Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Martínez J., Gheisari, Alarcón L. F. (2020)

UAV Integration in Current Construction Safety Planning and Monitoring Processes: Case Study of a High-Rise Building Construction Project in Chile

Revista : Journal of Management in Engineering
Volumen : 36
Número : 3
Páginas : 1-15
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


The majority of construction fatalities and accidents in Chile occur in high-rise building construction projects that also suffer from an insufficient number of safety managers on-site. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and their generated aerial visual contents have the potential to help the limited number of safety managers in such projects to quickly and properly inspect the inaccessible, hard-to-reach, or unsafe locations on the site and to enhance their safety assessment of those projects. In this study, a case study approach was adopted to investigate how UAV technology and their generated aerial visual contents might affect the current approach of conducting safety planning and monitoring in a high-rise building construction site in Chile with a limited number of safety managers. The case study involved three steps: (1) understanding the current safety planning and monitoring process in a high-rise construction project, (2) investigating how UAV-related tasks and generated visual contents could be integrated into the current process, and (3) assessment of how such UAV integration might affect the current safety planning and monitoring process. The outcome of the case study provided a detailed overview of the new steps required to integrate UAVs in the current safety planning and monitoring process and concluded that adoption of UAV technology had enhanced identification and assessment of hazards in the high-rise project. Hazards associated with unsafe acts and conditions at height (e.g., missing guardrails or safety nets around unprotected edges or openings and loose or unsecured material at height) were the most common types of hazards identified using the UAV in this case study. Safety managers in the project also rated aerial videos captured by the UAV as the most useful type of data for their safety planning and monitoring tasks. The UAV also significantly reduced the amount of time required for safety managers to conduct their site visit walkthroughs on the project site.