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Making the Construction Industry Resilient to Extreme Weather: Lessons from Construction in Hot Weather Conditions

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The construction industry is susceptible to extreme weather events (EWEs) due to most of its activities being conducted by manual workers outdoors. Although research has been conducted on the effects of EWEs, such as flooding and snowfall, limited research has been conducted on the effects of heatwaves and hot weather conditions. Heatwaves present a somewhat different risk profile to construction, unlike EWEs such as flooding and heavy snowfall that present physical obstacles to work onsite. However, heatwaves have affected the construction industry in the UK, and construction claims have been made due to adverse weather conditions. With heatwaves being expected to occur more frequently in the coming years, the construction industry may suffer unlike any other industry during the summer months. This creates the need to investigate methods that would allow construction activities to progress during hot summer months with minimal effect on construction projects. Hence, the purpose of this paper. Regions such as the Middle East and the UAE in particular flourish with mega projects, although temperatures soar to above 40̊C in the summer months. Lessons could be learnt from such countries and adapted in the UK. Interviews have been conducted with a lead representative of a client, a consultant and a contractor, all of which currently operate on UAE projects. The key findings include one of the preliminary steps taken by international construction companies operating in the UAE. This involves restructuring their entire regional team by employing management staff from countries such as Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and their labour force from the sub-continent such as India and Pakistan. This is not only due to the cheap wage rate but also to the ability to cope and work in such extreme hot weather conditions. The experience of individuals working in the region allows for future planning, where the difference in labour productivity during the extreme hot weather conditions is known, allowing precautionary measures to be put in place.
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Procedia Economics and Finance 18 ( 2014 ) 635 – 642
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
2212-5671 © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).
Selection and/or peer-reviewed under responsibility of the Centre for Disaster Resilience, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford.
doi: 10.1016/S2212-5671(14)00985-X
ScienceDirect
4th International Conference on Building Resilience, Building Resilience 2014, 8-10 September
2014, Salford Quays, United kingdom
Making the Construction Industry Resilient to Extreme Weather:
Lessons from Construction in Hot Weather Conditions
Mohammed N Alshebani
a
* and Gayan Wedawatta
b
a
Dp World, 5
th
floor, JAFZA 17, Jebel Ali Free Zone, PO Box 17000, Dubai, UAE
b
Engineering Systems and Management, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET, UK
Abstract
The construction industry is susceptible to extreme weather events (EWEs) due to most of its activities being conducted by
manual workers outdoors. Although research has been conducted on the effects of EWEs
, such as flooding and snowfall, limited
research has been conducted on the effects of heatwaves and hot weather conditions. Heatwaves present a somewhat different
risk profile to construction
, unlike EWEs such as flooding and heavy snowfall that present physical obstacles to work onsite.
However, heatwaves have affected the construction industry in the UK
, and construction claims have been made due to adverse
weather conditions. With heatwaves being expected to occur more frequently in the coming years, the construction industry may
suffer unlike any other industry during the summer months. This creates the need to investigate methods that would allow
construction activities to progress during hot summer months with minimal effect on construction projects
. Hence, the purpose
of this paper. Regions such as the Middle East and the UAE in particular flourish with mega projects
, although temperatures soar
to above 40°C in the summer months. Lessons could be learnt from such countries and adapted in the UK. Interviews have been
conducted with a lead representative of a client, a consultant and a contractor
, all of which currently operate on UAE projects.
The key findings include one of the preliminary steps taken by international construction companies operating in the UAE. This
involves restructuring their entire regional team by employing management staff from countries such as Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq,
and their labour force from the sub-continent such as India and Pakistan. This is not only due to the cheap wage rate but also to
the ability to cope and work in such extreme hot weather conditions. The experience of individuals working in the region allows
for future planning
, where the difference in labour productivity during the extreme hot weather conditions is known, allowing
precautionary measures to be put in place.
© 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Selection and/or peer-reviewed under responsibility of the Huddersfield Centre for Disaster Resilience, University of
Huddersfield.
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +971505409457
Email address: mohammed-nasser@live.co.uk
© 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).
Selection and/or peer
-reviewed under responsibility of the Centre for Disaster Resilience, School of the Built Environment,
University of Salford.
