I read through quite a wide range of literature related to that topic, but still could not locate a specific enough research problem.
Yet another fundamental issue which also compelled me to make a change was that, the topic was rarely implemented in practice. As an expert in construction safety, he suggested me to try a topic in construction safety management.
I chose a mixed methods approach to deal with this topic, not only because of the request by my supervisor but also because of my belief that multiple methods of different nature help gain a comprehensive understanding with regard to the topic given its complexity.
What follows is how I finished the Ph D journey, from choosing a topic to thesis writing. In the first half year, I focused on a topic with which I was admitted into the HKU Ph D program.
A literature review led to research questions on training, risk of injury, designing for safety, organisation of the work and culture which narrowed the scope of the enquiry.
The research used qualitative methods with observation of the work and a survey of key members of the supply chain through interviews and focus groups which provided rich data for analysis.Basically, it dealt with factors at individual and collective levels which affect construction workers’ behavior, perception, and cognition.To accomplish this investigation, it would need theoretical support from domains such as social psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, organizational behavior, management, and construction project management.The initial objectives were to review alternatives to and research on kerb handling; compare kerb handling methods; investigate the design process; and finally produce information for the supply chain.Due to time constraints on the project and the nature of the investigation an exploratory interpretive investigation was used to provide a flexible approach. Rowlinson’s supervision I obtained Ph D degree from Department of Real Estate and Construction, The University of Hong Kong (HKU), in November 2013.My research topic was how to generate a positive safety climate on construction sites so that construction workers’ safety behavior can sustain.The research also gives insights into the difficulties posed by the internal environment of SMEs to the effective management of health and safety.Key issues identified by this study include: lack of skilled human resources; inadequate government support so construction SMEs; inefficiencies in the institutional structure responsible for implementing health and safety standards; the practice of corporate social responsibility; appropriate procurement practices; and, commitment to extended family obligations. The study has made recommendations which, if adopted, will lead to significant improvements in the health and safety performance of construction SMEs in Ghana.The observation work, including postural analysis, has added to existing research mainly from other industries confirming the risk of injury of the manual handling operation and the reduced risks through using alternatives.The survey collected a considerable amount of rich data from the supply chain members.