Author(s): EN Chaswa, IB Kosamu, S. Kumwenda and W. Utembe

Source: Safety2020,6, 33

Abstract: This study employed a deductive research approach and a survey strategy to assess risk perception and its influencing factors among construction workers in Malawi. Three specific construction hazards and their associated risks were selected. The hazards were “working at height (WAH)” “manual handling of loads (MHL)” and “heavy workload or intense pressure to be more productive (HWP).” The study engaged multistage  sampling of 376 subjects. Univariate analysis,factor analysis and multiple linear regressions were performed in order to determine the main influencing factors among the independent variables. The study established that workers were aware of risks posed by their work. The majority perceived the risk associated with WAH,MHL and HWP as very high (62.7%,=8.80±1.95); (48.5%,=8.10±2.38); (57.9%,=8.49±2.22)respectively. The study identified six factors as variables that showed a significant effect on workers’ perception of risk (p<0.05). These factors were: “dreaded factor,” “avoidability and controllability,”“expert knowledge,” “personal knowledge,” “education level,” and “age”. It is concluded that contractors in the Malawian construction industry should integrate analysis of behaviors and risk perception of the workers and other players to guide the identification of better health and safety interventions at their worksites.

Keywords: risk perception; safety; construction; workers; working at height; manual handling;workload; Malawi