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Deciphering Why 'Cursed Construction Workers' are More Vulnerable to Occupational Accidents

8 pagesPublished: September 25, 2020


The construction industry has high rates of accidents, but most can be prevented. To prevent accidents, researchers have demonstrated that workers must first identify workplace hazards. However, workers fail to identify most hazards in construction environments. Previous studies report several factors (i.e., safety attitude) that impact construction workers' ability to recognize hazards. However, the role of superstitious beliefs in safety performance has not been studied. This research investigates how construction workers’ superstitious beliefs impact their safety performance. To achieve the objectives, 135 construction workers participated in this study. The workers’ safety beliefs and the role of supernatural myths in accident causation perception were studied through use of a validated survey instrument. Results revealed that the greater workers’ superstitious beliefs, the more inferior their safety performance. Driven by superstitions, a worker believes that accidents are caused by supernatural powers and workers have little control over their fate resulting in inferior safety performance (i.e., hazard recognition). Poor safety performance, in turn, makes workers more vulnerable to accidents strengthening their superstitious beliefs. Results of this study highlight the role of personal superstitious beliefs in safety performance. Findings are beneficial for construction professionals and practitioners seeking long-lasting and effective interventions to improve safety performance.

Keyphrases: Construction Safety, Hazard Recognition, Safety Attitude, Superstitious beliefs

In: Tom Leathem (editor). Associated Schools of Construction Proceedings of the 56th Annual International Conference, vol 1, pages 491--498

BibTeX entry
  author    = {Mostafa Namian and Donna Hollar and Farshid Taherpour and Ebrahim Ghiasvand},
  title     = {Deciphering Why 'Cursed Construction Workers' are More Vulnerable to Occupational Accidents},
  booktitle = {Associated Schools of Construction Proceedings of the 56th Annual International Conference},
  editor    = {Tom Leathem},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Built Environment},
  volume    = {1},
  pages     = {491--498},
  year      = {2020},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair,},
  issn      = {2632-881X},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.29007/wmdk}}
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