Construction safety index for skyscrapers in Hong Kong: A Multi-criteria decision-making approach = 多準則決策分析香港摩天大廈建造安全指數

Project title
Construction safety index for skyscrapers in Hong Kong: A Multi-criteria decision-making approach = 多準則決策分析香港摩天大廈建造安全指數
Principal Investigator
Grant Awarding Body
Research Grants Council
Grant Type
Faculty Development Scheme
Project Code
Amount awarded
Funding Year
Duration of the Project
30 months
Skyscrapers are buildings taller than 100 m (Emporis, 2015). With 732 skyscrapers as of 23 January 2015, Hong Kong has more such buildings than another other city in the world, and in a relatively small area. Indeed, further skyscrapers are expected to be constructed to satisfy the dense population’s needs. However, the construction of skyscrapers requires more complicated technology, longer construction time and higher levels of subcontracting than low-rise buildings, which all lead to a higher probability of construction accidents.

Research has shown that construction accidents lead to insurmountable pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses in society. Although safety measures have been developed to decrease the number of accidents on construction sites, accidents still occur due to many distal and proximal factors, such as falls from heights, human error and a lack of protective measures.

Although it would theoretically be best to eliminate the factors that cause accidents by implementing a single effective safety measure, such a measure does not exist in practice. Spending an extraordinary sum of money that exceeds the potential benefit of addressing safety issues is also not economically viable. Given budgetary constraints and the large number of skyscrapers in Hong Kong, a construction safety index for skyscrapers (CSIFS) would provide a good tool for safety officers to predict safety risks, implement relevant safety risk plans and prioritise safety measures.

We will develop an objective CSIFS through the following steps:
  1. Interview workers and safety officers about their views on the relative importance of accident causation factors.
  2. Conduct case studies of workers who have had accidents.
  3. Analyse Hong Kong court case reports and study judges’ views of the relative importance of the factors that lead to accidents.
  4. Survey 150-200 safety officers in Hong Kong.
  5. Give the results of steps 1-4 to approximately 15 construction safety experts with more than 20 years of work experience, who will use them to construct the CSIFS by means of questionnaires.
  6. Calculate the weightings of the relative importance of the factors that lead to construction accidents with a multi-criteria decision-making approach and an analytical hierarchy process.
  7. The safety experts will comment on and adjust the factor weightings determined in step 6.
  8. The model will be validated with historical data from both workers who have and have not experienced accidents.

The research results are expected to offer the following practical insights for industry:
  1. Employers will be able to use the index to estimate the safety risks of construction workers under specific conditions so appropriate safety measures and risk plans can be provided in advance.
  2. Safety officers will be able to achieve a better understanding of workers’ perspectives and major safety concerns, allowing smoother and more meaningful implementation of safety measures.
  3. Knowledge of judges’ concerns about the relative importance of accident causation factors will help contractors and developers to avoid paying out huge sums in accident compensation.
  4. Various stakeholders will be made more aware of the safety hazards on construction sites, thereby providing incentives for developers, contractors and subcontractors to develop new safety measures for construction workers.
  5. Safety officers will be able to identify workers who are more accident prone under certain circumstances with the CSIFS. Relevant training, preventive safety measures and guidelines can be provided accordingly.