Validating DFS concept in lifecycle subway projects in China based on incident case analysis and network analysis

    Xiaer Xiahou Affiliation
    ; Jingfeng Yuan Affiliation
    ; Qiming Li Affiliation
    ; Miroslaw J. Skibniewski Affiliation


Regardless of potential benefits of design for safety (DFS) concept for lifecycle safety management in construction industry, DFS adoption as an early intervention has been slower than expected. While existing research mainly con­centrates on construction and operation phases, the role of design phase in construction safety management is always ignored. To validate the influence of DFS concept on lifecycle safety performance, this research conducted an incident case analysis (ICA) based on 442 cases collected from lifecycle subway projects, and a subway design-incident classification model (SDICM) was developed to help identify their relationship to DFS concept. Network theory was applied to study the interdependence of 22 subsystems obtained from China’s code for metro design in lifecycle safety performance. Research findings show 236 out of 442 accidents are linked to DFS. Compared with construction phase, operation phase is more susceptible to design work. Station Building (SB), Section Construction (SC), Platform Screen Doors (PSD), Vehicle Systems (VES) and Power Supply Systems (PSS) are identified as having the highest number of accidents. The results of network analysis are consistent with ICA and demonstrate the safety interdependence of subsystems. This research can help improve the cognizance of DFS, and the identified subsystems should be given priority in the design phase.

Keyword : safety management, design for safety (DFS), prevention through design (PTD), subway construction, incident case analysis (ICA), network analysis

How to Cite
Xiahou, X., Yuan, J., Li, Q., & Skibniewski, M. J. (2018). Validating DFS concept in lifecycle subway projects in China based on incident case analysis and network analysis. Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, 24(1), 53-66.
Published in Issue
Mar 9, 2018
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Bavelas, A. 1948. A mathematical model for group structures, Human Organization 7(3): 16–30.

Behm, M. 2005. Linking construction fatalities to the design for construction safety concept, Safety Science 43: 589–611.

Carter, G.; Smith, S. D. 2006. Safety hazard identification on construction projects, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 132: 197–205.

Coats, T.; Walter, D. 1999. Effect of station design on death in the London Underground: observational study, BMJ 319: 957–957.

Deng, Y.; Li, Q.; Lu, Y. 2015. A research on subway physical vulnerability based on network theory and FMECA, Safety Science 80: 127–134.

Ding, L.; Yu, H.; Li, H.; Zhou, C.; Wu, X.; Yu, M. 2012. Safety risk identification system for metro construction on the basis of construction drawings, Automation in Construction 27: 120–137.

Ding, L.; Zhou, C. 2013. Development of web-based system for safety risk early warning in urban metro construction, Automation in Construction 34: 45–55.

Driscoll, T. R.; Harrison, J. E.; Bradley, C.; Newson, R. S. 2008. The role of design issues in work-related fatal injury in Australia, Journal of Safety Research 39: 209–214.

Fouracre, P.; Dunkerley, C.; Gardner, G. 2003. Mass rapid transit systems for cities in the developing world, Transport Reviews 23: 299–310.

Freeman, L. C. 1977. A set of measures of centrality based on betweenness, Sociometry 40(1): 35–41.

Gambatese, J. A. 1998. Liability in designing for construction worker safety, Journal of Architectural Engineering 4: 107–112.

Gambatese, J. A.; Behm, M.; Hinze, J. W. 2005. Viability of designing for construction worker safety, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 131: 1029–1036.

Gambatese, J. A.; Behm, M.; Rajendran, S. 2008. Design’s role in construction accident causality and prevention: Perspectives from an expert panel, Safety Science 46: 675–691.

Gambatese, J. A.; Dunston, P. S. 2003. Designer consideration of project lifecycle performance, in Construction Research Congress: Wind of Change: Integration and Innovation, 2003, 1–8.

Gambatese, J. A.; Hinze, J. W.; Haas, C. T. 1997. Tool to design for construction worker safety, Journal of Architectural Engineering 3: 32–41.

Gambatese, J.; Hinze, J. 1999. Addressing construction worker safety in the design phase: Designing for construction worker safety, Automation in Construction 8: 643–649.

Gibb, A. 2002. Safety in design: A European/UK view, in Proc. of the 12th Annual Construction Safety & Health Conference, 2002, 552–557.

Gibb, A.; Haslam, R.; Hide, S.; Gyi, D. 2004. The role of design in accident causality, in Designing for Safety and Health in Construction: Proceedings, Research and Practice Sympo¬sium. Eugene, OR: UO Press.

Hadikusumo, B.; Rowlinson, S. 2004. Capturing safety knowledge using design-for-safety-process tool, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 130: 281–289.

Hallowell, M. R.; Gambatese, J A. 2009. Qualitative research: Application of the Delphi method to CEM research[J], Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 136(1): 99–107.

Hallowell, M. R.; Hansen, D. 2016. Measuring and improving designer hazard recognition skill: Critical competency to enable prevention through design, Safety Science 82: 254–263.

Haslam, R. A.; Hide, S. A.; Gibb, A. G.; Gyi, D. E.; Pavitt, T.; Atkinson, S.; Duff, A. 2005. Contributing factors in construction accidents, Applied Ergonomics 36: 401–415.

Hinze, J. 1997. Construction safety[M]. Prentice Hall.

Hinze, J.; Wiegand, F. 1992. Role of designers in construction worker safety, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 118: 677–684.

Hollnagel, E. 2008. Risk + barriers = safety?, Safety Science 46(2): 221–229.