636 Mohammed N Alshebani and Gayan Wedawatta / Procedia Economics and Finance 18 ( 2014 ) 635 – 642
Keywords: construction; extreme weather; heatwaves; hot weather; resilience
1. Background
The UK has faced various extreme weather conditions in the recent past, including flooding, heavy winter
snowfall, heavy rainfall, extreme temperatures and heatwaves. Such extreme weather conditions are expected to
increase in the UK and are likely to occur more frequently (Stern, 2007). Although frequent weather extremes, such
as flooding and heavy snowfall, have grabbed the headlines during recent years, hot weather conditions and the
possibility of heatwaves during the summer seem to be on the increase. Analysis of climate data has revealed that
summer heatwaves (heat or anomalous hot weather that lasts for several days, usually accompanied by high
humidity) (Tan, 2008) have become more frequent in the UK (Firth and Colley, 2006; Hulme et al., 2002), it is
predicted that they will become more frequent in future due to climate change (Department of Health, 2007), thus
creating more severe impacts. According to Hulme et al. (2002), hot summer days with daytime temperatures in
central England exceeding 25ºC have become more common, almost twice as many on average during the 1990s
compared to the first half of the twentieth century. The Stern Review (2007) estimates that there will be more days
of extreme heat (relative to today) and fewer very cold days in the future, due to the effects of climate change.
Temperature extremes may create adverse impacts on human health and may also create adverse effects on
businesses. Firth and Colley (2006) report that the hot summer of 2003 caused major business disruptions in the UK.
Construction can be identified as a sector that can be vulnerable to such disruptions.
Hot weather/heatwaves can cause productivity to fall and projects to be delayed, specifically in the construction
industry. Previous studies have identified that exceptionally hot summers and heatwaves have had a considerable
impact on the UK construction sector (Brodoli, 2010; Wedawatta et al., 2011). The purpose of this study is to
establish and identify management solutions to delivering construction projects in hot weather conditions. According
to Brodoli (2010), the UK’s warm summer in 2007 caused problems in the industry, such as delays in construction
projects due to it being claimed by contractors as adverse weather conditions (Brodoli, 2010). As construction
companies in the UK seek to catch up for winter disruptions by speeding up project progress during summer months,
any disruption due to hot weather is likely to have a considerable impact on project progress, financial performance
and business continuity (Wedawatta et al., 2011). Due to global warming and the likelihood of warmer temperatures
occurring more frequently in the UK, the construction industry needs to adapt to this change in weather. The study
looks at how construction projects in the UAE and the Middle East are managed, and seeks to establish how
construction companies in the UK can effectively manage their projects during warm summer (heatwave) periods in
the UK. By knowing the procedures and laws that allow construction projects to thrive and proceed under hot
weather conditions in the Middle East, UK construction companies can learn from these procedures and adapt them
for UK projects in hot climates or projects in the Middle East should they operate overseas.
2. Effects of Hot Weather Conditions on the Construction Industry
Extreme weather conditions affect industries as well as the economy as a whole. However, the construction
industry is one that is most vulnerable due to the nature of how construction companies operate and the industry’s
heavy reliance on manpower. Mills (2003) mentions that the construction industry is one of the most vulnerable to
climate change. Therefore, due to the construction industry’s high vulnerability to any climate change or extreme
weather event, hot weather conditions would affect the construction industry while many other industries may
flourish in warm climates (Biparva, 2010). Therefore, construction during hot weather conditions creates challenges
in construction projects. Some of these challenges that affect construction projects as a direct result of heat are as
follows:
2.1 Site
Brodoli (2010) mentions his experience in delays due to dry subsoil caused by hot and dry weather. The dry
subsoil can be changed to dust, as dust is associated with hot and dry weather. Crissinger (2005) states that dust due
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to dry subsoil creates large clouds of dust to settle in neighbouring properties. The Health and Safety Executive
(n.d.) states that exposure of workers to substances from dust can cause long-term health issues, such as diseases,
mentioning the most prevalent of those dust-related diseases being in the construction industry. These diseases
include chronic pulmonary disease, occupational asthma and silicosis. The law further states that it is the employer’s
responsibility to control the dust causing those respiratory diseases by means other than personal protective
equipment (PPE), for example, through water suppression or the extraction of dust (Health and Safety Executive,
n.d.).
2.2 Equipment
Crissinger (2005) states that, due to hot weather conditions, filters on vehicles, machinery and equipment, both
inside and outside, are exposed to dusty conditions. If those filters are not regularly checked and changed, premature
breakdowns can occur (Crissinger, 2005). Depending on the project and machine, this may have severe impacts on a
project. Chamberland (2014) further mentions that, due to dry and hot weather conditions, construction equipment is
mostly affected by large amounts of dust clouds, which are formed around construction sites. The dust generates
dirt, which causes unnecessary complications and breakdowns to machinery as well as risks to the health and safety
of workers (Chamberland, 2014).
2.3 Concreting
According to the American Concrete Institute (ACI 305), hot weather is defined as: “Any combination of the
following conditions that tends to impair the quality of freshly mixed concrete by accelerating the rate of moisture
loss and the rate of cement hydration or otherwise causing detrimental results” (L&M Construction Chemicals,
2008). Crissinger (2005) states that hot and dry weather conditions can cause the water in concrete and masonry to
evaporate too fast. This rapid evaporation produces concrete with a lower compressive strength and a finish that
tends to curl upward and spall. Portland Cement Association (2014) mentions the effect of high ambient
temperatures and high temperature concrete component materials have on the setting time of concrete mixtures due
to the reduced time in which concrete must be placed, consolidated and finished. These increase the potential for
plastic shrinkage cracking and thermal cracking. This further increases the potential for strength reduction due to
high water demand and high curing temperatures (Portland Cement Association, 2014).
