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Identifying and Controlling Ergonomic Risk Factors in Construction | Abstract
Journal of Ergonomics

Journal of Ergonomics
Open Access

ISSN: 2165-7556

Abstract

Identifying and Controlling Ergonomic Risk Factors in Construction

Satish B Mohan

Construction expenditures at 1.22 trillion in 2017, accounted for 6.29% of the U.S. GDP, and the construction industry employed 6.80 million, 5.34% of the total work force, that suffered 6.43% of the worksite injuries. Worker fatalities were 19.1% of the total fatalities, 3.6 times more than all other industries. A study of the 1,657 construction injuries and illnesses that occurred at the US Navy Public Works Center (Pearl), from 1987 to 1994, showed that 589 (36%) of the injuries were work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). This real field data of 589 ergonomic injuries identified following nine ergonomic risk factors: (i) Frequent or heavy lifting, (ii) Fixed or awkward body postures, (iii) Pushing, pulling, and carrying heavy objects, (iv) Work methods, (v) Hand tools and equipment, (vi) Repetitive, forced, or prolonged exertions, (vii) Noise, (viii) Whole body vibration, and (ix) Personnel relations This paper has provided the effects of risk factors on the parts-of-body of construction workers, which include: low back, shoulder, knee, hip, neck, wrist, and fingers. Also, the causal relationships between each risk factor and work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) have been included. Some example construction occupations that suffer from each risk factor have been shown. Section on Ergonomic Risk Controls includes three categories: (i) Engineering controls that include: work station design to fit all size of workers, and work method design to minimize static, extreme, and awkward postures, and to reduce repetitive movements and excessive forces, (ii) Administrative controls to provide rest breaks for recovery from fatigue, and job rotation to avoid using the same body part over and over, and (iii) Work practice controls, such as: keeping tools properly maintained, using low vibration tools, and storing heavy loads at waist height. Several other preventive measures have been mentioned, and a model construction ergonomics program has been suggested.

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