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Article
Publication date: 23 February 2018

Maxwell Fordjour Antwi-Afari, Heng Li, David John Edwards, Erika Anneli Pärn, De-Graft Owusu-Manu, Joonoh Seo and Arnold Yu Lok Wong

Work-related low back disorders (LBDs) are prevalent among rebar workers although their causes remain uncertain. The purpose of this study is to examine the self-reported…

Abstract

Purpose

Work-related low back disorders (LBDs) are prevalent among rebar workers although their causes remain uncertain. The purpose of this study is to examine the self-reported discomfort and spinal biomechanics (muscle activity and spinal kinematics) experienced by rebar workers.

Design/methodology/approach

In all, 20 healthy male participants performed simulated repetitive rebar lifting tasks with three different lifting weights, using either a stoop (n = 10) or a squat (n = 10) lifting posture, until subjective fatigue was reached. During these tasks, trunk muscle activity and spinal kinematics were recorded using surface electromyography and motion sensors, respectively.

Findings

A mixed-model, repeated measures analysis of variance revealed that an increase in lifting weight significantly increased lower back muscle activity at L3 level but decreased fatigue and time to fatigue (endurance time) (p < 0.05). Lifting postures had no significant effect on spinal biomechanics (p < 0.05). Test results revealed that lifting different weights causes disproportional loading upon muscles, which shortens the time to reach working endurance and increases the risk of developing LBDs among rebar workers.

Research limitations/implications

Future research is required to: broaden the research scope to include other trades; investigate the effects of using assistive lifting devices to reduce manual handling risks posed; and develop automated human condition-based solutions to monitor trunk muscle activity and spinal kinematics.

Originality/value

This study fulfils an identified need to study laboratory-based simulated task conducted to investigate the risk of developing LBDs among rebar workers primarily caused by repetitive rebar lifting.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 May 2019

Maxwell Fordjour Antwi-Afari, Heng Li, Johnny Kwok-Wai Wong, Olugbenga Timo Oladinrin, Janet Xin Ge, JoonOh Seo and Arnold Yu Lok Wong

Sensing- and warning-based technologies are widely used in the construction industry for occupational health and safety (OHS) monitoring and management. A comprehensive…

1404

Abstract

Purpose

Sensing- and warning-based technologies are widely used in the construction industry for occupational health and safety (OHS) monitoring and management. A comprehensive understanding of the different types and specific research topics related to the application of sensing- and warning-based technologies is essential to improve OHS in the construction industry. The purpose of this paper is to examine the current trends, different types and research topics related to the applications of sensing- and warning-based technology for improving OHS through the analysis of articles published between 1996 and 2017 (years inclusive).

Design/methodology/approach

A standardized three-step screening and data extraction method was used. A total of 87 articles met the inclusion criteria.

Findings

The annual publication trends and relative contributions of individual journals were discussed. Additionally, this review discusses the current trends of different types of sensing- and warning-based technology applications for improving OHS in the industry, six relevant research topics, four major research gaps and future research directions.

Originality/value

Overall, this review may serve as a spur for researchers and practitioners to extend sensing- and warning-based technology applications to improve OHS in the construction industry.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 26 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 July 2021

Shahnawaz Anwer, Heng Li, Maxwell Fordjour Antwi-Afari, Waleed Umer, Imran Mehmood and Arnold Yu Lok Wong

Since construction workers often need to carry various types of loads in their daily routine, they are at risk of sustaining musculoskeletal injuries. Additionally…

Abstract

Purpose

Since construction workers often need to carry various types of loads in their daily routine, they are at risk of sustaining musculoskeletal injuries. Additionally, carrying a load during walking may disturb their walking balance and lead to fall injuries among construction workers. Different load carrying techniques may also cause different extents of physical exertion. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of different load-carrying techniques on gait parameters, dynamic balance, and physiological parameters in asymptomatic individuals on both stable and unstable surfaces.

