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Classroom Simulation for Working Safely in Storm Drain Systems

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

ConstDiv Technical Session 2 - Safety

Tagged Division

Construction Engineering

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Paper Authors


Zhen Shuai Ohio State University

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Zhen Shuai has Bachelor’s degrees in Civil Engineering and Theoretical Mathematics and Master's degrees in Civil Engineering and Applied Statistics at Ohio State University. During her time as a Master’s student, she worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with the Department of Civil Engineering teaching construction safety for both undergraduates and graduates students.

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Michael Parke Ohio State University

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Dr. Parke has over twenty years experience in satellite based earth science research. He has been teaching first year engineering for the past nineteen years, with emphasis on computer aided design, computer programming, and project design and documentation.

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Fabian Hadipriono Tan P.E. Ohio State University

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Fabian Hadipriono Tan has worked in the areas of construction of infrastructures and buildings, failure assessment of buildings and bridges, construction accident investigations, forensic engineering, ancient buildings, ancient bridges, and the ancient history of science and engineering for over 40 years. The tools he uses include fault tree analysis, fuzzy logic, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality.

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A confined space is a space with limited entry and that is not designed for continuous occupancy. Working in confined spaces is dangerous because employers and workers do not always understand how they are in danger when they enter these spaces. Inexperienced workers have no sense of the inherent danger of entering and working in confined spaces; meanwhile experienced workers, even those with years of experience, may wrongly evaluate conditions, which could lead to risks. Death comes silently and often without the slightest warning, so entering and exiting confined spaces is restricted due to its danger. An advanced three-dimensional (3D) visual simulation is created to simulate real scenes of entering and working in storm drainage systems, which are considered confined spaces, and step-by-step instructions are introduced. Unlike the traditional training of confined space entry, which is a paper-based training in compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 1910.146, the newly developed visualized program allows learners to get involved with the actual process of entering and working in storm drainage systems through a 3D simulation model without danger. The main purposes of the simulation are to educate learners by helping them to (1) understand the dangers of entering and working in storm drainage systems and any associated risks (2) evaluate hazard conditions, (3) make safe and accurate decisions regarding entering and working in storm drainage systems, and (4) provide the most timely and useful recommendations to workers based on their conditions. Learners use the visualized simulation to self-train in compliance with OSHA standards. Switching to the visualized simulation from the conventional method will help learners gain a better understanding of storm drainage systems and help to prevent possible incidents due to lack of knowledge.

Shuai, Z., & Parke, M., & Tan, F. H. (2019, June), Classroom Simulation for Working Safely in Storm Drain Systems Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32509

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