Proactive construction safety systems and the human factor

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Management, Procurement and Law, 2014, 167 (5), pp. 242 - 252
Issue Date:
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The paper undertakes an extensive and critical review of published works concerning the state of the art in safety systems based on building information modelling (BIM). It finds that despite considerable developmental work, much of the focus has been on the design and planning stages of projects. A gap still exists during the construction stage due to the unexpected dynamics that occur on site and the way that responsive human behaviour is not always predictable or rational. Modern proactive safety systems offer advanced real-time tracking of workers on site, which can be concurrently mapped onto a BIM model of the progressive construction. Such technology aims to provide realtime audio warnings to individual workers if they wander too close to hazards. However, the review raises new and under-explored challenges concerning the human factor - especially the way workers interact with such technology. Evidence from other industries suggests that possible areas of concern include mistrust in warnings, ignoring warnings, over-reliance on technology and 'the boy who cried wolf' syndrome. Poor ergonomic design may lead to the technology being under-utilised. An ongoing agenda for behavioural testing is recommended to assist further development.
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