Looking and learning: using participatory video to improve health and safety in the construction industry

Helen Lingard, Sarah Pink, James Harley, Ruwini Edirisinghe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Construction health and safety (H&S) is usually managed using a top-down approach of regulating workers’ behaviour through the implementation and enforcement of prescriptive rules and procedures. This management approach privileges technical knowledge over knowledge based on workers’ tacit and informal ways of knowing about H&S. The aim is to investigate the potential for participatory video to: (1) identify areas in which formal policies and procedures do not reflect H&S as practised by workers; (2) encourage creative thinking and elicit workers’ ideas for H&S improvements; and (3) provide an effective mechanism for capturing and sharing tacit H&S knowledge in construction organizations. Interviews were conducted in two case study organizations (CSOs) in the Australian construction industry. The results suggest reflexive participatory video enabled workers and managers to view their work practices from a different perspective. Workers identified new hazards, reflected about the practical difficulties in performing work in accordance with documented procedures and reframed their work practices and developed safer ways of working. Workers described how the participatory video capturing the way they work enabled them to have more meaningful input into H&S decision-making than they had previously experienced. Workers also expressed a strong preference for receiving H&S information in a visual format and commented that video was better suited to communicating H&S ‘know how’ than written documents. The research is significant in providing initial evidence that participatory video has the potential to improve H&S in construction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)740-751
Number of pages12
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Health and safety
  • Participatory management
  • Training
  • Visualization

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