. This gives implications for safety management in the construction industry. This paper suggests considering cultural aspects more in safety management related to migrant workers to achieve the desired safety focus at construction sites.