Karakhan, A. A.; Gambatese, J. A. 2017. Identification, quantification, and classification of potential safety risk for sustainable construction in the United States, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 143(7): 04017018.

Korman, R. 2001. Wanted: new ideas. Panel ponders ways to end accidents and health hazards, Engineering News-Record 247: 26–29.

Krysinska, K.; De Leo, D. 2008. Suicide on railway networks: epidemiology, risk factors and prevention, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 42: 763–771.

Kyriakidis, M.; Hirsch, R.; Majumdar, A. 2012. Metro railway safety: An analysis of accident precursors, Safety Science 50: 1535–1548.

Li, J. S.; Chow, W. 2003. Numerical studies on performance evaluation of tunnel ventilation safety systems, Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 18: 435–452.

Lopez, R.; Love, P. E.; Edwards, D. J.; Davis, P. R. 2010. Design error classification, causation, and prevention in construction engineering, Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities 24: 399–408.

Lortie, M.; Rizzo, P. 1998. The classification of accident data, Safety Science 31: 31–57.

Lu, Y.; Hinze, J.; Li, Q. 2011. Developing fuzzy signal detection theory for workers’ hazard perception measures on subway operations, Safety Science 49: 491–497.

Lu, Y.; Li, Q.; Xiao, W. 2013. Case-based reasoning for automated safety risk analysis on subway operation: Case representation and retrieval, Safety Science 57: 75–81.

Mackenzie, J.; Gibb, A.; Bouchlaghem, N. 2000. Communication: the key to designing safely. European Construction Institute.

Manuele, F. A. (Ed.) 1997. On the practice of safety. 3rd ed. Willey Interscience.

Martínez-Aires, M. D.; Rubio Gámez, M. C.; Gibb, A. 2015. The impact of occupational health and safety regulations on prevention through design in construction projects: Perspectives from Spain and the United Kingdom, Work 53: 181–191.

National Bureau of statistics of China. 2016. China statistical yearbook 2016.

Qi, J.; Issa, R.; Hinze, J.; Olbina, S. 2011. Integration of safety in design through the use of building information modelling, in International Workshop on Computing in Civil Engineering 2011, 19–22 June 2011, Miami, Florida, United States.

Rasmussen, J. 1997. Risk management in a dynamic society: a modelling problem, Safety Science 27(2–3): 183–213.

Sabidussi, G. 1966. The centrality index of a graph, Psychometrika 31: 581–603.

Seo, J. W.; Choi, H. H. 2008. Risk-based safety impact assessment methodology for underground construction projects in Korea, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 134: 72–81.

Suraji, A.; Duff, A. R.; Peckitt, S. J. 2001. Development of causal model of construction accident causation, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 127: 337–344.

Swuste, P. 2008. “You will only see it, if you understand it” or occupational risk prevention from a management perspective, Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries 18: 438–453.

Szymberski, R. T. 1997. Construction project safety planning, Tappi Journal, USA.

Taiebat, M.; Ku, K. 2011. Tuning up the core of hazard identification: How to improve stimulated thinking for safety in design, in Proc. of The 47th ASC Annual International Conference, 2011.

Turner, B. A. 1989. Accidents and nonrandom error propagation, Risk Analysis 9(4): 437–444.

Tymvios, N.; Gambatese, J. A. 2016. Direction for generating interest for design for construction worker safety – A Delphi study, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 142: 04016024.

Wan, X.; Li, Q.; Yuan, J.; Schonfeld, P. M. 2015. Metro passenger behaviors and their relations to metro incident involvement, Accident Analysis & Prevention 82: 90–100.

Wang, H.-d.; Pan, K.; Jiang, F.-d. 2007. AHP-based hazards analysis of urban subway operation safety and preventive countermeasures, Journal of the China Railway Society 29(2).

Weinstein, M.; Gambatese, J.; Hecker, S. 2005. Can design improve construction safety?: Assessing the impact of a collaborative safety-in-design process, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 131: 1125–1134.

WorkCover. 2001. CHAIR safety in design tool (CHAIR – Construction Hazard Assessment Implication Review). Sydney, Australia.

Zhang, L.; Skibniewski, M. J.; Wu, X.; Chen, Y.; Deng, Q. 2014. A probabilistic approach for safety risk analysis in metro construction, Safety Science 63: 8–17.

Zhang, X.; Deng, Y.; Li, Q.; Skitmore, M.; Zhou, Z. 2016. An incident database for improving metro safety: The case of Shanghai, Safety Science 84: 88–96.

Zhong, M.; Shi, C.; Tu, X.; Fu, T.; He, L. 2008. Study of the human evacuation simulation of metro fire safety analysis in China, Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 21: 287–298.

Zhou, Z.; Goh, Y. M.; Li, Q. 2015. Overview and analysis of safety management studies in the construction industry, Safety Science 72: 337–350.

Zhou, Z.; Irizarry, J.; Li, Q. 2014. Using network theory to explore the complexity of subway construction accident network (SCAN) for promoting safety management, Safety Science 64: 127–136.

Zhou, Z.; Li, Q.; Wu, W. 2011. Developing a versatile subway construction incident database for safety management, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 138: 1169–1180.

Zou, P. X.; Li, J. 2010. Risk identification and assessment in subway projects: case study of Nanjing Subway Line 2, Construction Management and Economics 28: 1219–1238.

Zou, Y.; Kiviniemi, A.; Jones, S. W. 2017. A review of risk management through BIM and BIM-related technologies, Safety Science 97: 88–98.