Chapter 2 reviews the statistics from RIDDOR on injuries and fatalities due to moving vehicles on civil engineering construction sites. Government funding is discussed. Opinions of safety on construction sites related to funding. Road work safety, traditional safety methods and contemporary high technology safety technologies are reviewed.
2 Safety Record on UK Construction Sites
The UK construction sector has the highest rate of fatalities compared to the other industrial sectors. Injuries on construction sites show a decreasing trend, but the number is still unacceptable. Reportable vehicle injuries are the number of accidents on the construction site, in t\he construction site’s parking lots and loading bays. Construction plant that cause moving injuries and fatalities includes equipment such as earth moving equipment and cranes (HM CISR 14620).
The HSE reported that in 2012/2013 that ten percent of the fatalities in the construction sector were caused by moving vehicles. The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 requires work place safety for individuals and vehicles, work place traffic routes must be appropriate for the individuals and vehicles using them, and plenty of buffer space between areas where vehicles and pedestrians use the same routes (HSE 2014e). Fourteen fewer fatalities occurred between 2006 to 2011 and 2013 to 2013. (See table 2-1)
Raised safety awareness, good training, and good inductions are the reasons for increased safety according to HSE. The rate of total fatalities decreased from 2000/2001 when the highest number of fatalities was recorded. (See fig. 2-1)
3 Traditional Methods for Safety from Mobile Plant
Traditional safety methods on construction sites are not successful enough to decrease safety as the recent death of Kevin Campbell in 2014 underscores. Materials handling on construction sites is incredibly dangers and Campbell was struck by “a piece of machinery attached to an excavator” at the Docklands Light Railway construction site (Boffey 2014b). In October 2014, a construction worker at Heathrow Airport was stuck by a lorry and died at the scene (Guardian 2014).In October 2010, Mihai Hondru was run over by a reversing bulldozer while directing a lorry driver and the lawsuit was only recently resolved (Patient 2014).
3.1 Traditional safety measures for reversing
The traditional strategy for reducing risk of injury from moving vehicles and mobile plant is to avoid driving in reverse. (See table 1-1) The narrow vision field during reversing is dangerous for workers in the area, whereas improper lighting in the field of vision at the front of the vehicle causes injuries and accidents. Traditional strategies to solve field of vision problems include better lighting and use of cameras. Unfortunately, accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities occur in vehicles equipped with cameras that have not been switched on (IMC 2001). Improving the placement of mirrors, enlarging mirrors and improving ergometrics for the driver are all used to improving safety from moving vehicles.
Hinz and Teizer (2013) report that 55 percent of fatalities due to blind spots in the construction industry. (See fig. 2-4) Seventy five percent of struck-by events are caused by visibility problems (Hinz and Teizer 2011). New strategies use sensors on mobile plant, moving vehicles and structures on the worksite. The spatial dimensions of a blind spot are measured with modern tools like digital cameras, radar, ultra-sonic sensor systems, Global Positioning System (GPS), active Radio Frequency (RF), and Very High Frequency (VHF) instruments.
- Chi, Caldas and Gong (2008) developed a sensor system using sensors that tracks objects in three-dimensions (3-D). The sensor tracks objects on the construction site and a 3-D trajectory for movement is mapped and sent to the moving vehicle or mobile plant that is equipped with the control system. The 3-D spatial model gathers information from the construction site environment in real-time so the safest route safe is produced during construction activities
- Chi, and Caldas (2011) reported a design for automated object identification using easy to find video cameras placed strategically at the construction site. The strategy is very sophisticated and only seconds are needed to create a real time map that avoids collisions.
- The research of Choe, Leite, Seedah and Caldas (2014) evaluates the success of various sensing methods including the use of ultrasonic radars, tag based systems and video cameras to prevent accidents in various construction environments.
- The analysis for blind spot characterization includes spatial measurements of “volumetric blind spots, blind spot map, 12 meter circumference visibility, rectangular 1 meter boundary visibility, and worker visibility” (Ray and Teizer, 2013: 95) The proximity of workers (shown by the green colour) walking in the blind spot can be seen by the drivers.
- Bostelman, Teizer .Ray, Agronin (et al. 2014) cooperate with sensor and forklift manufacturers to perform an accurate analysis of a workplace. Multi-disciplinary teams design assist-sensor methods that take into account both improved visibility and fair prices. Forklift and sensor sales organizations have an enhanced ability to carry out blind spot analysis without needing a lot of time for testing.
