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A strategic safety management framework through


balanced scorecard and quality function deployment
Murat Gunduz and Burak Simsek

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to propose a safety management framework for construction companies. A literature
review was carried out to identify significant factors that would improve safety performance. Two management tools
namely, the balanced scorecard and quality function deployment (QFD)were used to construct the framework. Strategic
goals were established for each of the following perspectives of the balanced scorecard: financial and cultural, employee,
process, and learning. Afterwards, a questionnaire was prepared using the QFD approach. The goals in the financial
and cultural perspective were defined as the safety-related needs of the organization (customer requirements in the
original QFD approach); and the goals in the remaining perspectives included the actions that the organization could
take to meet its needs. Results of the questionnaire were used to set the final strategic goals in the balanced scorecard.
Safety performance measures and initiatives were used to accomplish the goals in the balanced scorecard.
Key words: safety management, balanced scorecard, quality function deployment.
Rsum : Cet article propose un cadre de gestion de la scurit pour les compagnies de construction. Une revue de la
littrature a tout dabord t ralise afin didentifier les facteurs significatifs qui pourraient amliorer la scurit. Puis,
deux outils de gestion ont t utiliss pour la prsente tude, dont le tableau de bord quilibr et le dploiement de la
fonction qualit. Des objectifs stratgiques ont t tablis pour chaque aspect du tableau de bord quilibr : financier et
culturel, les employs, les procds ainsi que lapprentissage et la croissance. Par aprs, un questionnaire a t prpar
en utilisant lapproche du dploiement de la fonction qualit. Les objectifs financiers et culturels ont t dfinis comme
tant les besoins relis la scurit ( exigences des clients dans lapproche initiale du dploiement de la fonction
qualit) et les objectifs des autres aspects comprenaient les actions que lorganisation pourrait prendre afin de rpondre
ses besoins. Les rsultats ont t utiliss pour dterminer les objectifs stratgiques finaux dans le tableau de bord
quilibr. Les mesures et les initiatives de scurit ont t utilises pour raliser les objectifs du tableau de bord quilibr.
Mots-cls : gestion de la scurit, tableau de bord quilibr, dploiement de la fonction qualit.
[Traduit par la Rdaction]

Gunduz and Simsek

Introduction
The construction industry is one of the most dangerous
sectors in Turkey. In the past 10 years, more than 9000 people
have died from injuries received during construction work.
Many more have been injured or have contracted illnesses
related to construction work. Moreover, work injuries can
turn out to be a significant cost for construction companies.
In addition to direct costs, such as legal penalties, companies
may incur indirect or hidden costs, such as the cost of
replacing an employee or training a new one during the
injured workers recovery period, reduced productivity of
the crew, overtime to make up for lost productivity, and possible project delays.
Received 17 May 2006. Revision accepted 4 November 2006.
Published on the NRC Research Press Web site at cjce.nrc.ca
on 20 June 2007.
M. Gunduz.1 Department of Civil Engineering, Middle East
Technical University, Ankara 06531, Turkey.
B. Simsek. Corporate Credit Assessment, HSBC Bank,
Istanbul 34398, Turkey.
Written discussion of this article is welcomed and will be
received by the Editor until 30 September 2007.
1

Corresponding author (e-mail: gunduzm@metu.edu.tr).

Can. J. Civ. Eng. 34: 622630 (2007)

630

This paper proposes a safety management framework (Fig. 1)


that can be used by construction companies. Two management toolsthe balanced scorecard and quality function
deployment (QFD)were used to construct this framework.
The balanced scorecard provides a medium for translating a
vision into a clear set of objectives. These objectives are
then further translated into a system of performance measurements that effectively communicate a powerful, forwardlooking, strategic focus on the entire organization. QFD is a
process for determining customer requirements and translating these requirements into product attributes that each functional area can understand and act on. The process involves
constructing one or more matrices through which the customer perspective is converted into a product or process
how-to. A product how-to is a set of pre-defined activities to
achieve customer needs. The study combines these two tools
in a questionnaire to identify the needs of the construction
industry and current safety management practices. Construction companies can use this framework to establish their
mission and vision statements related to safety management
and to continually establish measures of program performance.
An industry analysis of safety issues, which was based on
the vision and mission of the construction industry, was conducted. Strategic goals were set for the following perspectives of the balanced scorecard: financial and cultural,

doi:10.1139/L06-163

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Gunduz and Simsek


Fig. 1. Proposed safety management framework.

