Revamping occupational safety and health training: Integrating andragogical principles for the adult learner

Main Article Content

Alex Albert
Matthew R Hallowel


Despite attempts to improve safety performance, the construction industry continues to account for a disproportionate rate of injuries. A large proportion of these injuries occur because workers are unable to recognize and respond to hazards in dynamic and unpredictable environments. Unrecognized hazards expose workers to unanticipated risks and can lead to catastrophic accidents. In order to enhance hazard recognition skills, employers often put new and experienced workers through formal hazard recognition training programs. Unfortunately, current training programs primarily rely on instructor-centric pedagogical approaches, which are insensitive to the adult learning process. In order to ensure effective adult learning, training programs must integrate learner-centric andragogical principles to improve engagement and retention in adult trainees. This paper aims to discuss training program elements that can potentially accelerate the adult learning process while improving safety knowledge retention. To this end, the researchers reviewed relevant literature on the cognitive processes of adult learning, essential components of effectual training programs and developed a reliable framework for the training and transfer of safety knowledge. A case example of successfully using the framework is also presented. The results of the study will provide safety trainers and construction professionals with valuable information on developing effective hazard recognition and receptor training programs, with the goal of improving construction safety performance.

Article Details

How to Cite
Albert, A., & Hallowel, M. R. (2013). Revamping occupational safety and health training: Integrating andragogical principles for the adult learner. Construction Economics and Building, 13(3), 128-140.
Special Issue on OH&S
Author Biographies

Alex Albert, University of Colorado at Boulder

Graduate Research Assistant,

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering

Matthew R Hallowel, University of Colorado at Boulder

Assistant Professor,

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering


Ahmed, S., Kwan, J., Ming, F. & Ho, D. 2000, ‘Site-Safety Management in Hong Kong’, Journal of Management in Engineering, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 34-42.

Cameron, I., Hare, B. & Davies, R. 2008, ‘Fatal and major construction accidents: a comparison between Scotland and the rest of Great Britain’, Safety Science, vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 692-708.

Carter, G. & Smith, S.D. 2006, ‘Safety hazard identification on construction projects’, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, vol. 132, no. 2, pp. 197-205.

Findley, M., Smith, S., Kress, T., Petty, G. & Enoch, K. 2004, ‘Safety program elements in construction’, Professional safety, vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 14-21.

Fleming, M. A. 2009, ‘Hazard recognition.’ By Design,ASSE,11-15.

Forrest, S.P. & Peterson, T. 2006, ‘It's Called Andragogy.’, Academy of Management Learning & Education, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 113-122.

Haslam, R., Hide, S., Gibb, A.G., Gyi, D.E., Pavitt, T., Atkinson, S. & Duff, A. 2005, ‘Contributing factors in construction accidents’, Applied Ergonomics, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 401-415.

Hinze, J., Thurman, S. & Wehle, A. 2013, ‘Leading indicators of construction safety performance’, Safety Science, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 23-28.

Holte, K.A. & Kjestveit, K. 2012, ‘Young workers in the construction industry and initial OSH-training when entering work life’, Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation, vol. 41, pp. 4137-4141.

Holton, E.F., Swanson, R.A. & Naquin, S.S. 2001, ‘Andragogy in practice: Clarifying the andragogical model of adult learning’, Performance Improvement Quarterly, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 118-143.

Huang, X. & Hinze, J. 2006, ‘Owner’s role in construction safety’, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, vol. 132, no. 2, pp. 164-173.

Kirkpatrick, D.L. 1998, Evaluating training programs : the four levels, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, Calif.

Knowles, M.S., Holton, E.F. & Swanson, R.A. 2011, The adult learner : the definitive classic in adult education and human resource development, Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, Amsterdam [etc.].

Larson, J. 2006, ‘Intersection of Andragogy and Distance Education: Handing over the Reins of Learning to Better Prepare Students for the Practice of Law, The’, TM Cooley J.Prac.& Clinical L., vol. 9, pp. 117.

Lindeman, E.C., Gessner, R. & Otto, M. 1956, The democratic man : Selected writings fo Eduard C. Lindeman, , Boston.

Misch, D.A. 2002, ‘Andragogy and medical education: Are medical students internally motivated to learn?’, Advances in Health Sciences Education, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 153-160.

Mitropoulos, P., Abdelhamid, T.S. & Howell, G.A. 2005, ‘Systems model of construction accident causation’, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, vol. 131, no. 7, pp. 816-825.

Pinto, A., Nunes, I.L. & Ribeiro, R.A. 2011, ‘Occupational risk assessment in construction industry–Overview and reflection’, Safety Science, vol. 49, no. 5, pp. 616-624.

Rogers, C.R. 1995, On becoming a person : a therapist's view of psychotherapy, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston; New York.

Roudsari, B.S. & Ghodsi, M. 2005, ‘Occupational injuries in Tehran’, Injury, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 33-39.

Safe Work Australia, (2009). Work-related injuries in Australia, 2005-06, available at

Taylor, B. & Kroth, M. 2009, ‘Andragogy's Transition into the Future: Meta-Analysis of Andragogy and Its Search for a Measurable Instrument.’, Journal of Adult Education, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 1-11.

Wang, Y., Goodrum, P.M., Haas, C., Glover, R. & Vazari, S. 2010, ‘Analysis of the benefits and costs of construction craft training in the United States based on expert perceptions and industry data’, Construction Management and Economics, vol. 28, no. 12, pp. 1269-1285.

Wilkins, J.R. 2011, ‘Construction workers’ perceptions of health and safety training programmes’, Construction Management and Economics, vol. 29, no. 10, pp. 1017-1026.