LTU’s Construction Safety Research Center to develop evaluation for construction supervisors’ safety knowledge

SOUTHFIELD—After conducting a study that produced recommendations on improving construction worker safety through better use of personal protective equipment, Lawrence Technological University’s Construction Safety Research Center has set its eyes on its second project–improving the safety performance of frontline construction supervisors.

CSRC members got the latest on the new project at Tuesday’s semi-annual meeting.

The CSRC will develop a system to evaluate frontline managers on 19 criteria of managing worker safety, grouped into three broad categories–communication, knowledge and leadership, and participation and encouragement. They’ll be evaluated on each skill on a four-grade system: excellent, good, moderate, or unacceptable.

The idea, CSRC director Ahmed Al-Bayati said, is to move the emphasis on safety awareness from specialized safety officers in a construction company to frontline supervisors, in order to emphasize that worker safety is a top priority. The current state, with worker safety relegated to safety officers, can demonstrate that worker safety isn’t core to a construction company’s business. Al-Bayati is an assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering at LTU and a nationally recognized expert on construction safety.

Al-Bayati developed the rubric to evaluate frontline supervisors with Keith Kowalkowski, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering at LTU, and Daniela Schroeter, associate professor of public administration at Western Michigan University.

The goal, Al-Bayati said, is to develop a completed rubric for evaluating frontline supervisor safety knowledge and communication by October.

CSRC members also heard from Ricardo Eiris, assistant professor of construction management at Michigan Technological University, who has worked with Al-Bayati on several safety projects. Eiris spoke about his efforts to use 360-degree immersive panorama images and storytelling to improve worker safety. He’s also working on increasing diversity and inclusion in the construction industry.

There was also a presentation on expansion of the CSRC’s study, determining reasons why workers don’t wear personal protective equipment and making suggestions to overcome those reasons, to an additional 40 Mexican construction workers. The data was collected by an LTU student, Guillermo Ortega, in visits to the Mexican Consulate in Detroit.

Al-Bayati said the additional information collected will be crucial, since the death rate for Hispanic construction workers is 4.5 per 100,000, higher than the overall construction industry rate of 3.6 per 100,000.

LTU student Tiago Troyano also made a presentation to the group on a literature review about factors that influence frontline supervisors’ safety performance.

The CSRC is also offering several construction safety training sessions over the summer. There will be a MISS DIG locator training course offered evenings from 5 to 8 p.m. June 19-22 and June 26-29. The cost is $750.

CSRC will also offer a half-day free temporary traffic control training course, discussing the basics of the Michigan Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. This will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 27.

For more information on either training opportunity, contact CSRC Director Ahmed Al-Bayati at (248) 204-2586 or

The Construction Safety Research Center is a membership-driven collaboration of companies, municipalities, associations, and agencies that aims to reduce work-related fatalities and injuries by providing innovative safety practices derived from groundbreaking research. The CSRC has a process that helps industry leaders transfer their knowledge and extensive experience into training that saves lives, prevents injuries, and improves the overall performance of construction industry companies. The CSRC’s founding members are Bouma Corporation, a Grand Rapids construction contractor;     Carhartt, Inc., a Dearborn-based maker of work apparel; DTE Energy, Michigan’s largest utility; RBV Contracting, Inc., a Detroit construction firm; the City of Kalamazoo; and the City of Southfield. In December, four more members joined: Barton Malow, the Southfield-based contractor and construction manager; CAB Engineering LLC, a Northville-based provider of government certification, procurement, and contracting consulting services; MISS DIG 811, the Michigan non-profit corporation that operates the underground utility safety notification system for the state of Michigan; and Frank Rewold & Sons, the Rochester-based construction firm.

Also contributing to the CSRC effort is Michael Darga, partner at Giffels Webster, the Detroit civil engineering firm, who graduated from LTU in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in construction management.

Lawrence Technological University,, is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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