employee, process, and learning. Since it would not be feasible to deal with all these perspectives, the QFD tool was
used to evaluate each of them one by one and select the
most relevant for goal setting. The next step was to utilize
the balanced scorecard to determine the appropriate safety
performance measures for each goal. Initiatives to accomplish these goals were developed in the final stage of this
study.

Literature review
A literature review of previous safety research was carried
out to identify significant factors that would improve safety
performance.
Hinze (1978) drew attention to the safety impact of new
workers and turnover rates and stated that worker turnover is
a key factor in job safety. Studies have also revealed that
injury levels are affected by how well company managers
and policies help new workers adapt to their work environment. Hinze and Pannullo (1978) showed that increased job
control led to better safety performance. Their study revealed
that contractors who closely monitored and controlled their
projects had fewer job injuries among their workers than
contractors who did not. The following year, Hinze and Gordon
(1979) investigated supervisorworker relationships and how
they affect injury rates. These researchers found that supervisors who were more flexible in dealing with conflicts
between subordinates had better safety records than more
rigid supervisors did. Hinze and Harrison (1981) investigated safety program practices in large companies in association with reduced rates of injury. According to their study,
training and safety awards led to lower accident rates. Particularly safe records were observed in firms that (i) provided
formal orientation for new workers; (ii) had field-safety
personnel that were hired by the corporate safety director;
and (iii) placed the field-safety director in charge of training

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other safety personnel. Furthermore, Hinze and Raboud (1988)


identified appropriate means of achieving or maintaining
acceptable safety performance on large projects. They found
that monitoring safety, holding safety meetings regularly,
and organizing safety site tours reduced the number of accidents.
Kibert and Coble (1995) recommended that safety and
environmental regulations be consolidated for the benefit of
the construction industry. Jaselskis et al. (1996) analyzed the
safety programs of 48 companies and 69 projects with various levels of safety performance and provided the industry
with strategies for improving construction safety. Statistical
analysis of the data pointed to several company- and projectspecific factors that were significant in improving safety performance. Kartam (1997) tried to integrate safety and health
performance with critical path method scheduling software.
The rationale for a knowledge-intensive integrated system
was suggested to show how the development of such a system would improve industry practice. Elbeltagi et al. (2004)
presented a layout planning approach that considered both
safety and productivity as opposed to considering only productivity issues during site planning. Weinstein et al. (2005)
studied the impact of a large-scale safety-in-design initiative
during the design and construction of a semiconductor manufacturing facility in the Pacific Northwest of the United
States. A procedure to optimize the layout of temporary
facilities was then developed in combination with a scheduling tool. Furthermore, a case study on a prototype system
was presented to demonstrate the benefits of the proposed
approach. Huang and Hinze (2006a, 2006b) presented a model
that evaluated the impact of different owner practices on
project safety performance. They concluded in both studies
that the owner could favorably influence project safety
performance by setting safety objectives, selecting safe contractors, and participating in safety management during construction.
The literature has thus defined the most significant factors
that would reduce losses due to construction accidents. These
factors and the relevant references are listed in Table 1. For
this study, the factors were investigated in a survey form to
define a strategic safety management framework using the
balanced scorecard and QFD management tools.

