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Using Personal Case Studies to Raise Construction Safety Awareness among Construction Management Students

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Construction Engineering Division Poster Session

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Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1675.1 - 26.1675.9



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Paper Authors


Carla Lopez Del Puerto University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus Orcid 16x16

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Carla Lopez del Puerto, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Construction Engineering and Management in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.

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Rodolfo Valdes-Vasquez Colorado State University

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Rodolfo Valdes-Vasquez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University. He is committed to advancing research and teaching in the sustainability of infrastructure projects. He believes that educating the next generation of professionals will play a pivotal role in making sustainability a standard practice.

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MaryEllen C Nobe Colorado State University

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Dr. MaryEllen C. Nobe is an Assistant Professor at Colorado State University. Her primary areas of research are construction education, human dimensions of construction management, and sustainable construction.

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Using Personal Case Studies to Raise Construction Safety Awareness among Construction Management StudentsTraditional students, due to their youth and inexperience, often believe that they are invincibleand that accidents will not happen to them. Construction Management programs are faced withthe challenge of raising awareness among students about the frequency and severity ofconstruction accidents and increasing their knowledge regarding social responsibility towardssafety.In order to raise awareness about construction accidents, student enrolled in the constructionsafety management course complete an in-class case studies group activity and an individualcase study report and presentation.For the in-class case studies group activity, the students were divided into four groups (6 studentsper group). Each group was provided with a case study and the following instructions: Discussthe physical and psychological effects of the accident on the injured, their family and coworkers.Also discuss how the accident could have been prevented and how we can prevent accidents likethis one from happening in the future. Record the group answers on the paper. When the studentswere done with first case-study, they were asked to give the case study including their answers tothe next group clock-wise. The next group was instructed to revise or expand on the previousgroup’s response. This process continued until each group had commented on all four casestudies. At the end of the activity, the instructor facilitated a discussion in which the last groupthat had each case study commented on the answers provided by the whole class.The individual case study assignment examines construction management students’ personalexperiences with construction related accidents. Students were asked to write a case study of aconstruction accident that they had experienced or witnessed. Students were also given thechoice to interview somebody that had either experienced or witnessed a construction accident.The objective of the assignment was to increase awareness about the magnitude and frequency ofaccidents among people that they personally know who are involved in construction (co-workers,professors, family members, etc.). The assignment consisted of two parts: a written report and anoral presentation in the class. The interview and written report allowed the students to have in-depth knowledge about at least one construction accident that had involved somebody that thestudents personally know. After both the group and individual case studies were completed, the students were asked tocomplete a survey about their perceptions of the assignment’s effectiveness in increasing theirknowledge of social responsibility towards safety. The results of the survey indicate that studentsperceived that the second case study was more effective increasing their knowledge regardingsocial responsibility towards safety. The personal connection in the individual case study isessential for students to understand that accidents can happen to anyone. Also, having to presentthe results of these cases studies to the class provides more opportunities to students to reflectabout the incident or accident. Particularly, students reflect during their oral presentation aboutincident/accident impact and how it could have been prevented.

Lopez Del Puerto, C., & Valdes-Vasquez, R., & Nobe, M. C. (2015, June), Using Personal Case Studies to Raise Construction Safety Awareness among Construction Management Students Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25011

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