Territorial Education Strategies
Workers with insufficient education have a limited understanding of safety and working capabilities (Vaismoradi et al., 2016). Male and female workers in both regions with higher education were reported to have higher SC and SCB scores. And the influence of education on SC and SCB were significant at 0.005 level in both Hong Kong and Mainland China. The findings are in line with the previous research examining the demographic influence of SC and SCB (Meng and Chan, 2020), which validated the effectiveness of education in enhancing the SC and SCB of workers. Generally, the education level of Mainland workers is lower than Hong Kong workers because more of the latter obtained high school degree (98 respondents), and more of the former only obtained junior middle school degree or below (58 respondents). The relevant Mainland authorities should be concerned that the lower education level of the workers will create a huge obstacle toward the understanding of the safety education because of the shortages of general knowledge and learning capacities (Podorova et al., 2019). Therefore, using graphical presentation and example illustration is recommended in areas that are difficult to understand while conducting on-job campaigns and safety courses, preferably with rewards and incentives for workers to ensure the learning initiative, such as safety performance reward or paid learning time (Cheng et al., 2020). However, in this study, Hong Kong respondents reported lower scores in terms of the safety regulation of construction industry (Item: SC9) than their Mainland counterparts. Therefore, worker’s education in Hong Kong should be more emphasized on the learning of the construction regulation to facilitate their proper understanding and familiarity to the common ordinance and laws of Hong Kong construction industry, such as “Fire Safety (Building) Ordinance, CAP 572” and “Building Ordinance, CAP 123”.
Workhour was identified in both regions as a significant predictor of occupational injuries, with more workload corresponding to lower SC and SCB. One possible explanation for such finding is that a prolonged working time will exhaust workers and reduce their concentration and consciousness, thereby negatively affecting their attitudes and organizational participations toward work safety (Lee and Lee, 2016; Park et al., 2019). To solve this problem, working duration should be properly scheduled to optimize the working efficiency and safety performance of construction workers (Meng et al., 2019). Rest interval should be integrated to guarantee the recovery of worker’s physical strength. Additionally, adverse weather conditions should be considered in the design of workhour as a stressor of workload (Calkins et al., 2019). To illustrate, the outdoor works such as masonry and earth excavation starting from 12 pm during midsummer should be suspended and delayed until 3 pm due to the physical consumption and work burnout caused by high temperature.
SC and SCB
SC of the respondents from Hong Kong is higher than that of the respondents from Mainland China, which may be attributed to the carrying out of safety incentive system and high level of professional education in Hong Kong construction industry. The Hong Kong government has introduced a “Pay for Safety Scheme” project, where contractors planning to tender for public infrastructural works can include several safety-related tasks as part of their bills of quantities. These contractors will be paid for these items when these tasks are successfully implemented and achieved, which can increase the conscientiousness and motivation of managers and workers (Yiu et al., 2018). Moreover, the Hong Kong Occupational Safety and Health Council has organized training courses since 1988 for construction personnel who aimed to promote site safety (HKOHSC, 2020). Therefore, the construction management of Mainland China is suggested to take Hong Kong as an example by conducting safety incentive system and site safety education for workers to enhance both conscientiousness and safety knowledge, thereby further improving SC (Meng et al., 2019).
Construction workers in Hong Kong were verified to have better SCB than their counterparts in Mainland China because of the high education level (more Hong Kong respondents obtained a high school degree). The management and supervisory staff groups in the Hong Kong are highly educated and concerned about the safety of their coworkers and employees (Ho, 2016). The managements believe that the poor safety of personnel will negatively affect the reputations of the company and induce high compensations. Therefore, they tend to play a proactive role to guarantee the safety of their workers and protect the interests of their organizations (Rowlinson, 2003; Ying et al., 2017). By contrast, the managers of construction companies in Mainland China lack authority to make decisions and are not responsible for the profits and losses of the projects. Therefore, they generally lack the motivation to carry out their work with cost-effectiveness (Yang et al., 2017; Tan et al., 2017). The present study recommends that the relevant authorities and management of Mainland China conduct a reward mechanism for safety cooperation of construction employees such as remuneration and extra vacation for personnel who makes prominent contribution to organizational safety (Ji et al., 2018), as well as the continuing education of high-quality leadership for construction management and group leaders (Mohammad et al., 2016) to improve the SCB of construction workers by learning from the experience of Hong Kong.
The elder workers in Mainland China reported higher SC and SCB, which perceive more support and encouragement from organization and are more willing to wear the safety equipment than their younger counterparts (Stoilkovska et al., 2015). These elder workers also realize that only few job opportunities are available to them, thereby driving them to show higher commitment to their work and more willingness to obey safety regulations of the supervisor (Yu, 2016; Chih et al., 2016). By contrast, the negative relationship of age with SC and SCB in the construction industry of Hong Kong was clarified, which is mostly attributed to the declining trajectories of the working ability and retirement pathways of the Hong Kong workers (Ng and Chan, 2015). Specifically, Peng and Chan (2019) considered the reduced working capacity and psychological engagement as the obstacles to personnel safety among the elder workers in Hong Kong. They further attributed the reduced risk perception and avoidance of Hong Kong elder workers to the changes in the trajectories of working ability along with age (Peng and Chan, 2020), which negatively affect the conscientiousness of risk avoidance and working cooperation (Skibiński et al., 2016; Allan, 2017). In addition, the findings reveal that additional workhours will cause stronger negative effect on SC and SCB of Hong Kong workers than that of Mainland workers, which is mainly due to the large proportion of aging workforce of Hong Kong construction industry with insufficient physical and psychological strength to achieve consciousness concentrating and provide altruistic assistance under the excessive workload (Peng and Chan, 2019; Li et al., 2019).
Therefore, the relevant authorities and managements of the Hong Kong construction companies are advised to improve the physical capacity of elder workers by organizing trans-theoretical model-based educational programs involving different activities, such as lectures, training workshops, group discussions, and propagandas regarding regular physical activity (Poscia et al., 2016). Moreover, concerned authorities could hold safety promotional campaigns to increase the mental health of elder workers, preferably involving control interventions, job stress prevention, help-seeking promotion, mental health literacy improvement, and the establishment of positive leadership practices (LaMontagne et al., 2014).
The SC and SCB of female workers are generally lower than their male counterparts. The female workers in Mainland China performed worse SC and SCB under a stronger gender effect than their Hong Kong counterparts. The findings are in line with the research of Meng and Chan (2020), which mainly attributed the poor SC and SCB of Mainland female workers to their working marginalization due to the hegemonic masculinity of males, which is specifically generated from the traditional culture in Mainland China and not predominant in Hong Kong due to the difference of regional culture and social background (Jones, 2016). Therefore, the intensity of gender effect in Hong Kong is relatively moderate. The work schedule and condition should be specially designed for female workers with the consideration of ensuring their occupational health, especially for Mainland China (Villanueva et al., 2017; Meng and Chan, 2020). The heavy jobs such as manual handling and reinforcing works should be reduced for female workers due to their low physical capacity, and additional rest interval should be properly scheduled (Li et al., 2019). Also, the perception of organizational affiliation should be promoted for female workers by increasing the support and commitment from all levels of supervision and management through practical measure, such as the Given Voice to Value approach, so as to help them achieve high cohesion and unity with group members (Curtis et al., 2018).