Association of Root Causes in Fatal Fall-from-Height Construction Accidents in Hong Kong

Louisa Wong, Yuhong Wang, Toran Law, Choi Tung Lo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


A major cause of fatal construction accidents is falls from height (FFH). In this study, the Human Factor Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) was adopted and modified to assist in classifying the root causes of fatal FFH accidents in Hong Kong. The characteristics and root causes of the accidents were analyzed using frequency analysis. The associations among the causes were examined using Fisher's exact test and latent class analysis (LCA). The cases apparently share some common characteristics and certain HFACS factors are closely associated. According to LCA results, the factors in all the cases may be placed into four classes, named as ill planning, violation, hidden hazards created by others, and incapable staffing. Recommendations are made to reduce FFH construction accidents based on the characteristics and root causes. The paper contributes to the body of knowledge in construction management by developing a modified HFACS framework for extracting structured information from construction accident reports, finding the general characteristics and managerial causes behind the FFH accidents, and using LCA to identify the connections among the managerial causes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4016018
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Fatalities
  • Labor and personnel issues
  • Occupational safety
  • Project management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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