Accident Rate Down From 57 to 9 in Five Years

Antti Leino1, Jan Elfving2 & Glenn Ballard3

1Safety Manager, BU Skanska Finland, P.O.BOX 114, FI-00101 Helsinki-Finland, Phone +358 20 719 2082, [email protected]
2Vice President, Research and Development, BU Skanska Finland, P.O.BOX 114, FI-00101 Helsinki-Finland, Phone +358 20 719 3168, [email protected]
3Director, Project Production Systems Laboratory University of California, Berkeley, Phone 415.710.5531, [email protected]


This paper describes what has been done during 2005-2009 in order to dramatically improve company safety performance, where the accident rate has been taken down from 57 to 9 lost time accidents per million work hours. It also describes how the safety program and production management program are tightly coupled together. There is a lot of research and praxis available on construction safety programs. However, the safety community may have overlooked the importance of managing uncertainty, which is one of the cornerstones in Lean Construction. Lean aims at reducing unreliability by introducing several tools that control uncertainty. These sorts of tools need to be in place also to structure safety management at construction site. They provide a platform for right risk assessment at right time, worker involvement, organisational learning and securing that there are no safety constraints in place. Using lean production management systemises adequate task planning for high risk jobs, makes use of workers knowledge, challenges unsafe acts with a non-blame perspective and improves communication and learning from errors. Lean seems to improve safety culture. This paper begins by explaining safety programs and maturity of different safety cultures. Then it provides data and cases both from the safety and the production management program in Business Unit Skanska Finland from the last 5-years. Finally, it concludes that without quality production management it is not possible to achieve low accident rates. It is also arguable vice versa; high accident rates indicate non-quality production management.


Safety, Safety culture, Accident rate, Production management, Last Planner System.



Leino, A. , Elfving, J. & Ballard, G. 2010. Accident Rate Down From 57 to 9 in Five Years, 18th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 243-252.

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