School of Medical and Health Sciences
Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship
Across the global construction industry, fatalities continue to occur from high-risk activities, where the risk controls have been defined; however, these were unreliable. In the mining industry, Critical Control Risk Management has provided positive results in reducing major accidents, which raises the question, could the Critical Control approach reduce the fatality rate in the construction industry? This study analyzed 10 years of serious and fatal incident investigation reports from four international construction companies to (i) assess the reliability of their Critical Controls (CCs) and (ii) assess the factors that affect the reliability of CCs. The results show the reliability of CCs, measured by implementation and effectiveness, averaged just 42%. Insight into human performance and organizational factors, including risk identification, decision-making and competency, together with supervision, job planning and communication, were identified as opportunities to improve the reliability of CCs. The study used bowtie diagrams with real event data to find the actual CC reliability. This appears to be the first published study that reports on the reliability of critical risk controls in construction. It demonstrates a feasible method for determining and communicating control effectiveness that can be used to deliver meaningful insights to industry practitioners on actual control performance and focus areas for improvement. In addition, actionable findings directly related to individual CCs can be derived that enable the participating organization to focus resources on improving specific verification processes. The results confirm the applicability of CCs for the Major Accident Event hazards analyzed and highlights that further reviews are required on the factors that need to be considered when implementing a CC program. This paper details our methodology and results, to assist others applying CCs as a risk management tool.
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