RAPIDS Construction Safety and Technology Laboratory

Atlanta, GA, United States

RAPIDS Construction Safety and Technology Laboratory

Atlanta, GA, United States
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Zhang S.,Chevron | Teizer J.,RAPIDS Construction Safety and Technology Laboratory | Pradhananga N.,Florida International University | Eastman C.M.,Georgia Institute of Technology
Automation in Construction | Year: 2015

Safety as well as productivity performance in construction is often poor due to congested site conditions. We lack a formalized approach in effective activity-level construction planning to avoid workspace congestion. The purpose of this research is to investigate and prototype a new Building Information Modeling (BIM) enabled approach for activity-level construction site planning that can pro-actively improve construction safety. The presented method establishes automated workspace visualization in BIM, using remote sensing and workspace modeling technologies as an integral part of construction safety planning. Global Positioning System (GPS) data loggers were attached to the hardhats of a work crew constructing cast-in-place concrete columns. Novel algorithms were developed for extracting activity-specific workspace parameters from the recorded workforce location tracking data. Workspaces were finally visualized on a BIM platform for detecting potential workspace conflicts among the other competing work crews or between material lifting equipment. The developed method can support project stakeholders, such as engineers, planners, construction managers, foremen and site supervisors and workers with the identification and visualization of the required or potentially congested workspaces. Therefore, it improves the foundation on how decisions are made related to construction site safety as well as its potential impact on a productive and unobstructed work environment. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Zhang S.,Chevron | Boukamp F.,RMIT University | Teizer J.,RAPIDS Construction Safety and Technology Laboratory
Automation in Construction | Year: 2015

Abstract Construction safety related knowledge and project specific information are scattered and fragmented. Despite technological advancements of information and knowledge management in the building and construction industry, a link between safety management and information models is still missing. The objective of this study is to investigate a new approach to organize, store and re-use construction safety knowledge. A construction safety ontology is proposed to formalize the safety management knowledge. It consists of three main domain ontology models, including Construction Product Model, Construction Process Model, and Construction Safety Model. One-on-one expert interviews were conducted for ontology evaluation. The interaction between safety ontology and Building Information Modeling (BIM) is also explored. A prototype application of ontology-based job hazard analysis (JHA) and visualization is implemented to further illustrate the applicability and effectiveness of the developed ontology. The developed construction safety ontology enables more effective inquiry of safety knowledge, which is the first step towards automated safety planning for JHA using BIM. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Zhang S.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Sulankivi K.,VTT Technical Research Center of Finland | Kiviniemi M.,VTT Technical Research Center of Finland | Romo I.,Skanska | And 2 more authors.
Safety Science | Year: 2015

The applications of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in building design and construction planning are growing rapidly. BIM-based modeling and 4D simulation (3D and schedule) has brought many benefits to safety and logistics applications as well. However, only limited automation in modeling and planning safety processes has been exploited so far. The objective of this study is to investigate how potential fall hazards that are unknowingly built into the construction schedule can be identified and eliminated early in the planning phase of a construction project. A survey of research on construction safety and BIM is presented first. Then, a framework was developed that includes automated safety rule-checking algorithms for BIM. The developed prototype was tested using models including an office and a residential building project in Finland. The first case study highlights the comparison of manual vs. automated safety modeling of fall protective systems. It also describes the details to multiple design and as-built scenarios where protective safety equipment is modeled. The second case study presents results of applying the framework to the project schedule. It specifically simulates fall hazard detection and prevention. The contribution of this work is an automated rule-checking framework that integrates safety into BIM effectively and provides practitioners with a method for detecting and preventing fall-related hazards. Presented are also discussions of open issues regarding commercialization of the developed prototype and considerations which explore what impact it might have on resolving safety issues in the field by extending traditional safety management practices. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Teizer J.,RAPIDS Construction Safety and Technology Laboratory
Construction Innovation | Year: 2016

