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Critical analysis of the application of the Safe Working Cycle (SWC): Interview findings from Hong Kong

Daniel W.M. Chan (Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechic University,Hong Kong, China.)
Tracy N.Y. Choi (Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechic University, Hong Kong, China.)

Journal of Facilities Management

ISSN: 1472-5967

Article publication date: 6 July 2015




This paper aims to investigate the effectiveness of the safe working cycle (SWC) in improving existing site safety performance of construction projects in Hong Kong and to identify the perceived benefits, potential difficulties and insightful recommendations of implementing the SWC in the future.


The professional views on the effectiveness of implementing the SWC, the benefits and difficulties of the SWC, together with the effective recommendations for future execution of the SWC, were gleaned by ten in-depth interviews involving the representatives of senior professional staff members from major construction companies and related government works departments.


Responses from in-depth interviews indicated that the SWC is generally effective in improving site safety performance and preventing the occurrence of construction accidents. The implementation of the SWC is also found useful in facilitating safety-related communications, enhancing safety awareness of frontline workers and identifying potential hazards. However, the industrial practitioners encountered some difficulties associated with the SWC, including limited space on worksites, irregular working schedules for the different trades working on-site, a lack of motivation for participation by workers and an over-tight project schedule that causes time pressure to complete work resulting in a lack of priority.

Practical implications

The recommended measures include the establishment of a reward scheme, engagement of professional aerobic trainers, design of site-specific SWC, mandatory enforcement of the SWC through legislation, regular review of the SWC effectiveness, increased financial support from client organisations and creation of a more realistic project schedule.


This study has instigated a wider debate on the underlying benefits and potential difficulties of the SWC for reference by the construction industry at large. Although the SWC is being currently executed in those new-build construction projects only, it may likewise be applied to other projects within the wide spectrum of facilities management sector and large-scale building repair/maintenance services in both Hong Kong and overseas. Therefore, the contribution from this paper could be extended to the discipline of facilities management as well.



The authors wish to thank the Department of Building and Real Estate of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University for providing financial support to this research study (Departmental General Research Grants Allocation 2011/2012 with Project Account Code: 4-ZZC2). This paper forms part of a funded research project entitled “An Exploratory Study on the Implementation of the Safe Working Cycle (SWC) in the Hong Kong Construction Industry”, which has several research objectives sharing a common background of study and research methodology with the present study. The authors would also like to acknowledge the active participation, kind support and valuable assistance of the ten interviewees who provided their valuable opinions and substantiated necessary information on the SWC in this paper.


Chan, D.W.M. and Choi, T.N.Y. (2015), "Critical analysis of the application of the Safe Working Cycle (SWC): Interview findings from Hong Kong", Journal of Facilities Management, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 244-265.



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