Design/methodology/approach

Fifteen asymptomatic male participants (mean age: 31.5 ± 2.6 years) walked along an 8-m walkway on flat and foam surfaces with and without a load thrice using three different techniques (e.g. load carriage on the head, on the dominant shoulder, and in both hands). Temporal gait parameters (e.g. gait speed, cadence, and double support time), gait symmetry (e.g. step time, stance time, and swing time symmetry), and dynamic balance parameters [e.g. anteroposterior and mediolateral center of pressure (CoP) displacement, and CoP velocity] were evaluated. Additionally, the heart rate (HR) and electrodermal activity (EDA) was assessed to estimate physiological parameters.

Findings

The gait speed was significantly higher when the load was carried in both hands compared to other techniques (Hand load, 1.02 ms vs Head load, 0.82 ms vs Shoulder load, 0.78 ms). Stride frequency was significantly decreased during load carrying on the head than the load in both hands (46.5 vs 51.7 strides/m). Step, stance, and swing time symmetry were significantly poorer during load carrying on the shoulder than the load in both hands (Step time symmetry ration, 1.10 vs 1.04; Stance time symmetry ratio, 1.11 vs 1.05; Swing time symmetry ratio, 1.11 vs 1.04). The anteroposterior (Shoulder load, 17.47 mm vs Head load, 21.10 mm vs Hand load, −5.10 mm) and mediolateral CoP displacements (Shoulder load, −0.57 mm vs Head load, −1.53 mm vs Hand load, −3.37 ms) significantly increased during load carrying on the shoulder or head compared to a load in both hands. The HR (Head load, 85.2 beats/m vs Shoulder load, 77.5 beats/m vs No load, 69.5 beats/m) and EDA (Hand load, 14.0 µS vs Head load, 14.3 µS vs Shoulder load, 14.1 µS vs No load, 9.0 µS) were significantly larger during load carrying than no load.

Research limitations/implications

The findings suggest that carrying loads in both hands yields better gait symmetry and dynamic balance than carrying loads on the dominant shoulder or head. Construction managers/instructors should recommend construction workers to carry loads in both hands to improve their gait symmetry and dynamic balance and to lower their risk of falls.

Practical implications

The potential changes in gait and balance parameters during various load carrying methods will aid the assessment of fall risk in construction workers during loaded walking. Wearable insole sensors that monitor gait and balance in real-time would enable safety managers to identify workers who are at risk of falling during load carriage due to various reasons (e.g. physical exertion, improper carrying techniques, fatigue). Such technology can also empower them to take the necessary steps to prevent falls.

Originality/value

This is the first study to use wearable insole sensors and a photoplethysmography device to assess the impacts of various load carrying approaches on gait parameters, dynamic balance, and physiological measures (i.e. HR and EDA) while walking on stable and unstable terrains.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 September 2014

Jian Zuo, George Zillante, Zhen-Yu Zhao and Bo Xia

This research aims to investigate the impacts of project culture on the performance of construction projects. Cultural issues in the construction industry have attracted…

1911

Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to investigate the impacts of project culture on the performance of construction projects. Cultural issues in the construction industry have attracted growing attention from both practitioners and academia. However, there are few studies on culture issues at the project level. The influence of project culture has not traditionally been on the research radar.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study approach, utilising questionnaire surveys, in-depth interviews and review of project documents, was used to investigate project culture and its associated impacts in two major hospital projects.

Findings

The results indicated that project culture played an important role in achieving harmonious relationships between project participants and better project outcomes in terms of schedule, functionality, satisfaction with the process, satisfaction with the relationships, environmental issues addressed commercial success, further business opportunities and overall performance. Case 1 outperformed Case 2 in these performance indicators. Similarly, it became clear that the project’s culture should be developed from the outset and sustained during the project period. Furthermore, it was also highlighted that the project culture should be translated to all levels of the supply chain, i.e. sub-contractors and suppliers.

Practical implications

The findings enabled the client to understand the role of project culture and actively commit towards the development and maintenance of the project culture from very early on. It also helps project teams to understand how to deal with cultural issues at the project level.

Originality/value

This study is one of limited empirical studies that offer in-depth insights of how project culture affects the performance of construction projects. It is also the first study of hospital projects on the research topic.

Details

Facilities, vol. 32 no. 13/14
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-2772

Keywords

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