Most occupational safety and health (OSH) studies, particularly in construction, involve either cross-sectional research – ‘snapshots’ in time that provide only a limited picture of the situation being studied – or retrospective (looking back) research that relies heavily on peoples’ recollections of the past.
In contrast, our Tideway tracer research project offered a unique opportunity to study OSH practices on a major infrastructure project ‘in-flight’. The research was funded by IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health), the world’s biggest professional health and safety membership organisation.
The focus of our research was the initial phases of the ‘Tideway’ project in London, which is constructing a 25 kilometre sewer tunnel under the River Thames.
Tideway provided a unique opportunity to ‘follow the action’ as a major project was established, and to explore:
- The way in which OSH policy translates into practice
- The effectiveness of OSH interventions and how they are managed
The insights and lessons from our Tideway research have applicability to the rest of the construction industry and the wider OSH community.