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Project Reference: ITP/036/12LP
Project Title: Location-based Technologies for Asset Tracking and Risk Management
Hosting Institution: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)
Abstract: The construction industry is one of pillar, yet dangerous, industries in Hong Kong as it employs millions of site workers. In recent years, with the introduction of 10 major projects by the HKSAR Government, the industry has experienced a shortage of labours and companies have to employ people with little relevant working experience to fill the shortage of labours. In this situation, how to ensure the safety of workforces is becoming a more challenging and complex task. Existing efforts on construction safety management have been heavily focused on two aspects: 1) enhancing safety management procedures and protective measures; and 2) providing more safety trainings. These efforts are useful but have reached a bottleneck: although investments in safety management manpower, protective measures and safety trainings have been increasing annually; the accident rate has not seen to decrease. The major reason, we believe, is that existing safety management efforts are unable to enable site workers to overcome the weakness of human beings: we are unable to detect what is going on behind our backs and our senses are not acute enough to detect all danger sources surround us. Among fatal accidents occurred in the construction industry in Hong Kong, a majority (approximately 70%) of them were caused by the following three reasons: a) fall of person from heights, b) striking against or struck by moving objects, and c) struck by moving vehicles. This research project aims to develop a technology to assist on-site workers to detect these three types of dangers and provide early warnings to them when they are exposed to these dangers. Specifically, in this project, we will develop a Pro-active Construction Management System (PCMS) by integrating logistics enabling technologies, with virtual construction simulation technologies to enhance the capacities of workers in detecting potential sources of danger and provide pro-active warnings to workers when they are exposed to dangerous situations. Specifically, the PCMS consists of two major parts: Real Time Location System (RTLS), which comprises tags, anchors and wireless communication devices; and the Virtual Construction Simulation system (VCS). Tags are mounted to helmets of workers and moving equipment on site; and anchors are installed in particular locations of a construction site to provide reference points for the RTLS. The VCS records 3D movements of workers and moving equipment; and measures the relative 3D positions of workers and their surrounding danger sources/zones and, if deemed necessary by PCMS, send warnings to alert workers through tags installed in their helmets. The RTLS is integrated with VCS through wireless Internet. It is expected that the PCMS will significantly enhance the capacity of on-site workers in detecting sources of dangers and receiving early warnings which is obviously vital for life saving. With the use of PCMS, we believe more lives can be saved and the number of fatal accidents in the construction industry can be further reduced.
Project Coordinator: Prof Heng LI
Approved Funding Amount: HKD$8.66M
Project Period: 1 Jan 2013 – 30 Jun 2014
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