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Sensing Workers' Responsive Behaviors for Identifying Safety Hazards in Construction

Kanghyeok Yang, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The prevention of occupational injuries is one of the most important management tasks in the construction industry because of the labor-intensive nature of construction work. The prevention of injury is therefore beneficial for maintaining productivity levels and reducing related compensation costs. However, many safety hazards remain unidentified due to limited resources for visual inspection and the dynamic work environment of the construction site. Therefore, an additional approach that can identify safety hazards is necessary to address current limitations and prevent occupational injuries. Recent advances in wearable sensing technology make it possible to collect and analyze workers' responsive behaviors during the construction processes, which provides an opportunity to identify safety hazards. This dissertation presents a series of research studies that analyzed different types of responsive behaviors caused by safety hazards. Specifically, this research focused on measuring and analyzing workers' balance conditions, abnormalities in workers' walking patterns, and divergence of their trajectory regarding the existence of safety hazards in construction environments. The wearable inertial measurement unit and the ultra-wideband location tracking system are used to capture workers' bodily responses and specific locations. This study investigated the feasibility of proposed hazard-sensing techniques and examined the performance of such techniques with experiments in different construction work environments. The analysis results demonstrate the potential of using developed techniques for hazard identification and present an opportunity for monitoring worker behavior. The major contribution of this dissertation is the development of analytical models and tools that enable identification of safety hazards by measuring the responsive behaviors of workers. Thereby, the current challenges of hazard identification can be addressed with new technology that allows the construction safety manager access to an alternative method for monitoring a construction site. Also, proposed techniques have the potential to be combined with other visualization tools (e.g., building information modeling) that can facilitate communication regarding hazardous conditions between various project participants.

Subject Area

Occupational safety|Information Technology|Civil engineering

Recommended Citation

Yang, Kanghyeok, "Sensing Workers' Responsive Behaviors for Identifying Safety Hazards in Construction" (2018). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10743836.