Role of Personality in Construction Safety: Investigating the Relationships between Personality, Attentional Failure, and Hazard Identification under Fall-Hazard Conditions

Sogand Hasanzadeh, Bac Dao, Behzad Esmaeili, Michael D. Dodd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Workers' attentional failures or inattention toward detecting a hazard can lead to inappropriate decisions and unsafe behaviors. Previous research has shown that individual characteristics such as past injury exposure contribute greatly to skill-based (e.g., attention failure) and perception-based (e.g., failure to identify and misperception) errors and subsequent accident involvement. However, a dearth of research empirically examined how a worker's personality affects his or her attention and hazard identification. This study addresses this knowledge gap by exploring the impacts of the personality dimensions on the selective attention of workers exposed to fall hazards. To this end, construction workers were recruited to engage in a laboratory eye-tracking experiment that consisted of 115 potential and active fall scenarios in 35 construction images captured from actual projects within the United States. Construction workers' personalities were assessed through the self-completion of the Big Five personality questionnaire, and their visual attention was monitored continuously using a wearable eye-tracking apparatus. The results of the study show that workers' personality dimensions - specifically, extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness to experience - significantly relate to and impact attentional allocations and the search strategies of workers exposed to fall hazards. A more detailed investigation of this connection showed that individuals who are introverted, more conscientious, or more open to experience are less prone to injury and return their attention more frequently to hazardous areas. This study is the first attempt to illustrate how examining relationships among personality, attention, and hazard identification can reveal opportunities for the early detection of at-risk workers who are more likely to be involved in accidents. A better understanding of these connections provides valuable insight into both practice and theory regarding the transformation of current training and educational practices by providing appropriate intervention strategies for personalized safety guidelines and effective training materials to transform personality-driven at-risk workers into safer workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04019052
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Attention
  • Big five personality
  • Construction safety
  • Eye tracking
  • Fall hazards
  • Hazard identification
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of Personality in Construction Safety: Investigating the Relationships between Personality, Attentional Failure, and Hazard Identification under Fall-Hazard Conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this