Addressing Social Inequity in Construction Safety Research: Personal Protective Equipment Focus

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


The Hispanic construction workforce's contribution to the construction industry is significant. However, this significant contribution is threatened due to higher injury rates among Hispanic workers. One contributing factor to the higher rates of injuries is that occupational safety and health (OSH) research studies have not been sensitive to their working conditions and unique challenges. Social equity in construction-related research helps identify and address the inequalities and barriers that certain groups of workers (e.g., Hispanic construction workers) may face in terms of accessing adequate training, resources, and support to ensure their safety on the job. This study aims to demonstrate how social inequity in OSH research impacts research findings and recommendations. Accordingly, this study replicates a recent study conducted on personal protective equipment (PPE) noncompliance. The findings suggested several statistically significant and practical differences in perceptions between Mexican and non-Hispanic workers. These differences may lead to an insufficient understanding of PPE noncompliance factors if unaccounted for. It is concluded that inclusive research studies are essential for producing reliable findings and practical recommendations. The results of this study can help scholars create better OSH research designs sensitive to workforce components. This will produce high-quality training materials and strategies to reduce the higher probability of injuries among workforce minorities, particularly Hispanic workers in the United States.

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Journal of Construction Engineering and Management