Penn State’s Department of Architectural Engineering is conducting research to assess the effectiveness of Cyber-Physics Systems (CPS) in improving construction site safety, specifically in regard to the safety of temporary structures. CPSs are engineered systems that integrate digital algorithms and physical components. These embedded systems are widely utilized in manufacturing, transport and healthcare but have yet to be fully embraced by the construction industry. The studies being conducted are revealing how CPSs can be used as sensors in an area where improper monitoring is a massive safety issue. This safety issue is supported by OSHA statistics which show that in 2014, 20.5% of work fatalities in private industry, occur on construction sites. Furthermore, OSHA’s top ten most frequently cited standard violation include both scaffolding and fall protection issues. Efforts are made by OSHA to improve upon and prevent these hazards, but further steps need to be taken. The research being done at Penn State features sensors that collect and send data surrounding inspections and potential failures for warning of employers and employees. While the technique and usefulness of CPS in this arena has been confirmed through these studies, costing, installation and implementation still need to be solidified and recommended.
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