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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

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Maxwell Fordjour Antwi-Afari, Heng Li, David John Edwards, Erika Anneli Pärn, JoonOh Seo and Arnold Wong

Repetitive lifting tasks have detrimental effects upon balance control and may contribute toward fall injuries, yet despite this causal linkage, risk factors involved…

Abstract

Purpose

Repetitive lifting tasks have detrimental effects upon balance control and may contribute toward fall injuries, yet despite this causal linkage, risk factors involved remain elusive. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effects of different weights and lifting postures on balance control using simulated repetitive lifting tasks.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 20 healthy male participants underwent balance control assessments before and immediately after a fatiguing repetitive lifting tasks using three different weights in a stoop (ten participants) or a squat (ten participants) lifting posture. Balance control assessments required participants to stand still on a force plate with or without a foam (which simulated an unstable surface) while center of pressure (CoP) displacement parameters on the force plate was measured.

Findings

Results reveal that: increased weight (but not lifting posture) significantly increases CoP parameters; stoop and squat lifting postures performed until subjective fatigue induce a similar increase in CoP parameters; and fatigue adversely effected the participant’s balance control on an unstable surface vis-à-vis a stable surface. Findings suggest that repetitive lifting of heavier weights would significantly jeopardize individuals’ balance control on unstable supporting surfaces, which may heighten the risk of falls.

Originality/value

This research offers an entirely new and novel approach to measuring the impact that different lifting weights and postures may have upon worker stability and consequential fall incidents that may arise.

Details

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, vol. 35 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4708

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Article
Publication date: 29 April 2021

Omobolanle Ogunseiju, Johnson Olayiwola, Abiola Akanmu and Oluwole Alfred Olatunji

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders constitute a severe problem in the construction industry. Workers' lower backs are often affected by heavy or repetitive lifting and…

Abstract

Purpose

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders constitute a severe problem in the construction industry. Workers' lower backs are often affected by heavy or repetitive lifting and prolonged awkward postures. Exoskeletal interventions are effective for tasks involving manual lifting and repetitive movements. This study aims to examine the potential of a postural-assist exoskeleton (a passive exoskeleton) for manual material handling tasks.

Design/methodology/approach

From an experimental observation of participants, the effects of postural-assist exoskeleton on tasks and workers were measured. Associated benefits of the exoskeleton were assessed through task performance, range of motion and discomfort.

Findings

Findings suggest that the exoskeleton influenced discomfort significantly, however range of motion decreased with lifting tasks. The reduced back flexion and increased hip flexion were also indicatives of the participants' responsiveness to the feedback from the exoskeleton. In addition, task completion time increased by 20%, and participants' back pain did not reduce.

Research limitations/implications

The work tasks were performed in a controlled laboratory environment and only wearable inertia measurement units (IMUs) were used to assess the risk exposures of the body parts.

Practical implications

This study opens a practical pathway to human-exoskeleton integration, artificial regeneration or enablement of impaired workforce and a window toward a new order of productivity scaling. Results from this study provide preliminary insights to designers and innovators on the influence of postural assist exoskeleton on construction work. Project stakeholders can be informed of the suitability of the postural assist exoskeletons for manual material handling tasks.

Originality/value

Little has been reported on the benefits and impact of exoskeletons on tasks' physical demands and construction workers' performance. This study adds value to the existing literature, in particular by providing insights into the effectiveness and consequences of the postural-assist exoskeleton for manual material handling tasks.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 4 December 2020

Pengpeng Cheng, Daoling Chen and Jianping Wang

For comfort evaluation of underwear pressure, this paper proposes an improved GA algorithm to optimize the weight and threshold of BP neural network, namely PSO-GA-BP…

Abstract

Purpose

For comfort evaluation of underwear pressure, this paper proposes an improved GA algorithm to optimize the weight and threshold of BP neural network, namely PSO-GA-BP neural network prediction model.

Design/methodology/approach

The objective parameters of underwear, body shape data, skin deformation and other data are selected for simulation experiments to predict the objective pressure and subjective evaluation in dynamic and static state. Compared with the prediction results of BP neural network prediction model, GA-BP neural network prediction model and PSO-BP neural network prediction model, the performance of each prediction model is verified.

Findings

The results show that the BP neural network model optimized by PSO-GA algorithm can accelerate the convergence speed of the neural network and improve the prediction accuracy of underwear pressure.

