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Sunday , November 18 2018
Home | Tag Archives: UTEP Department of Civil Engineering

Tag Archives: UTEP Department of Civil Engineering

Grant Helps UTEP Civil Engineers Provide Safety Training for Spanish-Speaking Construction Workers

Keeping non-English speaking construction workers in the Borderplex safe is the goal of a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor awarded to a team of UTEP engineers.

Adeeba Raheem, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Austin Marshall, J.D., clinical professor in the department, will use the $155,000 prestigious Susan Harwood targeted training grant to prepare residential and commercial construction workers for excavation hazard prevention.

“Excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous construction operations,” said Raheem, who added the fatality rate for excavation work is 112 percent higher than the rate for general construction.

“In El Paso, the majority of construction workers are Hispanic and most of them have limited literacy skills. These workers, in many cases, have never been trained or the training may have been of limited value due to language barriers. Our free training will prepare the workers to identify excavation hazards and understand the OSHA regulations to avoid injuries during excavation work.”

This is the fourth consecutive year that UTEP has earned this grant. With this support, the UTEP team has trained more than 4,000 construction workers on various safety-related topics.

More than 600 companies have participated, most of them small businesses with limited resources for safety training.

More than 30 UTEP students have been trained as instructors so far and many more will be involved as a result of this year’s new funding.

Raheem said this use of the grant prepares students to be future safety professionals and benefits local contractors through increased awareness of jobsite hazards and prevention methods

“Professional development is extremely important for students because it introduces them to the culture and practice of their profession,” Raheem said.

This contract has provided UTEP students with opportunities for hands-on training at different construction sites. In some cases these assignments have led to employment, Marshall said.

Student participants have gone into the field and met with owners, workers, supervisors and project managers. The result for those trained has been improved professional skills and increased self-confidence and field and safety knowledge

UTEP Team Leads Pavement Engineering

A team of researchers in UTEP’s Center for Transportation Infrastructure Systems (CTIS) led by Imad Abdallah, Ph.D., research associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and executive director of CTIS, is leading the way in pavement engineering.

The group was recently awarded $591,499 from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) through the Federal Highway Administration. The grant will allow the team to extend their research with TxDOT on asphalt mixes for three more years. Distress and the increased use of recycled material have made it more important to focus on design processes and mixes to prevent concrete cracking.

“This research implementation positions CTIS in the forefront of research in the area of pavement engineering, especially the cracking potential characterization of asphalt concrete,” Abdallah said. “This opportunity is especially exciting to me because we’ve seen standards implemented in Texas implemented at the national level.”

These efforts focus on establishing statewide acceptance limits for cracking resistance on mixes, and establishing laboratory testing protocol and training at district labs, both in Austin and San Antonio.

The UTEP team has already identified methods not only to estimate the cracking potential of AC mixes, but also to design the desired cracking performance of the mixes. If the test protocol and specifications from this research project are implemented and utilized as a routine mix design tool, the positive impact of the project will significantly benefit TxDOT’s budget by saving tens of millions of dollars annually in construction and maintenance costs, Abdallah said.

The research team includes Soheil Nazarian, Ph.D., CTIS center director and professor in the Department of Civil Engineering; Jose Garibay, CTIS lab manager and Victor Garcia, CTIS research assistant.