Construction Engineering & Project Management
Featured Project: Development, Implementation, and Tracking of Preventative Safety Metrics
The primary metric used to assess employee health and safety at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is the OSHA recordable incident rate, which measures how often a Cabinet employee sustains an injury that demands more than basic first aid. Although this is a useful metric to understand how often injuries occur, it cannot help with managing the safety, health, and well-being of KYTC staff. To provide a more programmatic approach, KTC identified a comprehensive list of safety leading indicators that could be applied by the agency and implemented measurement protocols to evaluate their performance. The five major dimensions of an effective safety program are management leadership and commitment, employee engagement, training and competence, hazard identification and control, and evaluation and improvement. Considering each dimension, researchers developed a macro-enabled Microsoft Excel workbook for a safety metric scorecard. The pilot study found that the safety metrics performed well and that maintenance crews can use the safety scorecard to predict areas in their safety programs needing improvement. KYTC would benefit from identifying more opportunities to involve staff in the safety program, such as the establishment of empowered safety committees, involving staff in developing safety policies and procedures, and increasing participation in hazard control practices. Click here to read the full report
The mission of KTC’s Construction Engineering & Project Management group is to perform research that improves the development and delivery of infrastructure projects, with a focus on safety, cost, schedule, and quality. The group’s researchers have collaborated extensively with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and over the past five years have quickly risen to national prominence through a series of projects undertaken as part of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) and on behalf of the Construction Industry Institute. Work for the NCHRP has focused on topics such as construction staffing issues and strategies, optimizing the utility coordination process, the use of alternative contracting, and transportation agencies’ use of mobile information technologies. Research on construction safety issues and the craft workforce has been funded by the Construction Industry Institute. The group also conducts work on topics ranging from project closeouts and building information modeling, to the use of aerial imagery that facilitates project delivery.
E- Tickets and Advanced Technologies for Efficient Construction Inspections
To reduce paper-based workflows and improve onsite project monitoring, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is beginning to experiment with eConstruction technologies. An added benefit of these technologies is increased construction efficiency and safety. To assess the effectiveness of eConstruction, the Cabinet asked KTC to study their use on two pilot projects. Researchers evaluated the performance of three e-construction technologies: e-ticketing, paver mounted thermal profilers, and intelligent compaction (IC). Through a combination of literature reviews and field data collection, KTC measured the performance of each technique, focusing on how they can facilitate inspection activities, including the collection of ticket information, monitoring pavement temperatures, and quantifying asphalt compaction. Though each technology has considerable promise and could potentially be adopted on a more widespread basis, e-ticketing was shown to increase operational efficiency. To determine its scalability and potential for future use, 14 upcoming KYTC projects were slated to use e-ticketing.
Reducing Construction Costs Through Effective Field Communication and Administration
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has aggressively sought out new project delivery methods that increase operational efficiencies while reducing costs. A recent focus has been on improving the administration of construction projects – which is especially challenging given turnover in staff and the loss of institutional knowledge. To achieve this objective, KTC identified strategies for enhancing the quality of project administration, staff management, and field communication. They reviewed field communications practices used by other state DOTs and interviewed Cabinet stakeholders to better understand how to improve project administration in the field. Over time, KYTC has gradually deemphasized the importance of field communication skills, due in part to insufficient staffing. Project communication can be improved by developing solutions which draw from principles of risk management, organizational behavior and management, and partnering. Researchers recommended a Putting the Project First initiative to make programmatic changes at KYTC.
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Alternate Technical Concepts
Safety Culture in KYTC Maintenance Crews (In Progress)
Safety Training Tracking for KYTC Construction & Maintenance (In Progress)