2.4 Workers
Workers affect the construction industry during hot weather conditions in two main ways, which are interrelated:
these are from a fall in labour productivity and an increase in health and safety procedures to minimize workers
exposure to heat-related risks and illnesses. These factors are examined below.
2.4.1 Labour productivity
Palmer and Creagh (2013) state that the increase in humidity as a result of climate change are reducing labour
productivity, and it is likely to get worse over time. In addition to this, an article published by Dunne et al. (2013)
estimates that environmental heat stress has reduced labour productivity to 90% in peak months over the past few
decades, and further projects’ labour capacity to reduce to 80% in peak months by 2050 around the world.
Furthermore, Figure 1, which is based on the findings of Yildirim et al. (2009), shows a negative association
between an increase in temperature and labour productivity.
Furthermore, Figure 1 adds to the prediction by Dunne et al. (2013) of further reduced labour productivity due to
an increase in global temperatures in the future. Yildirim et al. (2009) state that, according to their findings,
temperature can be adversely affecting per capita income level of a country via reducing the labour productivity
level in that country. This would mean that countries with high temperatures, such as the UAE, would have a much
lower labour wage rate due to lower labour productivity when compared to the UK, where cooler temperatures
would mean higher labour productivity and therefore a higher labour wage rate.
638 Mohammed N Alshebani and Gayan Wedawatta / Procedia Economics and Finance 18 ( 2014 ) 635 – 642
N&GyW/ ()
2.4.2 Health and Safety Procedures
According to Crissinger (2005), due to the physical
activity associated with construction work, construction
workers lose a fair amount of body fluids when performing
these activities in hot weather conditions. The hazardousness
of hot weather to outdoor construction workers has been
alarming and has drawn the attention of the government,
government bodies and the construction industry, since many
of the verifiable deaths due to heat stress have been reported
from the construction industry (Chan et al., 2011). Therefore,
construction workers’ welfare needs to be well assessed when
constructing in hot weather conditions or moving to construct
in a hot weather climate. This is due to extreme hot weather
conditions not only increasing the health and safety risk to
construction workers through the increase in the likelihood of workers suffering from heat-related illnesses, but also
workers’ absenteeism and turnover will increase while productivity will fall during such extreme hot weather
conditions or sudden changes in temperature (Hollingsworth, 2013; Intergraph Corporation, 2012).
3. Research Method
The chosen primary data collection methods for this paper utilize a qualitative apporach through interviews and a
case study. Kirton (2011) notes that qualitative research uses investigative approaches that produce results in the
form of descriptive textual information. Kirton (2011) further states that in general terms a qualitative approach is
for investigating the following: opinions, feelings and values; people’s interpretations and responses; behavioural
patterns; process and patterns; and case studies, including critical incidents. According to Levin (2005) in his project
subject and methodology table, the subject of the study (construction in hot weather conditions) is an issue/problem.
Therefore, the methodology recommended is through exploring the issue and, if possible, to resolve it. Levin (2005)
further notes that information gathered for projects involving exploring and resolving issues is best done through
people who can be interviewed. Therefore, three interviewees in three different company roles with experience of
working in hot weather conditions in the Middle East have been selected (see Figure 2). The interviews conducted
were exploratory, semi-structured interviews.
Figure 2: Profile of Research Participants
4. Findings and Analysis
The analysis section of this paper will discuss the findings from the interviews with the findings in the secondary
data in regards to the project management aspect of construction in hot weather conditions.
The differences in the health and safety regulations in Dubai, UAE, compared to that of the UK are mainly due to
the extreme hot weather in the UAE, and that this is mostly likely to cause differences in the way projects are
managed in the UAE compared to the UK. Interviewee B noted that the continuous need for the supervision and
control of sub-contractors and their labour force is something that is needed to be carried out by the main contractor,
noting that this is something that is unusual in UK construction firms. Interviewee B also mentioned that, in the UK,
sub-contractors are expected to manage their staff on their own and fulfil their duties with no managerial
Figure 1: Relationship between Temperature and
Labour Productivity (1997-2006)
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interference from the clients (main contractors). However, in the UAE, main contractors are expected to manage the
operations of sub-contractors.
