Implementation of safety management systems in Hong Kong construction industry – A safety practitioner's perspective

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: In the 1980s, the safety management system (SMS) was introduced in the construction industry to mitigate against workplaces hazards, reduce the risk of injuries, and minimize property damage. Also, the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Safety Management) Regulation was introduced on 24 November 1999 in Hong Kong to empower the mandatory implementation of a SMS in certain industries including building construction. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of the SMS in improving construction safety and identify the factors that influence its implementation in Hong Kong. Method: A review of the current state-of-the-practice helped to establish the critical success factors (CSFs), benefits, and difficulties of implementing the SMS in the construction industry, while structured interviews were used to establish the key factors of the SMS implementation. Results: Results of the state-of-the-practice review and structured interviews indicated that visible senior commitment, in terms of manpower and cost allocation, and competency of safety manager as key drivers for the SMS implementation. More so, reduced accident rates and accident costs, improved organization framework, and increased safety audit ratings were identified as core benefits of implementing the SMS. Meanwhile, factors such as insufficient resources, tight working schedule, and high labor turnover rate were the key challenges to the effective SMS implementation in Hong Kong. Practical applications: The findings of the study were consistent and indicative of the future development of safety management practice and the sustainable safety improvement of Hong Kong construction industry in the long run.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Construction industry
  • Safety audit
  • Safety commitment
  • Safety management system
  • Safety practitioner

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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