Using Grounded Theory Methodology to Explore the Information of Precursors Based on Subway Construction Incidents

Precursor management has been studied and applied across a wide range of industries. The findings demonstrate that knowledge of precursors can provide an opportunity to avoid incidents and further safety performance. A review of the literature and present construction practice implies that there is a lack of comprehensive knowledge about what precursors mean within the context of construction safety. This study aims to fill this gap by using grounded theory to capture the nature of precursors in the construction industry. Seventy-nine collapse incidents from a subway construction incident database (SCID) were employed as the source of data. The grounded theory analysis (including the three steps of open coding, axial coding, and selective coding) was conducted one by one, using qualitative data analysis software. By discreet and broad analysis, comparison and abstraction of these incident cases in subway construction, a path diagram of precursor development was generated within the context of subway construction safety management. Causal factors, frequency, categories, and information of precursors were discussed. A comparative study among the collapse incident cases was conducted to illustrate the significance of discovering precursors, adopting corresponding measures, and ensuring measure effectiveness. Set theory was applied to explore the interrelationships among precursor, incident, accident, near miss, and unsafe behavior/condition. The incident chain offered supplemental information about the interrelationship among the five constructs. The included discussion provides knowledge and information indispensable for the field of precursor management. Safety personnel can easily and clearly apply precursor management to assisting in construction safety management.


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  • Accession Number: 01523384
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Mar 20 2014 3:03PM