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Development of risk assessment tool using damaging energy and argumentation theory for evaluating construction occupational safety and health risks

Nor Haslinda Abas (Faculty of Civil Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Batu Pahat, Malaysia)
Nick Blismas (School of Property Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Helen Lingard (School of Property Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 3 February 2021

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of a risk assessment model to assess the occupational safety and health (OSH) risks presented by different construction approaches, namely traditional and industrialised building system (IBS). The development process applies the concept of argumentation theory, which helps construction designers integrate the management of OSH risk into the design process. In addition, an energy damage model is used as an underpinning framework for developing the model.

Design/methodology/approach

Development of the model was achieved through two phases. Phase I involved collection of data on the activities involved in the construction process and their associated OSH risks, derived from five different case studies, field observation and interviews. Knowledge of design aspects that have the potential to impact on OSH was obtained from document analysis. Using the knowledge obtained in phase I, a model was developed in the form of argument trees (Phase II), which represent a reasoning template with regard to options available to designers when they make judgements about aspects of their designs. Inferences from these aspects eventually determined the magnitude of the damaging energies for every activity involved. Finally, the model was validated by panels of experts, and revisions and amendments were made to the model accordingly.

Findings

The risk assessment model development revealed that the concept of argumentation theory and energy damage model is suitable to represent design safety risk knowledge and effectively address the designer's role in making decisions in their designs and further illuminate the level of OSH risk their designs pose.

Practical implications

The developed model provides best-practice reasoning support for construction designers, which help them to understand the impact of their designs decisions on worker's safety and health, and thereby assist them to further mitigate the risk to an acceptable level.

Originality/value

This study departs from the existing tool in that the model was developed based upon the combination of argumentation theory and energy damage model. The significance of the model is discussed.

Keywords

Citation

Abas, N.H., Blismas, N. and Lingard, H. (2021), "Development of risk assessment tool using damaging energy and argumentation theory for evaluating construction occupational safety and health risks", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-07-2020-0486

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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