Understanding the Role of Race and Ethnicity in Shaping Safety and Well-being Outcomes for Construction Workers in the United States

Jahir Hussain, Mohammed Abid, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Francisco, Pedro, Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

The problem that my capstone research addresses is the impact of construction site pollution on the safety and well-being outcomes for construction workers and surrounding communities, specifically focusing on a construction project on the central grounds of the University of Virginia. To address this problem, a prototype environmental monitoring dashboard was developed, incorporating real-time data from air and noise quality sensors installed on-site, and linked the data to specific construction activities on a detailed as-built schedule. Considering the human and social dimensions of this technology is important because it recognizes that construction workers and surrounding communities are directly affected by the pollution generated from construction sites. Understanding the role of race and ethnicity in shaping safety and well-being outcomes may also highlight the potential health disparities faced by different racial and ethnic groups within the construction industry. The theories of STS that can be applied to analyze the problem-solving approach of integrating environmental monitoring technology in the construction context include examining the social construction of technology, actor-network theory, and the concept of co-production between technology and society. The planned method to conduct the STS research involves literature review to examine health and safety disparities in the construction industry, focusing on race among construction workers. Through literature review, my STS research aims to understand the causes and institutional factors contributing to these disparities and explores the evidence and actions taken to address these issues.
The implications of my capstone project and STS research, when considered together, are twofold. First, the development of the environmental monitoring dashboard addresses the problem of limited understanding of pollution events on construction sites, leading to potential improvements in site management and mitigation strategies. Second, the STS research sheds light on the social dimensions and inequalities in construction site safety and well-being outcomes, highlighting the need for targeted interventions and policy changes to ensure equitable outcomes for all construction workers. By integrating technology and my STS research, this project contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the complex issues surrounding construction site pollution and worker well-being.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
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