Risk Analysis

Construction Safety Risk Modeling and Simulation

Journal Article

Abstract

By building on a genetic‐inspired attribute‐based conceptual framework for safety risk analysis, we propose a novel approach to define, model, and simulate univariate and bivariate construction safety risk at the situational level. Our fully data‐driven techniques provide construction practitioners and academicians with an easy and automated way of getting valuable empirical insights from attribute‐based data extracted from unstructured textual injury reports. By applying our methodology on a data set of 814 injury reports, we first show the frequency‐magnitude distribution of construction safety risk to be very similar to that of many natural phenomena such as precipitation or earthquakes. Motivated by this observation, and drawing on state‐of‐the‐art techniques in hydroclimatology and insurance, we then introduce univariate and bivariate nonparametric stochastic safety risk generators based on kernel density estimators and copulas. These generators enable the user to produce large numbers of synthetic safety risk values faithful to the original data, allowing safety‐related decision making under uncertainty to be grounded on extensive empirical evidence. One of the implications of our study is that like natural phenomena, construction safety may benefit from being studied quantitatively by leveraging empirical data rather than strictly being approached through a managerial perspective using subjective data, which is the current industry standard. Finally, a side but interesting finding is that in our data set, attributes related to high energy levels (e.g., machinery, hazardous substance) and to human error (e.g., improper security of tools) emerge as strong risk shapers.

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