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Boosting Construction Site Safety: Here’s a look at Viper+

Boosting Construction Site Safety: Here's a look at Viper+

Construction sites are inherently dangerous environments with a significant number of injuries and fatalities recorded every year. Despite proper tools in place, construction site safety is still not guaranteed. However, technology continues to evolve and with it, the potential to make construction safer increases.

There has been a development of a new system for tracking workers and equipment on site. The Viper+, created by a team of researchers from the University of Houston (UH), is an enhanced location tracking system that uses radio signals and ultra-wideband (UWB) tags to track the location of workers and equipment on construction sites.

Viper+ addresses non-line-of-sight situations

The Viper+ is developed to address a specific flaw of UWB radios – Non-Line of Site situations. According to their research published in the Applied Sciences research journal, “the performance of UWB radios drastically declines because of blockages in the transmission signal between the transmitter and receiver causing Non-Line of Sight (NLOS) situations.”

The Viper+ uses something called real-time pose estimation which entails strategically applying tags on the surface of the equipment to accurately determine its position. The system automates safety policies at the very beginning of the project and identifies safe zones for workers during the construction process in relation to the equipment.

Alireza Ansaripour, who is a doctoral student at UH and is leading the research says “The point of our research project was to enhance the safety of workers and equipment on a construction site by tracking their location. By tracking their location, we can monitor location-based policies related to the safety of workers and equipment in construction sites.”

By implementing the system on the construction site, the research time found a 40% improvement in location accuracy and a 25% improvement in update rate compared to Viper, their previous system. In the future, the team will improvise on the design to send out alerts when the construction workers are dangerously close to moving machinery.

“We also have an issue creating a tracking zone that covers all of a construction site, not just a portion of it,” said Ansaripour. “There are still some improvements that need to be made for this to become a commercial product, but our work provides insight on how a real-time safety monitoring system can be used for safety tracking in construction sites.”

Emphasis on construction site safety

Recently, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) released its annual Construction Safety report which indicated an increase in fatalities and injuries on construction sites. Fall damage was the most common cause. Other causes include electrocutions, accidents involving machinery, vehicular accidents, and more.

The construction industry will not slow down. Going ahead, we’ll see a surge in residential, non-residential, commercial, and healthcare construction. Naturally, the chance of construction worker injuries and fatalities will be higher.

There is a need to place a higher emphasis on construction site safety. After all, they are the ones risking their lives to build structures we live and work in!

Technology can significantly improve construction site safety. UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) can conduct aerial surveys of sites and provide data in real time to help identify hazards. Furthermore, they can be used for façade inspections as well. LiDAR also has some promising features and can be used for scanning equipment and work environments. It offers benefits like high speed, accuracy, 3D depth perception, and the ability to assign a unique ID to each scanned object.

Complete reliance on technology is also a big no-no! Construction workers should be extremely cautious and use appropriate gear while working on sites. Firms must conduct safety exercises and check the ‘preparedness’ levels of their workers. Ensuring construction site safety is a critical responsibility that should be taken seriously by employers and workers alike. Prioritizing it benefits everyone involved and promotes a safer, healthier, and more productive workplace.

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