Psychosocial risks among migrant workers in the Middle East construction sector

Hassan, Haitham (2020) Psychosocial risks among migrant workers in the Middle East construction sector. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Background: The Middle East has witnessed an unprecedented construction boom in recent years supported by a massive migrant workforce. The working conditions of this workforce are generally recognized as poor. Few researchers have examined health and safety and their possible relations with the psychosocial working conditions of this workforce. A paucity of knowledge exists on the occupational risks to health and safety in this population, and this is particularly the case for risks arising from the psychosocial work environment. Added knowledge in this domain could usefully inform risk reduction activities concerning modification to the design, organization, and management of work as a means to protect and promote workers’ health and safety.

Aims and Methods: A sequential mixed-methods investigation was conducted involving migrant construction workers at a large construction site in the Middle East. Study 1 involved a series of qualitative focus groups (n = 50) with the aim of identifying problematic psychosocial working conditions. Focus group transcripts were subjected to thematic analysis to identify themes in the narratives. The findings of Study 1 informed the design of a questionnaire completed by 651 workers to produce a descriptive profile of theory-based and role-specific psychosocial hazard exposures, the psychosocial safety climate, and indices of health and safety (Study 2). Data from Study 2 were subjected to logistic regression analyses to explore associations between psychosocial hazard exposures and safety climate in relation to health and safety outcomes.

Results: Thematic analyses of focus group transcripts from Study 1 revealed a series of psychosocial hazards, namely high job demands, poor management support, and financial strain. Key among these hazards was indebtedness to a labour recruiter in participants’ home countries. In the quantitative study, the descriptive profile was stratified by job type (labourers, skilled workers, foremen) and characterized by high exposure to potentially harmful psychosocial hazards, poor safety climate, and poor health and safety indices. Exposure to generic theory-based and role-specific psychosocial hazards was associated with elevated odds of negative health and safety outcomes.

Conclusions: Research that focuses on generic theory-based psychosocial risk factors, alongside those that are role- and context-specific, offers a strong basis for interventions relevant to a specific occupational group. The current investigation has advanced knowledge on psychosocial risks among migrant construction workers in the Middle East construction sector and points towards pathways for the protection and promotion of the health and safety of this large and neglected population.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Houdmont, Jonathan
Griffiths, Amanda
Keywords: Construction industry, Work environment, Psychosocial factors, Migrant workers
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WA Public health
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Item ID: 61389
Depositing User: Hassan Mohamed, Haitham
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2020 04:40
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2020 04:40

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