Snow and ice on roads is an expensive and dangerous problem, not only for cities, but for motorists and businesses. The cities have to pay for a fleet of trucks to dump salt and other chemicals on roads, as well as plow. Motorists get into an increased amount of traffic accidents in poor driving conditions and also have to deal with the after effects of all of that salt destroying the undercarriage of their cars. Businesses suffer legal claims from not being able to keep their sidewalks clear or increased costs from plowing and shoveling.
Because of all those costs, it’s no wonder why scientists have been working on a solution to reduce ice and snow build up on rows. Just recently, we learned about Turkish scientists who developed an additive for asphalt roads that would slowly release to the surface and melt ice. Now, it appears another group of researches want to electrify concrete in order to melt snow.
Professor Chris Tuan, from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL), has been researching and developing his solution for years and is now close to a breakthrough. Tuan’s electrified concrete is currently being tested by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for use on tarmacs, which, they say, could potentially greatly reduce weather related delays for airlines.
The formula for conductive concrete is pretty simple, it’s 80% standard concrete mixture and 20% metal fiber and carbon particles. Add a little electricity and you’ve got the makings for an ice and snow free surface. The big hurdle that Tuan and his creation will face is cost. Though over time it could save cities tons of money, the initial cost to tear up roadways and re-pour would be extremely cost prohibitive. Tuan’s concrete has actually been used on the 150-foot long Roca Spur Bridge for the past 14 years, since it’s completion in 2002. In total, the bridge has 52 conductive concrete slabs, which Tuan told Phys.org cost $250 in electricity over a three day storm. That $250 is several times less than what it would cost trucks to dump chemicals on the bridge.
It would certainly be interesting to see what else could be accomplished with electrified roads…could they possibly charge electric cars? We could let our imaginations wander for hours, but for right now, Tuan wants to focus on specific areas, like intersections, exit ramps, driveways, and sidewalks.
The story below from WOWT 6 News, includes an interview with Tuan.
Mistakes during demolitions happen. Sometimes contractors knock down the wrong buildings, other times the explosives used don’t knock the building over, and other demolitions are carried out with a complete lack of regard for human life. As fun as they are to perform and watch, they’re inherently dangerous and there should be a plan in place in case things go wrong.
Cranes collapse for a variety of different reasons. Some are overloaded, some catch on fire, and others succumb to high wind loads. Regardless of the reason, a falling crane can cause tons of damage and have the potential to kill on-site workers and pedestrians walking near the job site.
A recent crawler crane collapse in Northern Italy could have been much worse as the crane, carrying a large section of viaduct, crashed to the ground.
On January 1, 2017, OSHA officially put into effect a revision to workplace injury and illness reporting that requires certain employers to submit recorded information of these instances electronically. Companies were to submit all of this information from the previous year (2016) by July 1, 2017, but now that due date is in jeopardy.
According to the US Department of Labor (US DOL), the construction industry has the highest rate of current drug users (15.6%) as compared to any other industry in the United States. As the city of New York grapples with trying to reduce their alarming rate of injuries and fatalities on construction sites, the New York chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has proposed that lawmakers add mandatory drug and alcohol testing for construction workers to the law books, according to the New York Daily News.
I’m a firm believer that before robots start taking over construction jobs, we’ll first be working with robotics to make workers more efficient and our job sites more functional. Instead of using 3D printing robots to build an entire project, why not use them first to create intricate details and bring character back to buildings? Instead of pushing human labor out of the way, why not use robotics to enhance the abilities of our workers, to improve their health and productivity? With rise in development commercial exoskeletons, workers will soon be able to harness additional strength by just slipping on a suit.
The worst day on the job is when someone on site gets injured. The 2nd through 500th worst days are the legal battle that follows many of those injuries. Nobody expects accidents to happen, but it’s best to be adequately prepared if one does. That not only includes knowing how to react to injuries with a safety plan, but also making sure your company’s documentation is in order in case lawsuits start flying.
There’s no doubt that construction workers love a good prank and some of them get pretty creative. Our favorites in the past have included the seismic test prank, the fake bear on site prank, and the “staple in the finger” prank. Obviously, as far as messing around on the job site goes, the least dangerous as the prank is, the better.
Tracking employees instantaneously is a dream scenario for employers. It gives them tons of data to analyze to determine where money can be saved and where resources can be placed to be most efficient. The struggle is convincing the employees that tracking their every move is not going to get them in trouble or fired. There’s a balance in there somewhere and that’s the challenge facing both employers and tech companies right now.
Two of the most critical concepts of construction safety are the ability to see what you’re doing and to also be seen by others around you. Construction workers rely heavily on their employer providing lighting systems when working in low light conditions, but those systems are not always adequate.
Construction industry groups are applauding President Donald Trump’s decision to sign a measure that eliminates a rule that would allow OSHA to issue citations for recordkeeping violations up to 5 years old. The previous statute of limitations was 6 months.