Fewings (2005) stated that, in the UK, large and complex projects usually appoint executive project managers
with direct leadership of the project team. Interviewee C stated that project management structure with all major
clients in the UAE is similar to that of the UK. However, clients usually have their own in-house development
department with a project manager, i.e. project management is carried out in-house, rather than by a project
management company. Interviewee A mentioned the same, stating his current job position as project manager for
the client, currently working for the project department of the client’s organization. Interviewee B noted an
important point, stating that the hot weather conditions that had occurred in the UK are normally unplanned for.
However, in the UAE, these extreme hot weather conditions are planned for. Interviewee C noted that planning for
such weather events is considered right from the bidding stage for a project. These two key points need to be
considered when analyzing the differences. Key findings of the interviews will be discussed under the topics of
procurement, contracts, laws and regulations, and workers, as detailed below.
4.1 Procurement
AECOM (2013) states that construction management and design only, then construct as the procurement option,
would result in the best outcome for a project with regard to time, cost, risk and reputation. Interviewee A stated that
standard procurement methods are the safest in terms of cost and time to the contractor, as they involve few changes
and are currently the most common in the region, whereas design and build is the least used form of contract. This is
opposite to the UK, where design and build contracts are the most common forms used (Chartered Institute of
Building [CIOB], 2010). Moreover, Kerr et al. (2013) state that any international contractor that is engaged to
undertake a project in the UAE must establish a local presence. This is done by recognizing the importance of local
and international experience. The importance of local knowledge was mentioned by all three interviewees, with
Interviewee B mentioning the importance of special relations with local sub-contractors. Furthermore, Interviewees
A and B mentioned that there is not much difference in the procuring method between the UAE and the UK, adding
that competitive bidding is the same. However, preference is always given to construction companies with
experience of working in the Middle East region.
4.2 Contracts
Interviewee C mentioned that the forms of contracts used are FIDIC. The project he was currently working on
was an FIDIC 4 form of contract. Interviewee B mentioned that contracts in the UAE are similar to those in the UK,
stating that FIDIC 4 is the one most commonly used. This is similar to that stated by AECOM (2013). However,
Interviewee A mentioned the use of NEC contracts, stating that such forms of contracts are starting to become more
common. Furthermore, Theodore and Trauner (2009) state that it is common for construction contracts to
specifically address how weather-related time extensions will be determined. However, this is applicable for unusual
weather. Interviewee C noted that weather claims are specified in the contract. However, hot weather conditions are
not unexpected in the UAE. Therefore, this is inapplicable in the UAE.
4.3 Laws and regulations
Turley (2010) states that construction companies in the UAE face challenges in ensuring compliance with the
country’s health and safety provisions. This had not been the case with any of the three interviewees. Interviewee A
stated that these regulations and health and safety procedures are there to ensure the welfare and safety of the
workers, and Interviewee C stated that, with forward planning, these regulations are complied with, with minimal
effect on the construction project. Turley (2010) states that the most difficult piece of legislation to comply with is
the labour law, due to the continuous changes and various origins. This was not mentioned by any of the
interviewees. However, Interviewee C noted that the laws are clearly stated and requirements indicated by all the
relevant government bodies, although confusion may sometimes be caused during complex projects, making it
difficult to identify which piece of
legislation complies with it. Interviewee C mentioned that different laws and
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regulations apply, depending on where the project is located, stating that the laws and regulations are issued by
Tarakhees if you are operating in a free zone area, such as the Jabil Ali Free Zone, and that the Dubai Municipality
issues regulations for areas out of the free zone. This is similar to what has been stated by Palmer and Creagh
(2013).
4.4 Workers
During the interview process, the findings on workers have been addressed in two broad categories: labour
productivity and labour welfare in regards to health and safety. These are discussed below.
4.4.1 Labour productivity
Palmer and Creagh (2013) noted that an increase in humidity results in a fall in labour productivity. This was
obvious to Interviewee C, who stated that labour productivity falls by at least 2 to 3 hours per day. Moreover,
Yildirim et al. (2009) state that, according to their findings, temperature can be adversely affecting per capita
income level of a country via reducing the labour productivity level in that country. This would mean that countries
with high temperatures, such as the UAE, would have a much lower labour wage rate due to lower labour
productivity when compared to the UK, where cooler temperatures would mean higher labour productivity and
therefore a higher labour wage rate. The low wage labour rate was noted by Interviewees A and B, whereby
Interviewee B mentioned low productivity and skill rate on the sub-continental labour force working in the UAE
compared to those working in the UK.
