Critical analysis of the application of the Safe Working Cycle (SWC): Interview findings from Hong Kong

Wai Ming Chan, Tracy N.Y. Choi

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This paper aims to investigate the effectiveness of the safe working cycle (SWC) in improving existing site safety performance of construction projects in Hong Kong and to identify the perceived benefits, potential difficulties and insightful recommendations of implementing the SWC in the future. Design/methodology/approach – The professional views on the effectiveness of implementing the SWC, the benefits and difficulties of the SWC, together with the effective recommendations for future execution of the SWC, were gleaned by ten in-depth interviews involving the representatives of senior professional staff members from major construction companies and related government works departments. Findings – Responses from in-depth interviews indicated that the SWC is generally effective in improving site safety performance and preventing the occurrence of construction accidents. The implementation of the SWC is also found useful in facilitating safety-related communications, enhancing safety awareness of frontline workers and identifying potential hazards. However, the industrial practitioners encountered some difficulties associated with the SWC, including limited space on worksites, irregular working schedules for the different trades working on-site, a lack of motivation for participation by workers and an over-tight project schedule that causes time pressure to complete work resulting in a lack of priority. Practical implications – The recommended measures include the establishment of a reward scheme, engagement of professional aerobic trainers, design of site-specific SWC, mandatory enforcement of the SWC through legislation, regular review of the SWC effectiveness, increased financial support from client organisations and creation of a more realistic project schedule. Originality/value – This study has instigated a wider debate on the underlying benefits and potential difficulties of the SWC for reference by the construction industry at large. Although the SWC is being currently executed in those new-build construction projects only, it may likewise be applied to other projects within the wide spectrum of facilities management sector and large-scale building repair/maintenance services in both Hong Kong and overseas. Therefore, the contribution from this paper could be extended to the discipline of facilities management as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-265
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Facilities Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2015


  • Construction industry
  • Hong Kong
  • Safe working cycle
  • Safety habits
  • Safety measures
  • Site safety performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Cite this