Document Detail

Title: RS269-1 - Real-time Pro-active Safety in Construction, Version 1.1
Publication Date: 8/1/2010
Product Type: Research Summary
Status: Supporting Product
Pages: 31
Evaluates the performance of remote sensing technology that warns construction personnel of the presence of potential onsite hazards in real time. Gives field trial results on devices that track accurate location, proximity, and trajectory data of construction resources (workers, equipment, and materials) in real time. Provides insight into how well the technology can be applied to construction operations and assesses workers' receptiveness to its use. Presents research limited to equipment-pedestrian interactions on the kinds of construction sites typically controlled by behavioral management strategies and by onsite traffic flow management.
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Abstract

Every year for the past 10 years, nearly 1200 construction workers have died on the job. That equates to approximately five construction worker deaths every working day in the U.S. Of these fatalities, 25 percent involved heavy equipment—most being categorized as struck-by incidents. As these statistics indicate, safety in construction remains a big problem. Despite the implementation of better safety practices in recent decades, further improvements can be gained in construction safety through the use of technology.

The primary objective of this research was to evaluate the performance of devices that warn construction personnel of the presence of potential hazards in real time. A secondary objective was to use remote sensing technology that records accurate location, proximity, and trajectory data of construction resources (workers, equipment, and materials) in real time. The intent was to evaluate existing technology through experimental field studies. These field tests were set up to provide insight into how well the technology can be applied to construction operations and were designed to include an assessment of workers’ receptiveness to the use of the technology. The research scope was limited to equipment-pedestrian interactions on the kinds of construction sites that are typically controlled by behavioral management strategies and onsite traffic flow management.

Existing technology was explored that could help monitor worker location and/or warn of potential danger posed by equipment. The most promising technology was then field tested to determine whether it could be used effectively to enhance safety on construction projects. Field tests on small, medium, and large construction sites included real-time location tracking of workers and the use of sensing technology that would warn workers and operators of the close proximity of workers to equipment. The field tests demonstrated that existing safety technology can be implemented on construction jobsites, yielding various benefits (e.g., providing real-time pro-active alerts to workers/operators and monitoring the locations of workers, equipment, and materials.)

This research developed an implementation strategy of how technology can be incorporated into existing safety management programs. This included a cost-benefit analysis to validate the cost-effectiveness of the use of real-time pro-active alert technology. Benefits and barriers to the use of technology were explored through on-site worker surveys.

In summary, this research project has evaluated the impact that emerging safety technology can have on construction safety engineering. The results of the analysis of past construction fatalities provided the motivation and justification for the use of technology. Field trials demonstrated how technology can be used and implemented to enhance construction safety.