Saf Health Work.  2011 Jun;2(2):105-121.

Review of Qualitative Approaches for the Construction Industry: Designing a Risk Management Toolbox

  • 1Environment, Safety, and Health Directorate, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, USA.
  • 2Research and Development Arbouw, Harderwijk, The Netherlands.
  • 3Construction Program, National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, Washington, DC, USA.
  • 4Education and Information Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH, USA.
  • 5Chemical Risk Management Unit, Health and Safety Executive, Bootle, Merseyside, UK.
  • 6Safety Science Group, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands.


This paper presents the framework and protocol design for a construction industry risk management toolbox. The construction industry needs a comprehensive, systematic approach to assess and control occupational risks. These risks span several professional health and safety disciplines, emphasized by multiple international occupational research agenda projects including: falls, electrocution, noise, silica, welding fumes, and musculoskeletal disorders. Yet, the International Social Security Association says, "whereas progress has been made in safety and health, the construction industry is still a high risk sector."
Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) employ about 80% of the world's construction workers. In recent years a strategy for qualitative occupational risk management, known as Control Banding (CB) has gained international attention as a simplified approach for reducing work-related risks. CB groups hazards into stratified risk 'bands', identifying commensurate controls to reduce the level of risk and promote worker health and safety. We review these qualitative solutions-based approaches and identify strengths and weaknesses toward designing a simplified CB 'toolbox' approach for use by SMEs in construction trades.
This toolbox design proposal includes international input on multidisciplinary approaches for performing a qualitative risk assessment determining a risk 'band' for a given project. Risk bands are used to identify the appropriate level of training to oversee construction work, leading to commensurate and appropriate control methods to perform the work safely.
The Construction Toolbox presents a review-generated format to harness multiple solutions-based national programs and publications for controlling construction-related risks with simplified approaches across the occupational safety, health and hygiene professions.


Control banding; Qualitative risk management; Construction toolbox; Risk level based management system; Barrier banding
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