Influence of Work-Related Stressors on Safety Performance on Construction Sites in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Civil and Construction Engineering

First Advisor

Osama Abudayyeh, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Siddharth Bhandari, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Hexu Liu, Ph.D

Fourth Advisor

Steven Butt, Ph.D


Mental health concerns are surging worldwide, and workers in the construction industry have been found to be particularly vulnerable to these challenges. Stress, depression, addictions, suicides, and other key indicators of poor mental health are prevalent among construction workers. Critically, researchers have also found a link between stress in the workplace and an individual's overall safety performance. However, the still limited nature of the research in this area has hampered the development of feasible and practicable interventions for job sites. Construction work exerts considerable mental and physical demands on workers. Partly as a result of this, the number of injuries in the construction industry globally has been high. Saudi Arabia’s construction industry is no exception, with worker safety continuing to be a concern. In this context, this research aims to analyze the relationship between work-related stressors on construction job sites and self-reported injury rates among workers, to determine the impact of work-related stressors on the safety of construction workers in Saudi Arabia, and to identify the most common work-related stressors influencing the safety of workers. A meta-analysis methodology was used to accomplish this objective, wherein a comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify critical work-related stressors, while a questionnaire was used to assess stress on construction sites. Building on this foundation and using a formal meta-analysis approach that leverages the findings from past studies, a more holistic determination of the relationship between work-related stressors and injuryrates among workers can be performed. Ninety-eight studies were reviewed and seven were selected based on a pre-determined validated inclusion criteria for meta-analysis. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to construction workers in Saudi Arabia (349 workers from 16 sites) to solicit their input on construction site safety in alignment with the research objectives. Logistic regression models are then performed on the questionnaire results to evaluate the impact of work-related stressors on construction safety. As a result, ten salient work-related stressors among construction workers were identified. Of these ten work-related stressors, seven are identified as significant predictors of worker injury rates: job control, job site demand, skill demand, job certainty, social support, harassment and discrimination, and interpersonal conflicts at work. Furthermore, the results indicate that work-related stressors are a valid predictor of injury among construction workers in Saudi Arabia. The first model developed based on these results shows a significant link between work-related stressors and self-reported injuries. Accordingly, the statistical significance of the second model is confirmed. Job site demand and job satisfaction are found to be the most significant of the ten work-related stressors in the model, where both of these stressors are found to be linked to an increased risk of injury. This study represents a significant first step towards formally identifying work-related stressors to improve working conditions, reducing injuries on construction sites, and supporting future research for construction sites in Saudi Arabia. An improved work-related stressors scale for construction workers in also developed and validated by analyzing data from the study conducted in Saudi Arabia.

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