Originality/value

PSO-GA-BP model provides data support for underwear design, production and processing and has guiding significance for consumers to choose underwear.

Details

International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-6222

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 June 2019

Shitan Wang, Xiuhua Wang and Yunyi Wang

The purpose of this paper is to determine the effects of clothing ease and body postures on the size and distribution of the air gap as well as the body coverage with the clothing.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the effects of clothing ease and body postures on the size and distribution of the air gap as well as the body coverage with the clothing.

Design/methodology/approach

Visual and quantitative analyses were conducted using a 3D body scanner and Geomagic Software. The air gap size and clothing area factor (fcl) in three test coverall and seven selected postures were calculated and compared.

Findings

The results indicated that both the clothing ease and body postures had a strong effect on the air gap and clothing coverage, especially the more complex the postures, the wider the range of influence. Nevertheless, these effects varied over body regions, being stronger at the lower body than the upper body. The air gap size at the left side of the body was generally larger than the right side. It was also found that the clothing coverage was linearly correlated with the air gap size and could be employed as an indicator to evaluate clothing protective capabilities.

Practical implications

The findings suggested that greater attention should be paid to the protection and flexibility at the lower body and asymmetrical distribution of the air gap should be considered in the future air gap modeling.

Originality/value

The outcomes provided useful information to improve the protective clothing and develop more realistic air gap models to simulate the heat and mass transfer.

Details

International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-6222

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2015

H.O. Adeyemi, S.B. Adejuyigbe, S.O. Ismaila and A.F. Adekoya

The purpose of this paper is to develop an expert system capable of assessing risk associated with manual lifting in construction tasks and proffer some first aid advices…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop an expert system capable of assessing risk associated with manual lifting in construction tasks and proffer some first aid advices which are comparable with those obtainable from human experts.

Design/methodology/approach

The expert system, musculoskeletal disorders – risk evaluation expert system (MSDs-REES), used Microsoft.Net C# programming language to write the algorithm of the fuzzy inference system with variables load, posture and frequency of lift as inputs and risk of low back pain as the output. The algorithm of the inference engine applied sets of rules to generate the output variable in crisp value.

Findings

The result of validation, between the human experts’ calculated risk values and MSDs-REES-predicted risk values, indicated a correlation coefficient of 0.87. Between the predicted risk values generated using MSDs-REES and the existing package (MATLAB version 7.8), there was a strong positive relationship statistically with correlation coefficient of 0.97.

Originality/value

The study provided a very simple expert system which has the ability to provide some medical-related injury prevention advice and first aid information for injury management, giving it a unique attribute over the existing applications.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2019

Varun Katoch and Sanjay Mohan

The purpose of this paper is to identify the musculoskeletal problems faced by the workers carrying out head lifting at the construction sites and to present a solution…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the musculoskeletal problems faced by the workers carrying out head lifting at the construction sites and to present a solution for the identified problems.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology of the paper is framed in two phases. First, the identification of the problems faced by workers through interviews/questionnaire and second, designing and fabricating a mechanical system to safe guard workers against musculoskeletal disorders.

Findings

Based upon the interviews and questionnaires, it was ascertained that majority of the workers were subjected to neck pain and low back pain. This was mainly attributed to the lifting of heavy loads on head, sudden and jerky movements and bad postures.

Research limitations/implications

The developed frame has been appreciated by the Physiotherapists also; however, it still has certain limitations which can be taken as a future scope for the further modification of the frame. The limitations are as follows: the weight of the frame is a limitation, as the worker has to bear this load in addition to the load which is to be lifted. However, this can be dealt with by replacing the material of the frame with lightweight materials such as aluminium alloys, carbon fibres, etc. The continuous wearing of the frame may result in discomfort, as the worker cannot freely roam around. Sweating and etching due to wearing of belt. Worker cannot place the load him/herself on the frame. Stability issues in lifting liquids overhead.

Practical implications

Findings revealed the bleak possibility of replacing head loading. However, there is an urgent need of developing a cost-effective system which could help workers while carrying out head lifting of loads.

