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Design for safety implementation factors: a literature review

Poghosyan, Anush; Manu, Patrick; Mahdjoubi, Lamine; Gibb, Alistair G.F.; Behm, Michael; Mahamadu, Abdul Majeed


Anush Poghosyan

Alistair G.F. Gibb

Michael Behm

Abdul Mahamadu
Senior Lecturer in Project Management in the Built Environment


© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: Decisions made during the design stage of construction works can significantly reduce the risk of occurrence of occupational accidents, injuries and illnesses. Moreover, it has been established that design is one of the major contributors of accidents and injuries. Design for safety (DfS) studies within construction have highlighted factors affecting the implementation of DfS, among which are designer attitude; DfS knowledge/awareness and education; availability of DfS tools, including guidance; client’s influence and motivation; and legislation. The purpose of this study is to carry out an in-depth literature review of DfS studies within construction to explore the extent to which existing DfS research has looked at the above-listed DfS implementation factors. Design/methodology/approach: A review of 164 journal articles related to DfS in construction (published from 1990 to 2017) within built environment, engineering and multidisciplinary safety journals was undertaken. Findings: The findings indicate that around 60 per cent of the journal articles reviewed address designer knowledge/awareness and education issues, about 27 per cent looked at DfS implementation tools to assist designers to undertake DfS, about 23 per cent studied client influence/motivation, about 16 per cent studied designers’ attitudes towards DfS implementation and approximately 16 per cent looked at the role of legislation in DfS implementation. The literature points that client influence/motivation and legislation are very influential DfS implementation factors despite a limited number of studies in these areas. Originality/value: Overall, the findings provide an indication of areas of DfS implementation, particularly client influence/motivation and legislation, where more research would be needed to promote DfS in construction to help mitigate the occurrence of accidents and injuries.


Poghosyan, A., Manu, P., Mahdjoubi, L., Gibb, A. G., Behm, M., & Mahamadu, A. M. (2018). Design for safety implementation factors: a literature review. Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, 16(5), 783-797.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Jul 31, 2018
Online Publication Date Oct 11, 2018
Publication Date Oct 9, 2018
Journal Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Print ISSN 1726-0531
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 5
Pages 783-797
Keywords accident, construction, design for safety, prevention through design, safety in design
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the author's accepted manuscript. The final published version is available here:


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