Published: Nov. 15, 2021

The University of Colorado Boulder hosted a global conference on construction safety in early November. Attendees of the inaugural Safety Summit included 150 in-person and 100 virtual guests representing nearly 80 U.S. and international companies in the construction industry.

Sponsored by the Construction Safety Research Alliance at CU Boulder, the event at Folsom Field provided attendees with a forum to discuss the latest findings in safety research from areas as diverse as reporting incident rates and using predictive analytics to employing augmented or virtual reality to improve industry safety. 

The alliance is a collaboration between industry and academia working together to understand industry needs, conduct field research, collect and analyze data and share the results broadly as an open-source organization.

Based in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, the group conducts three to four research projects a year. The work is led by civil engineering PhD students under the guidance of CSRA Executive Director Matthew Hallowell, Associate Director of Research Sid Bhandari and Associate Director of Strategic Advancement Katie Welfare. Each research team also includes industry professionals. 

“The CSRA is an innovative research model because it blends the scientific strengths of the University of Colorado academic team with the practical knowledge of our industry partners,” said Matthew Hallowell, director of the alliance and an endowed professor in the Construction Engineering Management program at the College of Engineering and Applied Science. “Together, the CSRA community magnifies research impact and vastly accelerates the translation of research to practice.”

The rate of serious injuries and fatalities has plateaued in the construction industry for nearly 20 years. The CSRA was formed to create a new future of safety where the methods used to prevent serious incidents and fatalities are based on defendable science. They leverage the fact that safety is not proprietary and that organizations can work together in pursuit of the common goal of fatality prevention.