Sustaining high levels of safety and health performance on construction sites in the United States is challenging. These challenges become more complicated when attempting to execute construction work in other countries while trying to utilize U.S.-centric programs. Cultural differences, regulatory inconsistencies, and language barriers are three common issues that need to be addressed when undertaking such a task. One may ask if trying to develop a program based on a typical U.S. model should even be considered. Arguments can be made in either direction, but based on recent experiences in Africa, Asia, and Mexico, modified U.S. models can work.
This paper explores the challenges and rewards of implementing U.S.-style safety and health programs on several construction sites located in various parts of the world. The reference to "U.S. style" does not imply that U.S.-based safety programs are superior or any more effective than programs developed in other locations, but demonstrates how a U.S.-based company has adjusted their model to fit the needs of diverse workforces and clients in a global construction market. Programs that are documented, compliant, descriptive, and more importantly effective, have no boundary or claim to a single body of land.
Opening one's mind to the unique perspectives of multinational cultures and learning new techniques, theories, systems, and approaches can only improve results. This paper will focus on various subjects related to setting up construction projects in foreign countries.