Hu, K, Rahmandad, H, Smith-Jackson, T and Winchester, W (2011) Factors influencing the risk of falls in the construction industry: a review of the evidence. Construction Management and Economics, 29(4), 397-416.
This paper is available for free download until 1 August 2011.
Abstract: Falls are a significant public health risk and a leading cause of non‐fatal and fatal injuries among construction workers worldwide. A more comprehensive understanding of casual factors leading to fall incidents is essential to prevent falls in the construction industry. However, an extensive overview of causal factors is missing from the literature. In this paper, 536 articles on factors contributing to the risk of falls were retrieved. One hundred and twenty‐one (121) studies met the criteria for relevance and quality to be coded, and were synthesized to provide an overview. In lieu of the homogeneity needed across studies to conduct a structured meta‐analysis, a literature synthesis method based on macro‐variables was advanced. This method provides a flexible approach to aggregating previous findings and assessing agreement across those studies. Factors commonly associated with falls included working surfaces and platforms, workers’ safety behaviours and attitudes, and construction structure and facilities. Significant differences across qualitative and quantitative studies were found in terms of focus, and areas with limited agreement in previous research were identified. The findings contribute to research on the causes of falls in construction, developing engineering controls, informing policy and intervention design to reduce the risk of falls, and improving research synthesis methods.