German University Uses VR to Simulate Worksite Accidents
Construction workers may soon be able to walk through a job site and explore potential hazards without ever putting themselves in any real danger. Researchers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have begun using building information modelling (BIM) to recreate the job sites of construction projects in a virtual reality (VR) environment.
Unlike general safety training, this system can recreate specific job sites. That would allow workers, researchers and other stakeholders to become familiar with the site and any potential hazards without actually putting anyone at risk of injury or illness.
Given the oft-cited training and skills gap in the construction sector, this tool could prove to be a valuable asset—one that delivers the experience of hands-on training without the innate risks of taking untrained workers to an active job site.
Dakota Access Construction Equipment Set Ablaze in Iowa
Last month, construction equipment associated with Dakota Access LLC’s controversial $3.7 billion oil pipeline suffered about $2 million in damage as the result of an intentionally set fire.
This isn’t the first time that the pipeline has suffered this kind of setback. According to the Jasper County Sheriff’s office, the fire occurred near the town of Reasnor, Iowa—not far from where other equipment associated with the pipeline had been set ablaze in August. The pipeline has been a source of controversy, and a number of activist groups claim that it could negatively impact the environment.
State and federal authorities are investigating to determine who is responsible and if there is any connection between the two incidents.
Business Groups Ask Candidates to Focus on Infrastructure
Thirty-four groups from the business, labor, transportation and travel industries sent letters to both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, asking for a commitment to creating long-term infrastructure funding plans and pledging to help pass any such legislation.
This letter comes in the wake of the transportation bill passed in late 2015. While that legislation did provide some funding, it failed to include provisions that addressed the long-term solvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund.
Currently, both candidates have pledged to increase infrastructure spending, though some details remain unclear.