Safety and the balanced scorecard tool


An organization can use the balanced scorecard tool as a
framework for translating its vision and strategies and clarify
its strategy through selected objectives and measures. Rather
than focusing only on short-term performance, this tool also
provides guidance for long-term goals. The scorecard maintains the financial perspective and complements it with the
customer, the internal business, and the innovation and growth
perspectives. The original balanced scorecard framework
developed by Kaplan and Norton (1996) was modified as
shown in Fig. 2.
This study slightly modified the perspectives of the original balanced scorecard and focused on financial and cultural,
learning, process, and employee perspectives. As mentioned
earlier, the objectives were selected for each perspective by
taking into consideration relevant research in the literature.
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Can. J. Civ. Eng. Vol. 34, 2007


Table 1. Significant factors in the literature.
Factors

Source(s)

Training
Controlling, monitoring
Coordination
Numerical analysis with models
Integration with critical path method
Owner practices
Productivity

Hinze (1978); Hinze and Harrison (1981)


Hinze and Pannullo (1978); Hinze and Raboud (1988)
Hinze and Gordon (1979)
Jaselskis et al. (1996); Weinstein et al. (2005)
Kartam (1997)
Huang and Hinze (2006a, 2006b)
Hinze (1978); Elbeltagi et al. (2004)

Fig. 2. Original balanced scorecard framework (after Kaplan and


Norton 1996).

Process perspective
The process perspective is concerned with the operational
aspects that ensure a safer workplace and create a safetyconscious climate.
Learning perspective
Having determined strategic objectives for the aforementioned perspectives, the balanced scorecard process identified
some gaps between the required and existing capabilities,
such as gaps in employee skills and motivation. The learning
perspective includes objectives aimed at addressing these
gaps.

Safety and the quality function deployment


tool

The most important objectives of these perspectives were


determined with a questionnaire. After an analysis of the
results of this questionnaire, some of the less significant
objectives were eliminated, and measures and initiatives
were developed for the remaining objectives. The modified
perspectives, with measures and initiatives, are shown in
Table 2. However, this table does not indicate the initiatives
for the financial and cultural perspective, because they are
used to build the product or process how-to part of the QFD.
Financial and cultural perspective
The financial and cultural perspective mirrors the organizations mission statement regarding safety. Safety has both
financial and humanitarian impacts, so this perspective is
concerned with the financial effects of safety-related issues.
Moreover, it tries to incorporate cultural aspects as a safetyconsciousness policy of the companys commitment.
Employee perspective
In this study, the customer perspective in the original balanced scorecard was replaced with the employee perspective. Although the objectives in the original scorecard were
targeting more satisfied customers, the objectives in the current scorecard target more satisfied employees.

The QFD approach evolved from a desire to translate an


assessment of customer needs into a systematic improvement process. Customer requirements are determined and
translated into product attributes that can be understood and
acted on by each functional area. The process involves constructing one or more matrices through which the customer
perspective is converted into product or process how-tos. The
most common matrix is the house of quality shown in Fig. 3.
To eliminate any non-value-adding processes, the QFD
tool was used early in the design process to help determine
what would satisfy the customer and where to deploy the
most effort. As explained earlier, the objectives were defined
for each perspective of the balanced scorecard. However, the
scorecard was not further utilized because dealing with all
the objectives would consume resources, such as time. Thus,
QFD can determine the most important objectives, which
thereby eliminates the less important ones in the early stages.
Data collection and analysis
The QFD is usually prepared by the top management people in large organizations. However, in this study it was prepared in the form of a questionnaire to analyze the safety
management practices of construction companies in Turkey.
The QFD approach has two dimensions. For the purpose of
this questionnaire, the first dimension (customer needs in the
original QFD) was taken as the financial and cultural perspective of the balanced scorecard and included the objectives established for this perspective previously. The second
dimension (product or process how-tos in the original QFD)
included the objectives of the remaining perspectives (employee, process, and learning), since these perspectives are
the enablers of the financial and cultural perspective. The
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Learning

Process

Motivating employees
Developing a training program
Training supervisors (safety awareness)

Percentage of employees being rewarded as a result of safety


awareness

Establishing an effective site layout plan


and monitoring
Preparing checklists
Forming a safety team to coordinate efforts

Informing employees about the companys


concern for them
Creating a safety image
Developing reward programs for individual
or group performance
Providing administrative support
Conducting a project safety analysis to
identify major and unique hazards
Performing safety audits
Recording all accidents and near misses

