Real-time pro-active safety in construction
Allread, Benjamin Scott
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Collisions between personnel on foot and heavy equipment or materials on a construction site can be characterized as a contact collision. These types of incidents are a common occurrence on a work site. Technology is needed to improve work zone safety by alerting workers that are in danger of collisions pro-actively and in real-time. Developing this technology may assist in collecting previously un-recorded data on "near-misses" (close-calls). An approach is presented in this paper that is based on wireless radio frequency technology to alert workers in real-time when they are in danger. Various experiments are described that have been conducted in order to gain better understanding of the technology's potential, including measuring equipment blind spots and alert (or safety) zones. Blind spots areas are measured for six common construction vehicles to help determine the required (or minimum) alert distance (safety zone) for the equipment. A computer program was developed in-house to automatically calculate the percentage of blind spots on 2-dimensional planes and in the overall 3-dimensional volume. The blind spots results directly indicate the necessary safety zones for the equipment. The proximity device results show that technology demonstrated the capability of collecting important safety data while pro-actively detecting hazardous situations and warning workers and equipment operators during imminent potential hazardous events. Furthermore, the presented research can lead to improve the overall safety performance in construction and elsewhere through improved learning and education by providing relevant information to decision makers at all levels.