- Naticchia, Vaccarini and Carbonari (2013) developed a sensor system that alerts drivers to interference in their path over large areas in a construction site. The strategy uses a remote control method; images of the work are produced at the same time vehicles and workers carry out their work activities. When unauthorized interference (a risky event) is about to take place, the managers were alerted. A risky event occurs when workers walk in area where machinery or vehicles are in motion. The sensors detach from surfaces and are reattached to follow the construction process.
4 Road Work Safety
In the past, the traditional strategy for improving road work safety was to widen. The aim was to provide less wasted time driving, less congestion, less cost and less environmental influences during road construction.
4.1 Widening Road versus Using the Shoulder
The results for road widening to improve worker safety were not impressive and a new strategy devised by the UK Highways Agency (2013) called the Managed Motorway All Lane Running (MM ALR) where the hard shoulder of roads is transformed into a permanent traffic lane. The goal was to meet operational designs for managing motorways as safely as possible during road construction. Instead of controlling speed and insisting drivers meet a speed limit, the new concept integrates variable mandatory speed limits linked to automated enforcement systems.
Monitoring cameras are placed strategically to make sure that opening the hard shoulder is advisable. The problem with turning the shoulder into a traffic lane is that vehicles that would previously be parked at the side of the road on the shoulder must now stop in live traffic lanes. The success of the scheme rests on drivers’ cooperation in following the posted speed limits on the digital signs over the traffic lanes. Cameras placed at the road sides are used by operators to monitor traffic and to identify accident sites (Highways Agency 2013). Worker safety depends on using fixed taper positions and signage before the roadwork location is reached (Highways Agency 2013: 34). The study discussed below corroborates the safety of the traditional long tapering positions.
Work zones during the construction of roadways are very dangerous, mainly due to the people driving on the roadway who do not expect to have to slowdown or stop for roadwork so Morgan, Duley and Hancock (2010) devised a simulation to assess driver response when faced with an unexpected work zone. (See fig. 2-4) The study was designed with two different work zone configurations in urban areas. The first design was like the traditional work zone using a long tapering route. The second was new design “a reduced taper length prototype” (Morgan et al. 2010: 978). (See fig. 2-4) The results showed that the reduced taper length design was more dangerous than the traditional design.
4.2 Accident data fort traffic zone collisions
Mohan and Zech (2005) identify five categories for traffic work zone collisions. The data was collected from the years 1990 to 2001 (Mohan and Zech 2005). The following sub-categories of causes of worker fatalities and injuries are listed below next to the corresponding statistics. Work space intrusion caused 35.7 percent of the fatalities and 12.1 percent of hospital admissions.
- Workers struck inside the work zone by vehicles 14.3 percent of the fatalities and 24.3 percent of hospital admissions.
- Warning flag bearers struck by vehicles amounted to 14.3 percent fatalities and 18.7 percent hospital admissions.
- Workers struck when vehicles enter and leave the work zone amounted to 14.3 percent and 3.3 percent of hospital admissions.
- Construction equipment located in the work space struck by a vehicle amounted to 7.1 percent of the fatalities and 11 percent of hospitalizations.
When the types of accidents were ranked, the category of “struck/pinned by large equipment amounted to about 36 percent of the accident fatalities and about 15 percent of the injured workers admitted to the hospital budget” (Mohan and Zech 2005:357). Minor injuries from being struck or pinned by large equipment amounted to about ten percent. The researchers recommend that monitoring systems are designed and implemented in order to keep ground workers safe when working near large equipment.
5 Building Intelligence Model
The lack of coordination between sub-contractors during a building project is problematic, especially when different construction components are carried out in the same area of the project. Moving vehicles and mobile plant are a particular danger. The first design of the Building Intelligence Model (BIM) was called the Advanced Computer-based Management Systems when the strategy was proposed by Sidawi (2012) and Yang (et al. 2007). The goal of BIM is to provide integration instead of fragmentation between stakeholders in a construction project by using Information Communication Technology (Jordani 2008).
BIM uses geo-spatial diagrams of a project in three dimensions instead of flat blueprints printed on paper. The geo-spatial data allows construction managers a view for identifying potential safety risks. (See fig. 3-1) All the processes inherent to construction are part of the BIM including the blueprints the specifications and the budget.