4.4.2 Health and safety procedures
Chan et al. (2011) note the hazardousness of hot weather to outdoor construction workers, mentioning that the
government and the construction industry’s attention has been drawn to focus on this issues. Interviewee B stated
that the ‘stiff’ laws and regulations in place in the UAE are due to the high rate of fatalities in the industry, and that
these laws are there to reduce such fatal incidents and protect workers’ welfare. As mentioned earlier, Hollingsworth
(2013) and Intergraph Corporation (2012) stated that workers’ absenteeism and turnover will increase, while
productivity will fall during such extreme hot weather conditions or sudden changes in temperature. This was
addressed by Interviewee C, who stated that forward planning can reduce the effect of such low productivity and
shorter working hours during the hot summer months in the UAE. The Construction Industry Council (CIC) (2008)
states that contractors should establish safe systems for working in hot weather and should provide adequate
training, information, instruction and supervision to workers and site supervisors in order to facilitate and ensure its
adoption. Labour training was not mentioned by any of the interviewees. However, they all mentioned the
importance of supervision. The CIC (2008) further states that client organizations should consider taking an
equitable approach towards incorporating appropriate contractual provisions for granting extension of time.
However, this is not applicable for hot weather conditions in the UAE, as they are frequent and are expected, as
mentioned by Interviewees B and C.
5. Conclusion
The findings and analysis pointed out three key points to managing construction projects in hot weather
conditions. These are: experience (local knowledge); the labour force; and forward planning. Construction during
hot weather conditions can be managed without affecting project handover dates, as found in the UAE. As
mentioned by Interviewee C, the hot weather conditions magnify the management and planning issues that exist and
may go unnoticed during the lifetime of a project. Therefore, the experience of managing projects in such extreme
hot weather conditions plays a vital role in future planning and scheduling of site activities in order to minimize
labour intensive activities in the summer. This is done through controlling the labour force to allow for changes in
shifts and to allow for work during night shifts. Scheduling such activities may seem simple on paper but managing
a large labour force on a large-scale project can be a difficult and complex task, as explained by the interviewees.
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However, this is the process adopted on construction projects in the Middle East, which is supported by the laws that
allow for flexibility in working hours in order to minimize the effects of extreme hot weather and to deliver projects
on time. The UK is now more susceptible to extreme hot weather events, which are expected to occur more
frequently than in the past. They are further expected to last longer. The key to allowing UK construction projects to
proceed during heatwaves is in the labour force and forward planning of construction activities. However, this is
mainly restricted due to the British labour force not being used to working in such hot weather conditions and the
extent of how accurate the prediction is of an extreme hot weather event to allow for future planning. The advantage
in the UAE and the Middle East in this respect is the existence of a labour force from the sub-continent region that is
used to and able to work in such weather conditions, as well as the predicted summer temperatures that occur every
year during a certain known period. Therefore, the experience from the UAE can be used to assist in the future
planning of projects during such hot weather conditions. However, the ability of the British labour force to adapt and
accept working in such weather conditions, and the accuracy of extreme hot weather events in the UK, is
questionable. Furthermore, British construction firms seeking to operate in the UAE will need to employ their labour
force from the sub-continental countries or Middle Eastern countries in order to become competitive in the Middle
East construction market. This would enable an experienced labour force, capable of working in such weather
conditions. Although there is a lack in skills within the labour force compared to the UK labour force, it is
compensated by the lower wage rate and the increase in the number of workers. However, it is essential that labour
welfare and safety issues are attended to and that health and safety regulations are strictly adhered to while
undertaking construction in hot weather conditions.
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... Rising temperatures can adversely affect the per capita income level of a country by reducing the labor productivity level in that country. Furthermore, workers' absenteeism and turnover will increase while productivity will fall during extremely hot weather conditions or sudden changes in temperature (Alshebani et al. 2014). Global warming has led to an increase in the severity and intensity of heatwaves in many countries. ...
... Construction workers often perform hard manual work outdoors, which puts them at high risk of injury due to heat stress. The construction industry is very vulnerable to heat stress due to the nature of how construction companies operate and the industry's heavily reliance on manpower (Alshebani et al. 2014). The combination of these increased environmental and metabolic heat loads poses a challenge to the body's cooling mechanisms (Rameezdeen and Elmualim 2017). ...
... This result is unsurprising because one of the major complaints masons have is task uncertainly due to operational issues usually exasperated by tool use/accuracy challenges and potential control errors (Mitropoulos and Memarian, 2013). In addition, masons are at moderate risk of injury due to adverse indoor and outdoor climates with dusty conditions and the presence of other elements potentially causing unnecessary complications and equipment malfunction (Alshebani and Wedawatta, 2014). These hazardous exposure to masons have been recognized by researchers, and hence, there is a push to investigate the effect of worksite conditions, including hot and cold temperature, on construction workers (Liu et al., 2021). ...
