n Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering = Joernaal van die Suid-Afrikaanse Instituut van Siviele Ingenieurswese - Effectiveness of economic incentives on clients' participation in health and safety programmes - : technical paper

Volume 57, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-2019



The use of economic incentives to improve health and safety (H&S) performance in the construction industry in general has been investigated by various scholars. However, few studies have looked at the impact of economic incentives on construction clients, especially in the developing world. This paper reports findings on the feasibility of incentives to influence construction clients to perform on H&S.

The investigation was conducted using a Delphi technique to determine the impact significance of economic incentives or disincentives on construction clients' H&S performance. A panel of experts in construction H&S was assembled from most regions of the world. A threeround iterative Delphi study aimed at establishing consensus from the expert panel was then conducted.
The study found that economic factors have critical impact significance on clients' H&S performance, and that clients were 'very likely' to implement various H&S elements as a result of the economic incentives and or disincentives.
There is little research on the use of incentives to influence construction clients' H&S performance and the effectiveness of such incentives. This gap in literature, and the need for improvement in construction H&S performance, motivated the current study. Therefore it was necessary to investigate specifically the extent to which economic incentives could be used to influence construction clients to become involved in H&S programmes. Economic incentives are considered to be a proactive way of improving H&S performance among other key parties, such as employees in the construction industry.
The paper reports on the findings from an analysis of the impact significance of economic incentives on clients. It underscores the point that economic incentives or disincentives for construction clients are necessary to encourage them to actively participate in H&S programmes, hence resulting in performance improvement.

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