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the critical time window for pro-active construction accident prevention and response. Large to small organisations throughout the entire construction supply chain continue to be challenged to adequately prevent accidents. Construction worker injuries and fatalities represent significant waste of resources. Although the five C's (culture, competency, communication, controls and contractors) have been focusing on compliance, good practices and best-in-class strategies, even industry leaders have only marginal improvements in recorded safety statistics for many years. Design/methodology/approach - Right-time vs real-time construction safety and health identifies three major focus areas to aid in the development of a strategic, as opposed to tactical, response. Occupational safety and health by design, real-time safety and health monitoring and alerts and education, training and feedback leveraging state-of-the-art technology provide meaningful predictive, quantitative and qualitative measures to identify, correlate and eliminate hazards before workers get injured or incidents cause collateral damage. Findings - The current state and development of existing innovative initiatives in the occupational construction safety and health domain are identified. A framework for right-time vs real-time construction safety and health presents the specific focus on automated safety and health data gathering, analysis and reporting to achieve better safety performance. The developed roadmap for right-time vs real-time safety and health is finally tested in selected application scenarios of high concern in the construction industry. Originality/value - A strategic roadmap to eliminate hazards and accidents through right-time vs real-time automation is presented that has practical as well as social implications on conducting a rigorous safety culture and climate in a construction business and its entire supply chain. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


Vasenev A.,University of Twente | Pradhananga N.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Bijleveld F.R.,University of Twente | Ionita D.,University of Twente | And 3 more authors.
Advanced Engineering Informatics | Year: 2015

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are widely used to document the on- and off-site trajectories of construction equipment. Before analyzing the collected data for better understanding and improving construction operations, the data need to be freed from outliers. Eliminating outliers is challenging. While manually identifying outliers is a time-consuming and error-prone process, automatic filtering is exposed to false positives errors, which can lead to eliminating accurate trajectory segments. This paper addresses this issue by proposing a hybrid filtering method, which integrates experts' decisions. The decisions are operationalized as parameters to search for next outliers and are based on visualization of sensor readings and the human-generated notes that describe specifics of the construction project. A specialized open-source software prototype was developed and applied by the authors to illustrate the proposed approach. The software was utilized to filter outliers in sensor readings collected during earthmoving and asphalt paving projects that involved five different types of common construction equipment. © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Teizer J.,RAPIDS Construction Safety and Technology Laboratory
32nd International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction and Mining: Connected to the Future, Proceedings | Year: 2015

Approximately 17% of the 721 fatalities in the US in 2011 resulted from workers colliding with objects or equipment in the work environment. Construction site conditions often create hazardous proximity situations by requiring workers-on-foot and heavy equipment to be in close proximity. Current safety management, incl. industry safety best practices, to protect construction workers-on-foot have proven inadequate. This article evaluates the reliability and effectiveness of magnetic field sensing and actuation technology that brings final change to this problem. Introduced are the design and characteristics of novel magnetic field proximity detection and alert technology that alerts workers-on-foot from being too close to equipment in real-time. Field-realistic experimental trials highlight successful tests to various possible interaction scenarios. Results indicate that the developed magnetic field proximity detection and alert technology provides reliable and accurate warnings or alerts to equipment operators and workers-on-foot at pre-calibrated distances, and even can slow or shut down the equipment if the hazardous situation remains in effect. Technology and experimental knowledge further suggest workers-on-foot and construction equipment operators can be provided with an additional layer of protection by receiving advanced safety education and training from the analysis of near-miss data that is geo-referenced to the construction site layout.


Teizer J.,RAPIDS Construction Safety and Technology Laboratory
32nd International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction and Mining: Connected to the Future, Proceedings | Year: 2015

Despite recent efforts towards protecting construction personnel from equipment which operates in too close proximity, most of the existing and more advanced accident prevention techniques focus on approaches using sensing technologies. These can alert workers-on-foot or personnel operating the equipment in real-time. The drawbacks that some of these technologies have, however, limits their use in practice as the applications in construction are diverse and the environment is harsh. This article first presents significant safety statistics related to visibility-related construction equipment accidents. It introduces a brief but critical review of the existing ISO 5006:2006 standard for earth-moving machinery-operator's field of view-test method and performance criteria. Further, this article comments on a significant change that will soon be implemented in the standard and how equipment manufacturers expect to comply with the modification. Novel equipment design and sensing to provide equipment operators with a surround-view, called here "Safety 360", is introduced and tested to verify that solutions for responding to the expected change in the International Standard-although they are technically challenging-exist. An outlook presents matters that need to be addressed in the future should equipment operation ever become safe.