Suggested initiatives

Perception surveys and turnover rate


Percentage of highly skilled and experienced staff hired

Checklists
Number of safety meetings

No. of actions taken / No. of actions in the pre-job safety plan

Safety reports of safety audits


Number of accidents occurring more than once

Improve follow-up inspection


Investigate root causes to prevent
reoccurrence
Establish and maintain safe work
environment
Comply with safety codes and standards
Enhance safety meetings to discuss hazards,
accidents, and prevention
Enable open communication with workers
Provide new employee orientation and safety
training for each new hire
Create an employee feedback system

Improve workplace climate


Create an effective pre-job safety plan

Percentage of highly skilled and experienced staff hired


Percentage of employees being rewarded as a result of safety
awareness
Perception surveys and site interviews
Inspections and audits

Attract a competent workforce


Develop incentive programs for employees

Perception surveys and site interviews


Perception surveys and turnover rate

Number of accidents
Number of occupational diseases
Amount paid as legal fees
Deviation from actual budget following an accident
Cost of activity per unit of related cost driver
Number of injured workers needing company support

Reduce accidents
Reduce occupational diseases
Reduce legal fees
Reduce indirect costs
Improve productivity
Eliminate human suffering and the disruption
it can bring into a persons life
Create subcontractor awareness
Improve employee satisfaction

Employee

Perception surveys and site interviews

Instill strong safety values within company

Financial and
cultural

Suggested measures

Objectives

Perspective

Table 2. Modified perspectives with suggested measures and initiatives.

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Fig. 3. Typical house of quality.

financial and cultural perspective actually compromises the


ultimate safety goals. The first dimension can be called the
safety objectives in the current house of quality, and the
second one can be called enablers.
The roof of the house of quality was omitted from the
questionnaire to avoid complexity for respondents. However,
the roof can help establish the causeeffect relationships of
the balanced scorecard. Furthermore, the dimensions of the
house of quality were reversed for conveniencein other
words, the enablers (product how-tos in the original QFD)
were placed on the left side of the house of quality, and the
safety objectives (customer needs in the original QFD) were
placed at the top.
Construction companies of different sizes and the safety
department of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security
were asked to complete this survey. The list of companies
was developed with the help of the ministry. Approximately
200 forms were mailed, and 50 hard copies were distributed
to potential respondents. A total of 40 surveys were completed, representing a response rate of 16%. A sample questionnaire form is shown in Fig. 4. The matrix was empty on
the forms given to the respondents, but the enablers and
safety objectives had been predetermined and filled out as
shown in the figure.
All the respondents were civil engineers, and the responses
reflect the opinions of these construction industry professionals. The projects involved varied from building projects
to infrastructure projects, though the type of project was not
reflected in the questionnaire.
The steps involved in answering and evaluating the matrix
in the questionnaire were as follows:
Respondents evaluated the importance of each safety
objective by assigning a value from 1 to 5, with 1 being
the lowest and 5 being the highest grade. They also specified how capable each enabler was in meeting the safety
objectives by entering a Y, O, or D (representing a strong,

Can. J. Civ. Eng. Vol. 34, 2007

moderate, or weak relationship, respectively) into the cells


or leaving them empty if they found no relationship. A
filled-in questionnaire is shown in Fig. 4.
The D, O, and Y responses were then replaced with the
discrete values 1, 3, and 5, respectively. The empty spaces
had a value equal to 0 (Fig. 5). The values 1, 3, and 5
were assigned because this practice is common in statistical literature.
The values entered into the cells by each respondent were
added and then divided by the number of respondents
(Fig. 6).
The importance rating for each enabler was then determined by the weighted average of the importance ratings
of the safety objectives and the relationship value of the
related enabler. The summary and the results of the process are shown in Fig. 6.
The data were sent out to the owners, project managers,
and site superintendents of the construction projects in Turkey.
Discussion of results
The importance ratings for each objective can be seen in
Fig. 6. Some enablers were considered more important than
others, as shown numerically as shown in the last column.
All the safety objectives, which represent the objectives of
the financial and cultural perspective in the balanced scorecard, are included in the final scorecard. The enablers representing the objectives of the remaining perspectives in the
balanced scorecard turned out to be less important and were
eliminated. The selected components of each perspective are
shown in Fig. 7.

