Strategies for improving safety and health of ethnic minority construction workers

Ping Chuen Chan, Arshad Ali Javed, Sainan Lyu, Carol K.H. Hon, Francis K.W. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The construction industries of developed countries are faced with an aging workforce and a shortage of recruits. It is common for migrant workers/ethnic minorities (EMs) who are already part of the society to join the construction industry. With increasing involvement of EMs in the construction industry, effective strategies for improving their safety and health are urgently needed. The existing body of knowledge is mainly derived from research conducted in English-speaking countries with Western cultures. Research on safety of migrant/EM construction workers in multidialect Asian countries with Eastern cultures has been lacking. This study aimed to identify various strategies for improving the safety and health of EM construction workers from the Asian perspective. Twenty-two face-to-face semistructured interviews were performed with safety professionals in Hong Kong followed by two rounds of Delphi survey with 18 safety experts to verify the interview findings and rank the relative importance of the strategies. The study unveiled 14 strategies for improving the safety performance of EM workers. The three most important ones identified were (1) to provide safety training in EM native languages, (2) that government and industry associations should play an active role in promoting health and safety awareness of EM workers, and (3) to encourage EM workers to learn the local language. This study contributes to filling the research gap by evaluating the strategies for improving safety of migrant/EM construction workers in Asian countries with Eastern cultures in which English is not the first language. Research findings would assist occupational health and safety experts and relevant stakeholders in designing strategies for improving the safety and health of EM workers, which will ultimately improve overall safety performance of the construction industry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number05016007
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • Construction safety and health
  • Ethnic minorities
  • Hong Kong
  • Labor and personnel issues
  • Safety management strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management

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