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Construction practitioners have started exploring the use of exoskeletons within operations to combat the high rate of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, declining productivity, and worker attrition. In attempting to adopt exoskeletons, the ensuing human-robot interaction (HRI) can lead to the emergence of novel safety risks or the increment of existing safety risks as a result of hazards peculiar to the task-technology execution. These risks, if ignored, can worsen construction worker safety performance. This paper presents research aimed at developing insights needed to control safety risks associated with exoskeleton (wearable robot) use across three construction tasks – bricklaying, drywall installation, and concrete grinding and polishing. To achieve this aim, the Delphi method, which relied on inferential and descriptive statistics such as mean analysis and consensus evaluation, was employed to (1) quantify wearable robot safety risks for selected construction tasks, and (2) identify effective and feasible safety risk mitigation strategies using the study results. Findings from the present study include 10 critical safety and health risks associated with exoskeletons and 12 key safety risk mitigation strategies. This research contributes to knowledge by characterizing the safety risks and mitigation strategies associated with HRI and providing valuable insights that could be used by researchers to advance construction worker safety and health research. Through increased awareness of HRI safety risk and mitigation strategies, practitioners can prioritize safety resources and improve worker safety and productivity.
... Those who regularly work outdoors in extreme heat are subject to hypertension (HP8), cardiovascular problems (HP9), and pulmonary issues, which, if undetected and untreated, can even result in death (Wu et al., 2019). In addition, high temperatures and relatively low humidity can create dust, which, along with winds, can cause respiratory health issues (HP10) like chronic lung disease, asthma, and silicosis (Alshebani et al., 2014). Workers in hot environments often become dehydrated (HP11) as a result of not drinking enough water or similar fluids (Bates and Schneider 2008). ...
... As construction sites include several fine materials like cement, sand, and dirt, which are naturally blown by winds, results in air pollution. As workers perform in extreme heat, this further aggravates the problem by causing chronic respiratory issues like lung disease, silicosis, and asthma, due to inhaling the dry-polluted air (Alshebani and Wedawatta 2014;Pamidimukkala et al. 2020). Mental health of the workers is also affected by reduced hydration levels. ...
... The uncertainties caused by weather, such as extreme cold, heat, wind, or precipitation, can adversely affect workers both psychologically and physiologically, thereby influencing the safety performance of the project. Extreme hot weather conditions can increase the health and safety risk to construction workers, the likelihood of workers suffering from heat-related illnesses, workers' absenteeism, and turnover [49]. Strong winds can also make it more dangerous for construction workers to operate at heights [50]. ...
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The hazardous nature of the construction environment and current incident statistics indicate a pressing need for safety performance improvement. One potential approach is the strategic analysis of leading indicators for measuring safety performance as opposed to using only lagging indicators, which has protractedly been the norm. This study presents a systematic safety performance measurement framework and statistical modeling processes for analyzing safety incident data for accident prediction and prevention on construction sites. Using safety incident data obtained from a construction corporation that implements proactive safety management programs, statistical modeling processes are utilized to identify variables with high correlations of events and incidents that pose dangers to the safety and health of workers on construction sites. The findings of the study generated insights into the different types and impacts of incident causal factors and precursors on injuries and accidents on construction sites. One of the key contributions of this study is the promotion of proactive methods for improving safety performance on construction sites. The framework and statistical models developed in this study can be used to collect and analyze safety data to provide trends in safety performance, set improvement targets, and provide continuous feedback to enhance safety performance on construction sites.
... In recent years, construction site safety accidents frequently resulted in heavy losses to construction personnel, the economy, and buildings. The construction industry is susceptible to extreme weather events due to most of its activities being conducted by construction workers outdoors [35]. Ref. [36] revealed that the type of accident with the highest risk score is "falling objects", while the leading cause is excessive winds on the project site. ...
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The safety inspection capability of construction sites before typhoons could be improved using a UAV, which has a rapid identification capability. However, the main safety inspection items need construction experience and technical safety specifications. This study aimed to obtain the influencing factors of typhoon and their weight proportion through the knowledge of disaster theory and the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). The effectiveness of this method was verified by collecting and analyzing the field data at the construction site. A set of construction site early warning flows and disaster prevention and mitigation measures for typhoons are proposed. The results show that UAVs can be used as a tool in this scenario, helping to improve disaster prevention and enhancing the capability of construction site management to evaluate typhoon risk. The research provides a much-needed common ground for collecting and analyzing advances in UAVs and immersive technologies, as well as their influence on building projects. Furthermore, this article provides a new horizon for beginner researchers working on digitalized construction research.
... Those who regularly work outdoors in extreme heat are subject to hypertension (HP8), cardiovascular problems (HP9), and pulmonary issues, which, if undetected and untreated, can even result in death [35]. In addition, high temperatures and relatively low humidity can create dust, which, along with winds, can cause respiratory health issues (HP10) like chronic lung disease, asthma, and silicosis [38]. Workers in hot environments often become dehydrated (HP11) as a result of not drinking enough water or similar fluids [40]. ...
