SBAS construction site safety trial holds promise

By on 11 December, 2018

A trial of SBAS technology for improved worker safety on construction sites appears to demonstrate improved productivity and safety outcomes, according to participants.

Safe Work Australia found that 31 percent of construction workers’ injuries on the job were from being hit or being hit by an object in 2015.

James Millner, a spokesperson for Position Partners, who helped facilitate the safety trial, said that 10-centimetre positioning accuracy had the potential to transform the industry’s safety record.

“Many construction contractors work in close proximity to heavy vehicles and other machinery, so knowing where people and machinery are is essential to ensuring the health and safety of workers,” he said.

The trial was recently completed by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Position Partners, on behalf of Geoscience Australia, who are implementing the SBAS (satellite-based augmentation system) industry trials ahead of its $160.9 million national rollout.

Professor Chris Rizos of UNSW said that the five companies involved in the testing gave promising feedback on the results.

“This was the first time the new generation positioning technology has been used in construction and we expect uptake to really take off once the test-phase is complete,” he said.

“The technology used is a lot like that worn by sports stars on the field – it’s worn on workers’ hard hats or arm-bands and also put on the machinery.

“This information is then fed to the machine and a control room, where an alarm goes off if machinery like excavators or even people are too close to proximity sensors at geo-fenced exclusion areas – likewise, it can tell you when a person is too close to machinery.

“We trialled this in a busy construction site in Melbourne and found the high accuracy of the information being relayed really helped to improve productivity.”

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