Wearable, Wireless Identification Sensing Platform: Self-Monitoring Alert and Reporting Technology for Hazard Avoidance and Training (SmartHat)Author/Presenter: Teizer, Jochen
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.