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An Overview Of Teaching Construction Safety To Cet/Cm Students

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Construction Classroom Development

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.175.1 - 15.175.8



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Paper Authors


Whitney Lutey Montana State University

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Whitney Lutey worked for a large international commercial contractor in Northern California for over six years before returning to Montana to take over the family general contracting business. She began teaching as an Assistant Professor at Montana State University in the Construction Engineering Technology program in Fall of 2005. She teaches CE 308, Construction Practices, CE 307, Construction Estimating and Bidding, and CE 405, Scheduling. Mrs. Lutey earned her Master of Construction Engineering Managment and B.S. of Construction Engineering Technology with Minor in Industrial and Management Engineering from Montana State University.

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Penny Knoll Montana State University

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Professor Knoll was in the commercial design-build sector of construction in Phoenix, Arizona, from 1987 to 1999 and owned her own design-build construction firm for eight years before retiring the firm to take the full time position at Montana State University in 2000. She is the program coordinator for the Construction Engineering Technology (CET) program as well as the graduate program, Master of Construction Engineering Managment. These programs are housed in the Department of Civil Engineering. Professor Knoll teaches the CET capstone course, CET 408, Construction Project Management and various graduate courses. Ms. Knoll earned her M.S. in Construction Management and B.S. in Construction from Arizona State University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

An Overview of Teaching Construction Safety to CET/CM Students Author A

Author B


This paper illustrates the need to teach that construction safety is not intuitive. In our construction program, we start teaching safety principles and practices in the student’s junior year and continue to emphasize construction safety throughout the student’s junior and senior years, ending in the student’s capstone graduating class. The key is to get our students understanding that in construction safety, we are talking about human lives. Many safety laws are dictated based on results from severe accidents or even death (e.g.. OSHA Fatal Facts). Understanding these laws is not easy, especially for a 20 to 22 year old who does not have industry experience. This paper reports the trends in our students’ scores on the Constructor’s Qualification Examination (CQE) Level I Exam as well as student responses to a locally developed survey relating to safety. The paper also recounts the various means that the program uses to not only teach construction safety principles and practices but to instill the fact that safety is not intuitive and must be learned and practiced.

This paper follows a similar thread to Peterson1 on student knowledge of and attitude toward safety. Specifically, we wanted to investigate the safety culture of outgoing graduates of our program as the data and literature review show that this age and experience group is twice as likely to become injured onsite. The other concern is that Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data starting in 2003 showed that first-line managers/supervisors of construction trade workers and construction managers were ranked as one of the top eight occupations in the private construction industry for fatalities.

Safety culture is made up of a variety of factors, including attitude; however, a large portion of the safety culture is directly connected to on-the-job work. As faculty, our responsibility is to do our best to prepare our students for this work. Faculty must focus instruction on safety rules and procedures, and we must emphasize the use of communication skills and competency to promote safety in the work environment.

This paper offers an overview of our current approach to teaching construction safety, our plans for the future, and recommendations for safety education for similar programs.


The Construction Engineering Technology (CET) program at Montana State University (MSU) is an ABET-TAC accredited program and was founded in 1960 in the Department of Engineering and Agriculture, which is now the College of Engineering, a college that includes five academic departments, including the Department of Civil Engineering, where the CET program resides. Our 2008-09 enrollment of CET undergraduates in the program was 266 with

Lutey, W., & Knoll, P. (2010, June), An Overview Of Teaching Construction Safety To Cet/Cm Students Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16363

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