Construction Health and Safety Self-Regulation in Developing Countries: A Nigeria Case Study

Authors: Nnedinma Umeokafor and David Isaac

The study reported in this paper explored the self-regulatory approaches in terms of health and safety (H&S) in the Nigerian construction industry and the attitudes of the industry towards H&S self-regulation. This stems from the premise that the Nigerian construction industry has been viewed as unregulated, but evidence in literature indicates that some parts of the industry are self-regulated in various forms. However, it is unclear how self-regulation occurs in the industry, its approaches and the attitudes of the industry towards it. Based on group and individual interviews, there is evidence of self-regulation that is: enforced, industry-led, voluntary, H&S crusader-led, client-led and community-led. It was revealed that in many cases, when self-regulation is voluntary, the self-regulatory process does not exceed the first stage of self-regulation, adopting or developing standards. The attitudes of the industry towards H&S self-regulation can be described as not limited to “camouflage,” “convenience,” “context-defined,” “secondary,” “unstructured,” and “tick box.” However, there are some in the industry that have a favorable attitude towards H&S where it is “primary” in their organization. The understanding of self-regulation and H&S is advanced in this study, especially in developing countries, which policymakers, socio-legal scholars, practitioners, academics, and various industries may find beneficial.

Keywords: Approaches, attitude, construction, health and safety (H&S), Nigeria, self-regulation