Integrating Safety, Environmental and Quality Risks for Project Management Using a FMEA Method


  • Sai X. Zeng Shanghai Jiaotong University
  • Chun M. Tam City University of Hong Kong
  • Vivian W. Y. Tam University of Western Sydney


risk, risk management, project management, failure modes and effects analysis, construction


In recent years, many construction firms have implemented various management systems, including OHSAS 18001 for occupational health and safety (OHS) management, ISO 14001 for environmental management and ISO 9001 for quality management. With increasing interests from construction firms in implementing an integrated management system (IMS) which combines OHSAS 18001, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, it is timely to assess, manage and control the risks resulted from OHS, environment and quality issues under this new integrated scheme. In this study, the Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is employed to analyze risk management for OHS, environment and quality management under an IMS in a local case study in China. FMEA is known to be a systematic procedure for the analysis of a system to identify the potential failure modes, and their causes and effects on system performance in engineering management. The analysis is performed at the early stage of a system so that removal or mitigation of the failure mode is most cost effective method. On the basis of risk priority numbers calculated from occurrence, severity, and detection of potential risks, twenty potential risk factors are graded, and their levels of acceptability are determined. The acceptability of risks is defined into four scenarios: acceptable, moderate, undesirable, and unacceptable. The findings indicate that five major potential risks, including “Roof related falls”, “Elevator shaft falls”, “Holes in flooring on construction site”, “Hit by falling objects”, and “Run over by operating equipment”, are graded to be unacceptable. These events are considered the most risky in construction. In practice, these unacceptable risks can be minimized through prevention or protection. The main goal of risk management is to keep the risks at an acceptable level by maintaining the tolerable risks and following the programs in moving unacceptable risks to an acceptable level. Risk management must involve risk mitigation measures so as to fulfill OHS, environmental and quality management programs, leading to a reduction of risk levels. All these are designed to avoid accidents, incidents, injury, or occupational diseases. In the event of an accident that has already occurred, a necessary part of risk management is the management of crisis for minimizing losses/impacts. Accordingly, measures for risk management for the twenty potential risk factors of OHS, environment and quality are recommended. It is revealed that training programs are prioritized to be the most effective measures in integrated risk management. Effective training helps personnel carry out various activities, establish a positive safety attitude, and integrate safety with environmental and quality goals. Comparing to other countries, training is believed to have a significant role in the construction industry of China due to the fact that the percentage of construction workers being trained is very low. This paper then proposes a methodology for contractors who implement the management system to integrate risk management in the pursuit of continuous improvement in project management. To achieve that, an integrated risk management is tied with a Deming’s cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act) (P-D-C-A), in which it is necessary to add audits and management review for attaining continuous improvement.

Additional Files