Design for safety (DfS) practice in construction engineering and management research: A review of current trends and future directions

Che Khairil Izam Che Ibrahim, Patrick Manu*, Sheila Belayutham, Abdul Majeed Mahamadu, Maxwell Fordjour Antwi-Afari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


For past decades, design for safety (DfS) has gained growing interest among scholars and practitioners in different geographical contexts as one of the innovative practices integrating worker health and safety in the front-end of the project lifecycle. However, a systematic scientometric study appraising the research development in DfS practice in construction domain remains elusive. This paper aims to bridge this gap by conducting a scientometric review of the available DfS literature in the construction domain. A total of 167 relevant articles were retrieved using a systematic data acquisition approach from Scopus and snowballing and then put forward into a scientometric analysis to construct science maps. The scientometric review identifies the most prolific journals, authorship, cooccurrence network of keywords, article citations, and regions. An in-depth qualitative discussion is presented to provide deeper insights into the existing studies and opportunities for future research in five main DfS research themes as follows: (1) DfS concept and management; (2) DfS technological advancement; (3) DfS capability and competency; (4) DfS education; and (5) DfS sustainability. The value and uniqueness of this review study lie in its novel contribution to the body of DfS knowledge through synthesizing the wider DfS literature landscape in the construction domain. The findings offer a point of reference for both academia and industry in bridging the deficiencies in the current research and providing pathways for future directions in DfS research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104352
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Early online date21 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license 4.0

Funding Information:
The work described in this paper was fully supported by the Young Talent Researcher (YTR) Grant of the Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia ( 600-RMC/YTR/5/3 (001/2021 )).


  • Construction
  • Design for safety
  • Prevention through design
  • Scientometric review


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