Durham - Construction Safety


Construction Safety


Research Conducted by Assistant Professor, Behzad Esmaeili
Behzad Esmaeili
SARMAD Research Group
The Safety, Risk Management, and Decision-making Research Group (SARMAD) believes that as academics and researchers in civil engineering, our breakthrough discoveries facilitate fundamental changes that enhance society’s quality of life.

Learn More about SARMAD.

Assessment of Situation Awareness Using Eye Tracking
Although several studies have highlighted the importance of visual attention and situational awareness in reducing the number of injures in the construction industry, few studies have attempted to empirically measure construction workers’ attention. To tackle this knowledge gap and to capitalize on prior work that indicates that a person’s eye-movement correlates with his or her attention, we use eye-tracking technology to examine where construction workers focus their attention. This pioneering application of eye-tracking technology allows us to identify variables that impact workers’ attention and situational awareness. Our findings empower academics and industry professionals to improve construction-site safety and safeguard millions of American workers.
Electrical Contractors' Safety-Risk Management
Given the fact that specialty contractors in the construction industry perform critical manual tasks that put them in contact with various hazards, enhancing the safety performance of these contractors is an important undertaking. Our research utilizes recently developed attribute-based risk-assessment methods to create a safety-risk database that will support a risk assessment tool (a mobile application); designers, project managers, and specialty contractors will be able to use this tool to identify and assess the risk of their construction activities. This study focuses on electrical tasks since contact with electricity is the fourth highest cause of fatalities in the construction industry. The results of our work can be integrated into building information modeling and will enhance preconstruction safety practices. We anticipate that these findings will drastically change the way potential injuries are considered during planning, project financing, and safety controls.
Safety-Risk Management in Recovery after Disaster Operations
Early activities in any post-disaster management plan include removing debris, cleaning the area, and reconstructing the damaged properties. However, post-disaster recovery activities raise concerns about construction safety as there can be numerous unknown and atypical hazards in the affected regions (e.g., contaminant spills, wild animals, contained fumes). The risks involved with recovery activities can be compounded by the fact that construction activities after a disaster are usually conducted by small companies or even property owners with limited knowledge of safety. This research develops a safety-risk management plan for post-disaster recovery. The results of the study will transform the current safety practices in post-disaster recovery operations by providing an easy-to-use safety-risk management tool.
Unmanned Aerial Systems for Construction Safety Applications
The construction industry plays a significant role in the economic growth of all countries. However, workers employed in this industry experience a disproportionately high rate of injuries and fatalities. In response, researchers have suggested using technologies such as wireless sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID), and global positioning systems (GPS) to improve safety performance and to reduce the potential for human error. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) are an emerging technology that show particular promise in this arena. UASs can move faster than humans, reach inaccessible areas of jobsites, and be equipped with video cameras, wireless sensors, radars, or different communication hardware to transfer real-time data. These characteristics would enable safety managers to observe the construction site at a glance in real time. For this reason, this study explores the potential applications of UASs in construction safety. The findings of the study help professionals recognize UASs’ potential construction-safety application requirements and challenges.