This paper proposes that the likelihood of accidents on a construction project is determined by two primary factors: (1) the safety management system; and (2) the production control system. The safety management system includes all the policies, programs and efforts to control the hazards and the workers’ safety-related behaviors. The production control system includes all the processes, decisions and criteria that produce the work assignments for the workers. An effective production control system produces high quality work assignments for the crews. An ineffective production control creates high-risk situations, such as unexpected conditions, high workload and production pressures, frustration, rushing, fatigue, and conflicts between production and safety. These situations increase the likelihood of violations, errors and accidents. The paper proposes a 2 x 2 matrix for classifying projects based on the production control system and the safety management system. The framework provides a more comprehensive understanding of the factors that drive construction safety. Traditional safety strategies focus on strengthening the safety system. The paper argues that safety can be improved significantly by improving the quality of the production system.
Production control; Task demands; Safety management; Project safety; Safety performance.