AbstractThe use of robotics and automation (RA) within construction operations to combat stagnant productivity, high rates of injuries and fatalities, and a declining workforce is increasing. However, utilizing RA for construction operations creates human-robot interactions (HRIs) that can lead to the emergence of novel hazards or exacerbate existing safety risk levels. These hazards, if ignored, could worsen worker safety performance. This paper presents a study intended to identify critical HRI safety risks and develop a pre-task planning protocol for the assessment of safety risks associated with the use of RA. To achieve this goal, the authors utilized a sequential multi-phase approach relying on information obtained from a literature review, a 3-round Delphi process consisting of a panel of experts from industry and academia, and interviews with safety experts. Forty hazards associated with RA and 20 potential strategies for the mitigation of HRI safety risks were identified and evaluated. This information was used to develop a safety risk assessment tool that yields an overall risk rating of using RA. This study contributes to knowledge and practice by identifying and quantifying critical safety risks associated with HRI and developing a tool to assess and mitigate unique HRI safety risks. Utilizing insights developed in this study could improve construction worker safety and health and aid the industry’s increasing push towards a smart and safe workforce.

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