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In the works: Training program on psychological safety in construction


Pullman, WA — A construction worker turned college professor is developing training aimed at strengthening psychological safety in the construction industry.

Hongtao Dang, assistant professor of construction management at Washington State University, will work with construction firms to gather data and information for case studies, according to a university press release. Those studies are expected to aid in the development of student and instructor manuals to be used in training modules.

“Each manual includes a case study that will be based on real work scenarios, with any identifying information about the project or people removed,” the release states. “The scenarios will be focused on inclusion, diversity and equity; professional development and personal growth; mental health and team success; and active care and suicide prevention.

“After being presented with a case study, the workers will have the chance to think about, discuss and share solutions in small groups. The trainer later helps the group understand what might be an optimal solution.”

Dang is using a grant from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industry to fund the development of the program, which builds on his previous work on DEI training for construction safety managers.

“I know what the jobsite culture looks like – how good or bad it can be,” he said. “From that experience, I think it’s important for me to be a catalyst to potentially transform the jobsite culture and to make it more inclusive and safer for people to work there. If we can improve psychological safety on the jobsite, we can improve productivity, safety and project quality. … Every person who works on the jobsite deserves to be safe.”

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