August 3, 2020

Design’s role in construction accident causality and prevention: Perspectives from an expert panel

Improving the safety and health of construction workers through design practices upstream of the construction phase is the objective of the design for construction safety concept. Ease of implementation and effectiveness of this intervention in practice are dependent on there being a link between the design and safety hazards. This paper presents research conducted to confirm the findings of a previous study, which revealed a link between construction site fatalities and the design for construction safety concept. Previous research demonstrated that in 42% of 224 fatality cases reviewed, the incidents could be linked to the design for safety concept. To validate the model previously utilized, an expert panel was established to review a sample of the 224 fatality cases and judge whether the design was a factor in the incident. The previous research results and expert panel responses were in agreement for 71% of the cases reviewed. The present research results provide further evidence of design’s influence on construction site safety. If safety performance in the construction industry is to improve, design professionals need to play a role in addressing safety in their designs.