The action process for BIM is based on four main steps carried out in a cycle and then to carry out new iterations as new information is added (Arayiei et al. 2011).
- Evaluation - to review and analyze the current practice in detail. (See fig. 2-6)
- Taking Action -to develop and produce the new process and technology by using Lean Management, Knowledge Management and by documenting the BIM implementation plan.
- Taking Action – to implement BIM in three different time scales: past, present and future
- Evaluation - to review the project distribution and assimilation into the strategy plan. The fourth step is important for safety in terms of sustaining new methods and technology in order to ensure consistent application of the available products and processes.
Davidson (2009) listed the potential advantages to using BIM instead of using traditional blueprints. Two advantages identified include the three-dimensional visualisation of the project and the easy multi-user collaboration. On the other hand, general adoption in the UK did not take place; the deployment of BIM for construction sites is slower than in other country (Davidson 2009).
The transition from traditional paper blueprints to BIM requires more time for training and workflow disruption can be expected because workers are learning a new process. Anot her issue in the UK is to sort out the legal issues for taking responsibility among e stakeholders (Davidson 2009). The problem of interoperability refers to the need for interfacing successfully several kinds of software (Davidson 2009). Operability, the opposite of interoperability is defined as ‘the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged’ (Succar 2009:363). Inoperability can clearly slow down the start of a construction projects as well as construction projects during the process. Davidson observed (as a result of his case studies) that BIM proceeds more quickly as the above problems are ironed out and takes the opinion that BIM can fit the “fragmented and highly inefficient” construction sector well (Davidson 2009: 5).
Ir. Ronan Collins graduated from a Dublin University to become the founder and managing director Intelibuild; he is now an expert using BIM for complex building projects in Hong Kong. In January 2013 Collins became the Chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Building Information Modeling (Intelibuild 2013).Hong Kong adapted to the use of BIM more quickly than the UK. Ir. R. Collins. Collins (2009) supports the use of BIM for complicated civil engineering projects, because the limitations of traditional methods can be overcome. The BIM lends itself to designing for safety because the routes for moving vehicles can be planned using the software. (See fig. 3.3 left) Three dimensional views and four dimensional (including scheduling) offer and excellent way to carry out a risk assessment (Collins 2011). All the components in one area of construction are linked so that better safety scenarios can be tried and the best one applied to the plan. (See fig. 3-3 right) Risks that lead to potential dangers identify the position of moving vehicles and machines; predict accidents with workers during building, and how to plan for safety (HSE 2014).
The advantages of the traditional methods for worker safety on construction sites is that physical, organizational, cultural characteristics are already addressed in safety plans (Spangenberg 2009) Workers are habituated to using the same methods over the years; no new training is necessary. But the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages of traditional methods for worker safety.
The rate of major injuries in the UK continues to increase, not decrease (Haslam Hide, Gibb, and Gyi 2005). Traditional strategies address “contextual factors - physical, organizational, cultural characteristics” but not personal factors – attitudinal and behavioural characteristics (Spanenberg 2009: 128). The “lack of design coordination management” causes many problems and clashes during the construction process (Collins 2009) Problems over the details of small elements such as electrical plugs and other fixtures cause disagreements and delays and may potentially cause cost overruns. The errors found on design plans in construction industry lead to “contractors accepting that they will receive error-ridden plans leading to them facing many co-ordination issues and clashes on site” (Collins 2011: 29). Architect’s and engineer’s drawings do not match (Collins 2011). It is difficult to adapt to delays in construction process due to vendors; unanticipated coast increases. The tradition to always do the building the way it has always been done continues throughout decades (Stewart 2014).The conservative nature of the construction industry slows the construction process and slows taking on innovative, new strategies (Stewart 2014). The “fragmented nature of the construction industry” is caused by the traditional methods (Stewart 2014).
Therefore the attraction to the new strategies such as designing that includes planning for details with BIM, controlling safety with sensors and Wi-Fi are safer for workers. Planning for safety using BIM is safer because the designers and engineers can see the routes and movements that vehicles, forklifts and moving machinery have available; the safest route can be chosen during the planning stage (Stewart 2014). Safer conditions also increase making the benchmarks and goal of the project.
The disadvantages of new strategies are the necessity to train workers. Software development progresses so quickly that training is necessary at regular intervals. Stewart (2014) comments that conflicts of interest can become heightened with new strategies so clearly defining roles, schedules and work area are very important.
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