Teizer J.,RAPIDS Construction Safety and Technology Laboratory
Advanced Engineering Informatics | Year: 2015

Modern construction projects require sufficient planning and management of resources to become successful. Core issues are tasks that deal with maintaining the schedule, such as procuring materials, guaranteeing the supply chain, controlling the work status, and monitoring safety and quality. Timely feedback of project status aids project management by providing accurate percentages of task completions and appropriately allocating resources (workforce, equipment, material) to coordinate the next work packages. However, current methods for measuring project status or progress, especially on large infrastructure projects, are mostly based on manual assessments. Recent academic research and commercial development has focused on semi- or fully-automated approaches to collect and process images of evolving worksites. Preliminary results are promising and show capturing, analyzing, and documenting construction progress and linking to information models is possible. This article presents first an overview to vision-based sensing technology available for temporary resource tracking at infrastructure construction sites. Second, it provides the status quo of research applications by highlighting exemplary case. Third, a discussion follows on existing advantages and current limitations of vision based sensing and tracking. Open challenges that need to be addressed in future research efforts conclude this paper. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Teizer J.,RAPIDS Construction Safety and Technology Laboratory
Journal of Information Technology in Construction | Year: 2015

The construction industry continues to be one of the leading industries for injuries and fatalities throughout the world. Deaths in the United States resulting from construction workers colliding with an object or equipment accounted in 2010 for 17% of the total construction fatalities. A reason might be the dynamic interaction of resources characteristic on many construction sites. Often poorly engineered site layouts produce dangerous situations in which workers and heavy equipment have to operate in too close proximity. The primary objective of this article is to present innovative research that evaluates the capability of the developed Self-Monitoring Alert and Reporting Technology for Hazard Avoidance and Training (SmartHat) technology, a novel battery-free sensing and communication prototype that also provides alerts in real-time when hazardous proximity conditions are present between heavy construction equipment and ground workers. Various field experiments designed to emulate typical interactions between ground workers and heavy equipment on construction sites are executed. While recent advances in construction safety research provide numerous examples on the use of pro-active technologies for protecting the workforce, the conducted benchmark tests were limited to comparative active (battery-powered) radio frequency devices only. As such, the experimental trials included various personnel tag positions and orientations on personal protective equipment (PPE) in an outdoor environment to simulate worker movement while performing construction tasks. The overall contribution of this research indicates that the SmartHat proximity detection and alert system, once deployed as a wearable technology in PPE, is reliable and effective and has potential to provide alerts to ground workers in various hazard proximity positions and orientations. © 2015 The author.


Golovina O.,RAPIDS Construction Safety and Technology Laboratory | Teizer J.,RAPIDS Construction Safety and Technology Laboratory | Pradhananga N.,Florida International University
Automation in Construction | Year: 2016

The construction industry measures safety performance through lagging indicators such as counting numbers of illnesses, injuries, and fatalities. Active leading indicators, for example capturing hazardous proximity situations between workers-on-foot and heavy construction equipment, provide an additional metric for construction site personnel safety performance without incurring accidents. This article presents a method for recording, identifying, and analyzing interactive hazardous near miss situations between workers-on-foot and heavy construction equipment. Spatiotemporal GPS data are analyzed to automatically measure a hazard index that is visualized in form of a heat map. The graphical representation of computationally identified individual values in up-to-date building information models allows automatically generated personalized safety performance reports. These are based on specific near miss locations, environmental conditions, and equipment types. The presented research is based on previous isolated research efforts in equipment blind spot measurement, real-time location tracking, and proximity alert technology. It contributes the definitions and experimental validation of new safety parameters - such as entry of worker-on-foot in equipment blind spot - to determine the root causes that lead to equipment- and visibility-related fatalities on construction sites. Analysis of these root causes is important in preventing accidents in the first place. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

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