The use of virtual reality for visualizing construction safety management process

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The use of virtual reality for visualizing construction safety management process

 

Author: Chan, King Chun Greg
Title: The use of virtual reality for visualizing construction safety management process
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2012
Subject: Construction industry -- Safety measures.
Virtual computer systems
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Building and Real Estate
Pages: xix, 186 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2522678
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6583
Abstract: Construction is a hazardous industry. In Hong Kong, construction has been shown to be responsible for 76 percent of all fatal accidents in the region, a figure which is about ten times greater than that of any other industry. Construction accidents have a significant impact on the economic returns of the industry, and world-wide, a loss of between 7.9 and 15% of the total costs of new non-residential projects has been found to occur. Compensation costs awarded to construction workers can account for up to 3.5% of the total project costs (Coble and Hinze, 2000). Due to the importance of maintaining good site safety, an increasing number of researchers and practitioners have investigated the causes of the above situation and have attempted to find effective methods and tools for managing safety on construction sites. The objectives of this research study are to find and propose alternative approaches for improving the safety performance on construction site. The overall aim is thus to improve the current safety performance by the use of these alternative approaches. In this research study, a literature review was conducted to examine, 1. the current practice of safety management in Hong Kong and 2. the safety and health system, suggested by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). From the review, weaknesses of these systems and causes of construction accidents are identified, discussed and compared. Complementing these findings are the results of an investigation into the availability and performance of different innovative approaches for safety management, such as the use of advanced information technology as used in other industries, such as the aircraft industry. Reviewed are opportunities for using these technologies in construction industries.
Three new safety management approaches are introduced in this research study, based on a combination of the use of Construction Virtual Prototyping approach and Game Engine approach. The first aims to improve the current hazard identification process by using Virtual Prototyping (VP) skills during early design stage. The method for identifying hazards in virtual basis is briefly introduced. The second aims to improve the current safety training method. This new approach provides a close-to-reality 3D environment for the trainees to practice construction skills without risk. The system allows up to fours trainees to connect and train together. As it is a multi-users platform, the trainees are assigned different roles and are required to cooperate to complete the training. The third aims to provide the users with a 3D assessment platform. The assessment platform introduces not only the use of the 3D format of examination for better illustration of information, but also suggests the use of a better database structure. The assessment platform also resets the basic requirement for working on a construction site. The assessment aims to replace the current certification practice in Hong Kong which only requires the trainees to take a one day training course and to get 12 correct answers out of 20 multiple-choice questions. The different approaches were tested using case studies conducted on functioning construction projects in Hong Kong. Interviews were arranged to collect opinions, feedback for the purpose of rating the approaches. The collated information was used to evaluate the three approaches. The results indicate that all three approaches are capable of improving construction safety in various ways. Firstly, the use of hazard identification by VP proved to be useful in identifying construction hazards more effectively than the traditional approach. Secondly, the use of virtual reality (VR) for safety training was successful in improving the performance of the trainees as indicated by the general opinion of those trainees interviewed. Lastly, the use of the proposed assessment method is useful in identifying the weaknesses of the system users. The value of the new work is as follows: the use of the proposed hazard identification approach improves the construction environment by identifying potential hazard before commencement of work. The proposed training system provides a new training platform and thus improves the safety knowledge of construction workers. The improvement in safety knowledge enhances the workers' reaction to accident and potential hazards and eventually reduces accidents. The proposed assessment approach can verify the construction safety knowledge of the users before they are allowed to work on site. The new verification process raises the safety standard knowledge of the users and thus reduces the chances of construction accidents.

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