Service design

Safe factory

Design guidelines for a safer working environment to reduce accidents in an industrial workplace


service design, design research, safety design, industrial factory

Neonent Co., Ltd
Nov. 2018 - May. 2019
(7 months)
4 Design researcher

Project Overview

In the past five years, the number of accidents in the manufacturing industry has been slightly decreasing, but the number of accidents in the manufacturing of metal materials has been higher than the average (about 1.7 times higher). There were different types of accidents such as abnormal temperature contact, hit by objects, collision, narrowness, and work disease.

This project set out to improve its safety in the industrial workplace and reduce accidents by using service design method. For the initiative, the project was supported by Korea Institute of Design Promotion(KIDP) as part of "Industrial Complex Safety Accident "Zero" Living Area Creation Project". As KIDP matched a company to our company, Neonent, a major supplier for parts to the automobile industry, was given to us as a client. Neonent was located in Yangsan where many of industrial companies exist.

Overview of the client

• Main Products : Manufacture of automotive parts, metallic materials

• Total number of employees : 135

• Number of foreign workers : 51 (more than half of the field positions)

• Number of accidents in a year : about 10 cases

My Role

Design researcher at Backstage co.,ltd.
: user research, concept development, visualisation, validation

Opportunity Identification


We started to observe workers' behaviours and characteristics of the working environment by Ethnographic method. A format for observation was designed in order to efficiently record the features and the conditions of working movement of the workers. Wearing a dust mask in the workplace was necessary for the observation because of its poor working environment.

Contextual Interview

In order to discover the worker's inner desires, feelings, and attitudes about safety awareness, we interviewed with 9 participants selecting based on their work experience, nationality and position (4 workers in the Post-processing zone, 4 workers in the Melting zone and 1 manager). As a majority of field workers was Indonesian or Malaysian and even they couldn't speak Korean and English, the most demanding part during the research was communication with them. So, we hired an interpreter who is a native Indonesian for communicating with interviewees.

Worker Journey Map

The behavior of workers at each process could be defined through the journey map by dividing it into steps from starting work to leaving work. We collected the major risk factors for each process to identify opportunities for accidents. The below picture is a part of journey maps we made with one persona in the Melting zone.



The more experienced,
the more insensitive to safety

High Temperature

Need enough rest
and moisture


Impossible to communicate
with most foreign workers

Poor Management

Insufficient management including
equipment, safety training, etc.

Conceptual Design

Co-creation workshop

A workshop was held in order to come up with ideas with the client’s employees. However, because the foreign workers were not allowed to participate in the workshop due to a request of the company, there was a limitation made in coming up with provider-oriented ideas even though the majority of workers were foreigners.

For the workshop, Mandal art method as a brainstorming was utilised to create diverse ideas. Based on the research, we brought 8 major risk factors to the workshop and tried to come up with at least 8 ideas for each factor.

Kano model for prioritization

In order to select the priority for ideas, correlation evaluation and reachability were conducted with the client’s staff. We brought digital sketches of each idea to better communicate with the client. These visuals were very helpful to evaluate ideas more in a cognitive way. We ended up agreeing on the choice of ideas on the spot because we evaluated them with the client.

Correlation Evaluation

During the evaluation workshop with the client, we drew the arrows together by writing the reasons for the post-it that were related to one another. More relevance was considered as a top priority.

Value Proposition

Key concepts


Develop a manual that enables smooth communication between foreign and Korean workers


Regular safety education and signage enable workers to be careful


Improve the break room with sufficient and regular break times

The safest

Establish a more pleasant and safe working environment

Complementary system system for SAFETY

It is absolutely required for the factory to prepare the measures to mitigate the safety risks and it also requires continued attention and management. So far, the majority of design approaches to reduce the safety accident have been made on the visual design area such a designing of simple safety signs. However, now it is required a variety of research case studies that are taken into account of various factors like service, environment, product, and visual aspects to address the root cause of safety issues as a long-term safety plan. In addition to this, a safer working environment might be established only when sustainable safety management systems are effectively linked with safety signs, surrounded environment, and the facilities.

01. New safety vest: Movable safety sign
02. Prompt communication cards for foreign workers
03. Safety Training guide book
04. Floor guidelines
04. Floor guidelines
05. Intuitive safety signature
06. Safety workstation
07. Mirror which encourage the wearing of protective gears
08. Stretching signage
09. Comfortable resting space
10. Protective gear storage
10. Protective gear storage