Originality/value

This work presents an ergonomically designed mechanical frame which will help workers in carrying out head loading without effecting their skull, spine, etc. The system was tested on workers and the results were alarming and the working capacity of the workers was observed to increase with the fabricated frame.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology , vol. 17 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1996

Narinder Nayer

Notes the tendency to ignore ergonomics during the process of workplace design. Features Deneb/ERGO, a 3D graphic simulation and ergonomic analysis tool to meet this need…

Abstract

Notes the tendency to ignore ergonomics during the process of workplace design. Features Deneb/ERGO, a 3D graphic simulation and ergonomic analysis tool to meet this need. Focuses on the various uses of Deneb/ERGO in areas such as man/machine interaction and safe lifting techniques. Notes that Deneb/ERGO can be used to aid in the design of workplaces for a range of workers.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 October 2018

Meral Isler, Mehmet Küçük and Mücella Guner

The purpose of this paper is to comparatively examine the personnel working in the clothing sector by examining them in three different methods in order to determine the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to comparatively examine the personnel working in the clothing sector by examining them in three different methods in order to determine the working postures, identification of the stress factors of musculoskeletal system and the exposures depending on the working postures. Methods used in the study, REBA (Hignett and McAtamney, 2000), Ovako Working Posture Analyzing System (OWAS) (Karhu et al., 1977) and PLIBEL (Kemmlert, 1995) are the scientific observation-based methods. Within the scope of this study, the working stations and the working postures of the operators who work in the clothing sector were examined and their movements that could cause harm to the body were examined and in conclusion some suggestions were suggested to prevent these movements.

Design/methodology/approach

Due to the standard unit of times in clothing sector are short and the work done is very repetitive, 30 min recording was thought as enough for each operator examined. These recorded videos were then divided into 30 s photographs to obtain the poses of the operators’ working postures. In the scope of the research, first, the PLIBEL observation form was filled as the PLIBEL method is more general one. According to the working postures, the body regions which are damaged or can be damaged were identified and the PLIBEL form was filled in the consideration of the risk factors in the form (Malchaire 2011). In addition, the photographs were also analyzed with REBA and OWAS methods for having more quantitative and detailed results.

Findings

The working postures of the operators who work in the cutting, sewing, ironing, quality control and packaging departments of six clothing companies were examined in the scope of this research with PLIBEL, REBA and OWAS methods in terms of ergonomy. The results belonging to each department were given separately. REBA and OWAS methods have been applied in order to investigate the working postures in more detail due to the lack of providing numerical data of the PLIBEL method. The reliability of the study has been approved with obtaining the similar results from the REBA and OWAS methods. According to Table VIII, both of the methods show that all the departments in question need ergonomic arrangements. It was analyzed that the cutting department is in the first place which needs ergonomic arrangement immediately (REBA %90.58, OWAS %87.69).

Practical implications

This study is composed of 65 operators who have experience between 5 and 22 years and in the age range of 22–43 working in the cutting, sewing, ironing, quality control and packaging departments in eight different clothing companies. These 65 operators were recorded by video camera during their work. The recording time were selected randomly. The movements of operators during their own work have been taken into consideration.

Originality/value

This paper indicates the usability of the PLIBEL, OWAS and REBA methods in clothing sector. Using these methods in clothing sectors states the value and the originality of this paper.

Details

International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, vol. 30 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-6222

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2021

Ran-i Eom and Yejin Lee

The use of shoulder protectors is strongly recommended when carrying objects on the shoulder to ensure the health and safety of workers. Thus, this study aimed to develop…

Abstract

Purpose

The use of shoulder protectors is strongly recommended when carrying objects on the shoulder to ensure the health and safety of workers. Thus, this study aimed to develop and verify an ergonomic shoulder protector that considers human body shape and carrying posture from an ergonomic perspective. Ultimately, this study will present a shoulder protector with enhanced fit and safety for carrying workers at construction sites.

Design/methodology/approach

The shoulder protector was designed and printed using three-dimensional printing technology with variable side neck points and shoulder point heights to reflect the human body's shoulder line shape and to position the carried object stably on the shoulder. The developed shoulder protectors were evaluated in terms of their fit according to the work posture of the carrier, adherence upon motion and durability through structural analysis.

Findings

The design of the shoulder protector for carrying workers followed the shoulder line. It is best placed above the side neck point by 1.0 cm and above the shoulder point by 2.0 cm. Its length is slightly shorter than the human shoulder for superior fit and safety.

Originality/value

The final shoulder protector (FSP) for carrying workers reflects the body curvature while enhancing fit and safety by considering activity and protective factors. As functional studies and evaluations on the need for protectors are scarce, this study provides fundamental data in the evaluation of protective gears.

Details

International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-6222

Keywords

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