A Review of Safety Risk Theories and Models and the Development of a Digital Highway Construction Safety Risk Model

Loretta Bortey, David Edwards (Corresponding / Lead Author), Chris Roberts, Iain Rillie

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    2 Citations (SciVal)


    This study conducts a systematic review of safety risk models and theories by summarizing and comparing them to identify the best strategies that can be adopted in a digital ‘conceptual’ safety risk model for highway workers’ safety. A mixed philosophical paradigm was adopted (that used both interpretivism and post-positivism couched within inductive reasoning) for a systematic review and comparative analysis of existing risk models and theories. The underlying research question formulated was: can existing models and theories of safety risk be used to develop this proposed digital risk model? In total, 607 papers (where each constituted a unit of analysis and secondary data source) were retrieved from Scopus and analysed through colour coding, classification and scientometric analysis using VOSViewer and Microsoft Excel software. The reviewed models were built on earlier safety risk models with minor upgrades. However, human elements (human errors, human risky behaviour and untrained staff) remained a constant characteristic, which contributed to safety risk occurrences in current and future trends of safety risk. Therefore, more proactive indicators such as risk perception, safety climate, and safety culture have been included in contemporary safety risk models and theories to address the human contribution to safety risk events. Highway construction safety risk literature is scant, and consequently, comprehensive risk prevention models have not been well examined in this area. Premised upon a rich synthesis of secondary data, a conceptual model was recommended, which proposes infusing machine learning predictive models (augmented with inherent resilient capabilities) to enable models to adapt and recover in an event of inevitable predicted risk incident (referred to as the resilient predictive model). This paper presents a novel resilient predictive safety risk conceptual model that employs machine learning algorithms to enhance the prevention of safety risk in the highway construction industry. Such a digital model contains adaptability and recovery mechanisms to adjust and bounce back when predicted safety risks are unavoidable. This will help prevent unfortunate events in time and control the impact of predicted safety risks that cannot be prevented.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)206-223
    Number of pages17
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 9 May 2022


    • machine learning
    • models/theories
    • prediction
    • resilience
    • safety risk


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