Mitigating the health and safety influence of subcontracting in construction: The approach of main contractors

Patrick Manu, Nii Ankrah, David Proverbs, Subashini Suresh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subcontracting is noted for its adverse health and safety (H&S) influence in construction. Using interviews with five of the top 20 UK contractors and one medium-sized contractor, this study explored how main contractors manage the H&S influence of subcontracting with a focus on their in-house measures. Some in-house measures found are: restricting the layers of subcontractors on projects; working with a regular chain of subcontractors; implementing a H&S reward scheme for subcontractors; and insisting on non-working subcontractor foremen who have direct responsibility for the safety of workers in their trade. These measures appear to be influenced by clients, industry peer groups, and the moral justification for occupational H&S, and they offer inter-organisational learning opportunities for contractors in devising measures to mitigate the H&S influence of subcontracting. These findings should also allay concerns that removing some of the legislative hurdles in connection with on-going red tape debate will result in poorer H&S.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1026
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

Bibliographical note

© 2013, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


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