Implementation of safety management system in managing construction projects: Benefits and obstacles

Nicole S.N. Yiu, Daniel W.M. Chan, Ming Shan, N. N. Sze

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


The safety management system (SMS) was introduced in the 1980s to reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities and minimise material waste in the construction industry. Further, construction companies have spent immeasurable resources on executing SMSs in the past 30 years. In this study, current industry practices were was reviewed to identify the benefits and obstacles of implementing SMS. Further, a questionnaire was conducted to identify the significant benefits and obstacles of implementing SMS. Results show that the top four benefits were safer working conditions, reduced harm to workers, regarding safety management as a part of project management, and better project management, while the top five obstacles were putting safety as a lower priority due to cultural differences in organizations, workers’ high turnover rates, tight project schedules, obstruction by sub-contractors, and inactive participation for the SMS implementation by the project team members. This study contributes to the current body of knowledge of safety research by examining the benefits of and obstacles to implementing SMS in the construction industry. The findings from this study are beneficial to the industry as well, because they can enhance the industry practitioners’ understanding on SMS and help them to improve the implementation of SMS in their workplaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Benefits
  • Construction industry
  • Hong Kong
  • Obstacles
  • Safety management system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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