Quantitative analysis of the impact of craft worker availability on construction project safety performance

Hossein Karimi, Timothy R.B. Taylor, Paul M. Goodrum, Cidambi Srinivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose - This paper aims to quantify the impact of craft worker shortage on construction project safety performance. Design/methodology/approach - A database of 50 North American construction projectscompleted between 2001 and 2014 was compiled by taking information from a research project surveyand the Construction Industry Institute Benchmarking and Metrics Database. The t-test andMann-Whitney test were used to determine whether there was a significant difference in constructionproject safety performance on projects with craft worker recruiting difficulty. Poisson regressionanalysis was then used to examine the relationship between craft worker recruiting difficulty andOccupational Safety and Health Administration Total Number of Recordable Incident Cases per 200,000 Actual Direct Work Hours (TRIR) on construction projects. Findings - The result showed that the TRIR distribution of a group of projects that reported craftworker recruiting difficulty tended to be higher than the TRIR distribution of a group of projects withno craft worker recruiting difficulty (p-value = 0.004). Moreover, the average TRIR of the projects thatreported craft worker recruiting difficulty was more than two times the average TRIR of projects thatexperienced no craft recruiting difficulty (p-value = 0.035). Furthermore, the Poisson regressionanalysis demonstrated that there was a positive exponential relationship between craft workerrecruiting difficulty and TRIR in construction projects (p-value = 0.004). Research limitations/implications - The projects used to construct the database are heavilyweighted towards industrial construction. Practical implications - There have been significant long-term gains in construction safety withinthe USA. However, if recent craft shortages continue, the quantitative analyses presented hereinindicate a strong possibility that more safety incidents will occur unless the shortages are reversed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-322
Number of pages16
JournalConstruction Innovation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 11 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • Construction incidents
  • Craft worker shortage
  • Poisson regression analysis
  • Risk assessment
  • Safety
  • Statistical model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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