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Construction sites continue to operate despite inclement weather, exposing workers to unpleasant working circumstances that can lead to various physical and mental health challenges. A thorough literature review yielded 21 challenges for hot weather conditions such as heat stroke, kidney disease, heat cramps, anxiety, depression and 20 challenges for cold weather conditions like asthma, frostbite, Musculo-Skeletal disorders, hallucination. Workers vulnerable to hot and cold weather based on demographic characteristics were identified. The study also provides 27 strategies to address the challenges experienced in hot and cold weather conditions. Some of these include ensuring that workers stay hydrated, scheduling sufficient rest periods, and allowing workers to self-pace. The results of this study will help construction decision-makers and project managers understand the difficulties faced by a field workforce who labors in extreme working conditions on construction sites and will facilitate adoption of strategies that can prevent weather-related physical and mental health problems.
... Previous studies paid less attention to quantifying such weather's impact (Alshebani and Wedawatta 2014). Bates and Schneider (2008) investigated the hydration level of construction workers in the UAE. ...
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Purpose Construction worker health and safety is a primary concern for construction companies and researchers. Arabian Gulf region, like Saudi Arabia, has been experiencing extremely hot and humid (EHH) weather, which directly affects construction workers’ health and safety. This study aims to address the problem of EHH weather conditions and their impacts on construction workers’ physiological status. Methods This study assesses the impacts of EHH weather on construction workers’ physiological status through the measurement of workers’ physical body parameters (age, height, and weight); type of activities; and assigned tasks. Thirty-five multinational workers participated in the measurements, which were conducted in real construction site conditions A quantitative analysis was then applied to quantify the physiological impacts of the weather conditions. Several hypotheses were tested to identify the significant impacts of individual and working aspects on the workers’ physiological responses. Results and conclusion The results provide empirical evidence that the recorded Heart Rate (HR) exceeded the acceptable physiological zones for construction workers exposed to extremely hot and humid weather conditions. Physical body parameters, work activities, and worker status significantly influence construction workers’ physiological responses. This study recommends adopting a continuous monitoring approach as an early warning system under extremely hot and humid weather conditions.
... Construction sites with increased pollution due to sand and fine particles along with the adverse heat in the site may increase the chances of respiratory issues like asthma, silicosis, chronic lung disease. High winds coupled with hot weather increases the dust particles (Rouhanizadeh and Kermanshachi, 2019;Safapour and Kermanshachi, 2019) and makes the working environment even worse (Alshebani and Wedawatta, 2014). Decrease in mental performance is observed when workers are dehydrated (Bates and Schneider, 2008). ...
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Workplace hazards and accidents occur more frequently in the construction industry than in any other industries. Occupational hazards cannot be completely eliminated but can be reduced to an extent where workers can perform activities in a safe environment. Health and safety of workers in construction site is of at most importance to employers, which when ignored can lead to fatal injuries and even death affecting the progress of work and project completion time. The goal of this study is to identify critical factors affecting workers health in extreme weather conditions and to identify the vulnerable workers based on age, gender, and ethnicity. Therefore, a questionnaire survey was developed and distributed to identify critical health challenges faced by construction workers while working in unfavorable weather conditions. The results revealed that workers with pre-existing medical condition like hyper-tension face higher unfavorable impacts on their health while working in extreme hot weather. Based on gender, female workers suffer from more heat related disorders compared to male workers. Based on age, workers above 50 years are more affected when working in extreme weather conditions compared to workers of other age groups. In addition, some workers reported increased irritation and distraction from work due to physical discomfort of working in unfavorable environment leading to more accidents at workplace. Moreover, some workers reported increased onset of muscle fatigue due to tight thermal clothing during cold weather conditions. Prolonged exposure to cold winds tends to distract the workers, leading to workers becoming more hallucinatory and disoriented. The results of this study will help employers and project managers to take proper actions against the unforeseen factors affecting the workers' health and safety in the construction sites with extreme weather conditions.
... Typically, the construction site is not prepared to face abnormal weather situations, and preventive mechanisms are not in place (Mohammed et al., 2014). Hence, the status of such a situation leads to the loss of money and downtime delays in the construction process. ...
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A fundamental aspect of greenhouse-gas-induced warming is a global-scale increase in absolute humidity. Under continued warming, this response has been shown to pose increasingly severe limitations on human activity in tropical and mid-latitudes during peak months of heat stress. One heat-stress metric with broad occupational health applications is wet-bulb globe temperature. We combine wet-bulb globe temperatures from global climate historical reanalysis and Earth System Model (ESM2M) projections with industrial and military guidelines for an acclimated individual's occupational capacity to safely perform sustained labour under environmental heat stress (labour capacity)--here defined as a global population-weighted metric temporally fixed at the 2010 distribution. We estimate that environmental heat stress has reduced labour capacity to 90% in peak months over the past few decades. ESM2M projects labour capacity reduction to 80% in peak months by 2050. Under the highest scenario considered (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5), ESM2M projects labour capacity reduction to less than 40% by 2200 in peak months, with most tropical and mid-latitudes experiencing extreme climatological heat stress. Uncertainties and caveats associated with these projections include climate sensitivity, climate warming patterns, CO2 emissions, future population distributions, and technological and societal change.
