American Society of Civil Engineers

Safety Hazard Identification on Construction Projects

by Gregory Carter, (Postgraduate Student, Coll. of Sci. and Engrg., The Univ. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH9 3JL, U.K.) and Simon D. Smith, (corresponding author), (Lect. in Proj. Mgmt., School of Engrg. and Electronics, The Univ. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH9 3JL, U.K. E-mail:

Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 132, No. 2, February 2006, pp. 197-205, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Hazard identification is fundamental to construction safety management; unidentified hazards present the most unmanageable risks. This paper presents an investigation indicating the current levels of hazard identification on three U.K. construction projects. A maximum of only 6.7% of the method statements analyzed on these projects managed to identify all of the hazards that should have been identified, based upon current knowledge. Maximum hazard identification levels were found to be 0.899 (89.9%) for a construction project within the nuclear industry, 0.728 (72.8%) for a project within the railway industry, and 0.665 (66.5%) for a project within both the railway and general construction industry sector. The results indicate that hazard identification levels are far from ideal. A discussion on the reasons for low hazard identification levels indicates key barriers. This leads to the presentation of an Information Technology (IT) tool for construction project safety management (Total-Safety) and, in particular, a module within Total-Safety designed to help construction personnel develop method statements with improved levels of hazard identification.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Construction methods
Knowledge-based systems
Natural hazards
Occupational safety
Risk management
United Kingdom