Occupational Safety and Health Coordinators – Puzzle-piece Caretakers or Necessary Evils
Keywords:Health, Working Environment & Wellbeing, Identity, Meaning & Culture, Organization & Management
The construction industry continues to be high-risk in terms of occupational safety and health (OSH) issues. A pivotal instrument in preventing these risks at both European and Danish levels is the OSH coordinator. In spite of the important role of the coordinator, little research on their roles and functions exist, and critics have pointed out that OSH professionals in general may only confer limited impact on preventive OSH work. This study argues that professional identities and struggles to maintain preferred, as well as rejecting unwanted identities are highly important to understand OSH coordinators’ practices. The study investigates OSH coordinators professional identities and their implications for practice through analysis of interviews with 12 experienced OSH coordinators in the Danish construction industry. The study reveals how struggles for maintaining a positive self-image and social recognition may explain why coordinators struggle to prioritize preventing OSH risks over legitimization and social practices.
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