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Purpose The UK experienced a number of Extreme Weather Events (EWEs) during recent years and a significant number of businesses were affected as a result. With the intensity and frequency of weather extremes predicted in the future, enhancing the resilience of businesses, especially of Small and Medium‐sized Enterprises (SMEs), who are considered as highly vulnerable, has become a necessity. However, little research has been undertaken on how construction SMEs respond to the risk of EWEs. In seeking to help address this dearth of research, this investigation sought to identify how construction SMEs were being affected by EWEs and the coping strategies being used. Design/methodology/approach A mixed methods research design was adopted to elicit information from construction SMEs, involving a questionnaire survey and case study approach. Findings Results indicate a lack of coping strategies among the construction SMEs studied. Where the coping strategies have been implemented, these were found to be extensions of their existing risk management strategies rather than radical measures specifically addressing EWEs. Research limitations/implications The exploratory survey focused on the Greater London area and was limited to a relatively small sample size. This limitation is overcome by conducting detailed case studies utilising two SMEs whose projects were located in EWE prone localities. The mixed method research design adopted benefits the research by presenting more robust findings. Practical implications A better way of integrating the potential of EWEs into the initial project planning stage is required by the SMEs. This could possibly be achieved through a better risk assessment model supported by better EWE prediction data. Originality/value The paper provides an original contribution towards the overarching agenda of resilience of SMEs and policy making in the area of EWE risk management. It informs both policy makers and practitioners on issues of planning and preparedness against EWEs.
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Examining the intersection of risk analysis and sustainable energy strategies reveals numerous examples of energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies that offer insurance loss-prevention benefits. The growing threat of climate change provides an added motivation for the risk community to understand better this are of opportunity. While analyses of climate change mitigation typically focus on the emissions-reduction characteristics of sustainable energy technologies, less often recognised are a host of synergistic ways in which these technologies also offer adaptation benefits, e.g. making buildings more resilient to natural disasters. While there is already some relevant activity, there remain various barriers to expanding these efforts significantly. Achieving successful integration of sustainable energy considerations with risk-management objectives requires a more proactive orientation, and coordination among diverse actors and industry groups.
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This analysis, by using a cross-section data of 111 countries for different samples of 1997-2006 period and Ordinary Least Square (OLS) estimation technique, tests the hypothesis that higher temperature conversely affects labor productivity in a country. The results indicate that there is statistically significant negative relationship between temperature and labor productivity level of a country and this finding remains valid for all samples. Also we identified that temperature level of a country is the second most contributing factor to the explanation of labor productivity level in that particular country. The most contributing factor to labor productivity level is being a high income country.
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With visits to ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) on the rise, accountability in the care provided by these facilities and the surgeons who staff them is required. This requires the ability to measure and monitor ASC-based care over time. For this reason, we developed and validated a claims-based algorithm to identify ASCs. Using a 20% sample of Medicare claims (2002-2008), we developed 3 ASC definitions. Definition 1 identified unique facilities with tax identification numbers and appropriate Place of Service and Type of Service codes. Definition 2 had the same conditions but also required specific Specialty codes. Definition 3 involved a multistep cleansing stage, in which facilities with indeterminate information in the fields of interest were eliminated. We assessed agreement between these definitions and findings from alternative data sources. Placing additional requirements on how a freestanding ASC was defined within Medicare claims helped in the refinement of our algorithm. Agreement on the number of unique ASCs in Florida over the study interval was greatest between Definition 3 and the State Ambulatory Surgery Databases (concordance correlation coefficient=0.984; 95%, confidence interval, 0.967-0.992). With the Provider of Services Extract serving as the reference standard, our algorithm (based on Definition 3) had a positive predictive value of 99.0% (95% confidence interval, 98.6%-99.4%) for determining health care markets that experienced the opening of an ASC. The consequent inference is that our algorithm represents an accurate tool for distinguishing and tracking ASCs in Medicare data.
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There is now clear scientific evidence that emissions from economic activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels for energy, are causing changes to the Earth´s climate. A sound understanding of the economics of climate change is needed in order to underpin an effective global response to this challenge. The Stern Review is an independent, rigourous and comprehensive analysis of the economic aspects of this crucial issue. It has been conducted by Sir Nicholas Stern, Head of the UK Government Economic Service, and a former Chief Economist of the World Bank. The Economics of Climate Change will be invaluable for all students of the economics and policy implications of climate change, and economists, scientists and policy makers involved in all aspects of climate change.
Middle East Construction Handbook
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Weather Claims in the United Kingdom Construction Industry
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