A Research Synthesis on the Interface Between Lean Construction and Safety Management

Eric I. Antillon1, Luis F. Alarcon2, Matthew R. Hallowell3 & Keith R. Molenaar4

1Research Assistant, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado, 428 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0428, Phone +1 303/735-0185, Fax 303/492-7317; eric.antillon@colorado.edu
2Professor, Department of Construction, Engineering and Management, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Macúl, Campus San Joaquín, Edificio San Agustín, 3rd Floor, 7820436, Santiago, Chile, Phone +56 2/3544345, Fax 2/3544806; lalarcon@ing.puc.cl
3Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado, 428 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0428, Phone +1 303/492-7994, Fax 303/492-7317; matthew.hallowell@colorado.edu
4Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado, 428 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0428, Phone +1 303/735-4276, Fax 303/492-7317; keith.molenaar@colorado.edu

Abstract

Applying lean construction practices to safety management is a promising research area and has been discussed by multiple authors. Some researchers propose that the reduction of occupational hazards is a naturally occurring effect of the implementation of lean practices. To further understand how lean practices affect project safety performance, an interaction matrix between lean construction and safety management practices was developed by performing a research synthesis and validating the synthesis with structured interviews. The variables analyzed in this interaction matrix were elements of the lean production system such as the last planner system, autonomation, and standardization, and the most common safety management practices such as planning and staffing for safety. The interface between lean construction and safety management was systematically analyzed by assessing the conclusions from previous investigations. The results indicate that there is a significant amount of evidence of synergy between lean production practices and safety management practices. For example, project-specific safety objectives can be incorporated in the lookahead planning process, and autonomation could be directly extended to worker involvement in such a way that workers can stop production whenever they feel in danger, among others. This evidence, along with the results obtained from the analysis of the interaction matrix, can also help to develop and integrate future production and safety management models.

Keywords

Lean Construction, Last Planner, Safety Management, Research Synthesis, Interaction Matrix

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Reference

Antillon, E.I. , Alarcon, L.F. , Hallowell, M.R. & Molenaar, K.R. 2011, 'A Research Synthesis on the Interface Between Lean Construction and Safety Management' In:, Rooke, J. & Dave, B., 19th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Lima, Peru, 13-15 Jul 2011.

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