The Impact of Sustainability Rating Systems on Health and Safety in Building Projects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sustainable construction has gained increasing popularity within the building sector with many sustainability rating systems (SRSs) available worldwide. However, most research has been focused on the environmental benefits of pursuing SRSs, with little attention paid to the health and safety (H&S) impact on construction workers. This study thus aims to investigate the impact of adopting SRSs on the H&S of construction workers in building projects. A systematic literature review was conducted, including 39 articles, to investigate the possible association between sustainability and H&S hazards. It resulted in 30 events and eight types of associated hazards, which are mostly related to the adoption of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method SRSs. The adoption of SRSs is likely to increase the exposure of workers to known H&S hazards with no new hazards introduced. In particular, ‘falling from height’ and ‘manual handling injuries’ caused by solar installation and retrieving recyclable waste, respectively, are the most representative sustainability-related hazards. While the evidence detected is mainly related to LEED, further research is needed to investigate whether findings are valid for other SRSs, such as the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method in the UK or Green Star in Australia, to address H&S concerns associated with sustainable building projects.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalProceedings of The Institution of Civil Engineers: Management, Procurement and Law
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 May 2022