Application of quality function deployment


results to balanced scorecard
The next stage will be to utilize the scorecard, taking the
following steps:
List the objectives for each perspective.
Establish the causeeffect relationships.
Propose possible measures for the objectives of each perspective.
List possible initiatives.
Milestones for the establishment of the objectives will not
be set here, since the timeline for accomplishing these goals
will vary from one company to another. However, each company is strongly advised to set target dates for meeting its
objectives so that everyone involved will have a definite time
frame to follow.
As mentioned above, a list of possible objectives, derived
from a literature survey, was selected for all perspectives in
the balanced scorecard. Afterwards, a survey was conducted,
and the most important objectives were determined. The outcomes shown in Fig. 7 will form the strategic objectives for
the perspectives of the balanced scorecard.
Causeeffect relationships
Determining causeeffect linkages allows a company to
set accurate milestones for the accomplishment of interrelated goals. Although setting milestones is beyond the scope
of this study, some possible causeeffect linkages are shown
in Fig. 7. For example, providing orientation and training to
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Gunduz and Simsek

627

Fig. 4. Sample questionnaire.

new employees will improve compliance with safety-codes


standards (link 1). Compliance, in turn, will improve workplace
climate (link 2). Improved workplace climate will increase
employee satisfaction (link 3), and employee satisfaction will
result in improved productivity (link 4). However, there is
much debate about link 4 in the literature. Borcherding and
Oglesby (1974) analyzed the hypothesis of social psychologists that high job satisfaction leads to high productivity. In
contrast, the present study found the reverse that high productivity resulted in job satisfaction. In addition, a study by

Soderberg and Salena (1981) found no correlation between


job satisfaction and productivity. Mansfield et al. (1989)
presented an excellent review of literature in this area and
concluded that the importance of worker satisfaction had not
yet been resolved. These studies suggest that link 4 needs
careful attention.
Defining measures and initiatives
A relevant measurement system is needed to provide feedback and motivation for stakeholders. Table 2 lists possible
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Can. J. Civ. Eng. Vol. 34, 2007

Fig. 5. Relationships as discrete random variables.

performance measures, most of which were derived from a


survey of the literature.
The last step in completing the balanced scorecard is to
define initiatives. Initiatives are actually the required actions
the company has to take to accomplish its objectives. The
objectives in the financial and cultural perspective will be
the outcomes of the objectives in the other perspectives.
Therefore, initiatives should be defined for the objectives for

the employee, process, and learning perspectives. The proposed initiatives are also listed in Table 2.

Conclusion
The balanced scorecard and QFD are effective tools that
management can use to identify relationships between objectives and performance measures in safety management prac 2007 NRC Canada

Gunduz and Simsek

629

Fig. 6. Importance of ratings.

tices. In this study, these two tools were slightly modified to


set targets and define goals for a safety management framework that a construction company could use for benchmarking
and measuring its safety performance. A survey form was
developed to define the final strategic goals in the balanced
scorecard. The proposed balanced scorecard will help the
construction industry test and receive feedback on cause

effect relationships. In this way, the system is expected to


improve itself over time, leading to the construction of an
even better safety management framework.
Defining the milestones for each goal in the balanced
scorecard should be considered. However, the present study
leaves implementation to the individual companies, since
these targets change from one company to another. Com 2007 NRC Canada

630
Fig. 7. Causeeffect linkages.

panies are also strongly advised to continually evaluate their


strategy by comparing their actual performance with the milestones set for each strategic goal.

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank Mr. Sedat Bitik and Mr.
Ekrem Turk for their continuous support during the research
effort.

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