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Article
Publication date: 15 September 2020

Maxwell Fordjour Antwi-Afari, Heng Li, JoonOh Seo, Shahnawaz Anwer, Sitsofe Kwame Yevu and Zezhou Wu

Construction workers are frequently exposed to safety hazards on sites. Wearable sensing systems (e.g. wearable inertial measurement units (WIMUs), wearable insole…

Abstract

Purpose

Construction workers are frequently exposed to safety hazards on sites. Wearable sensing systems (e.g. wearable inertial measurement units (WIMUs), wearable insole pressure system (WIPS)) have been used to collect workers' gait patterns for distinguishing safety hazards. However, the performance of measuring WIPS-based gait parameters for identifying safety hazards as compared to a reference system (i.e. WIMUs) has not been studied. Therefore, this study examined the validity and reliability of measuring WIPS-based gait parameters as compared to WIMU-based gait parameters for distinguishing safety hazards in construction.

Design/methodology/approach

Five fall-risk events were conducted in a laboratory setting, and the performance of the proposed approach was assessed by calculating the mean difference (MD), mean absolute error (MAE), mean absolute percentage error (MAPE), root mean square error (RMSE) and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of five gait parameters.

Findings

Comparable results of MD, MAE, MAPE and RMSE were found between WIPS-based gait parameters and the reference system. Furthermore, all measured gait parameters had validity (ICC = 0.751) and test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.910) closer to 1, indicating a good performance of measuring WIPS-based gait parameters for distinguishing safety hazards.

Research limitations/implications

Overall, this study supports the relevance of developing a WIPS as a noninvasive wearable sensing system for identifying safety hazards on construction sites, thus highlighting the usefulness of its applications for construction safety research.

Originality/value

This is the first study to examine the performance of a wearable insole pressure system for identifying safety hazards in construction.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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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: 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

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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…

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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

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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

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2018

De-Graft Owusu-Manu, David John Edwards, Erika Anneli Pärn, Maxwell Fordjour Antwi-Afari and Clinton Aigbavboa

This research aims to investigate and identify knowledge transfer (KT) enablers within the developing country of Ghana. These enablers act as mechanisms to stimulate…

Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to investigate and identify knowledge transfer (KT) enablers within the developing country of Ghana. These enablers act as mechanisms to stimulate knowledge creation, knowledge protection and build effective knowledge-sharing (KS) behaviour in construction companies – consequently, they are crucial to business survival in a globally competitive market.

Design/methodology/approach

A perception questionnaire survey was used to elicit responses from construction practitioners using purposive and snowballing non-probability sampling techniques. Summary statistical analysis and a chi-square test was used to uncover relationships between the independent and dependent variables.

Findings

An empirical examination of data collected indicated that knowledge strategy, organizational culture, information technology and knowledge leadership as knowledge enablers have a significant positive relationship with KT. Future research is however required to measure transfer within an organization vis-à-vis measure perception of such.

Originality/value

The work presents a rare glimpse of the relationship between knowledge enablers and KT (particularly in a developing country context) and as such provides utility to policymakers and construction firms to enhance their knowledge capabilities.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

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Article
Publication date: 21 December 2021

Ibrahim Yahaya Wuni, Geoffrey Qiping Shen and Maxwell Fordjour Antwi-Afari

Modular integrated construction (MiC) is considered as a process innovation to improve the performance of construction projects. However, effective delivery of MiC…

Abstract

Purpose

Modular integrated construction (MiC) is considered as a process innovation to improve the performance of construction projects. However, effective delivery of MiC projects requires management of risks and uncertainties throughout its delivery chain. Although the design stage of MiC projects is usually managed with limited knowledge based on highly uncertain data and associated with epistemic uncertainties, MiC design risks have not received adequate research attention relative to other stages. The purpose of this paper is to conduct a knowledge-based evaluation and ranking of the design risk factors (DRFs) for MiC projects.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviewed the relevant literature to identify potential DRFs and validated their relevance through pilot expert review. The paper then used questionnaires to gather data from international MiC experts from 18 countries and statistically analyzed the data set.

Findings

Analysis results showed that the five most significant DRFs for MiC projects include unsuitability of design for the MiC method; late involvement of suppliers, fabricators and contractors; inaccurate information, defective design and change order; design information gap between the designer and fabricator; and lack of bespoke MiC design codes and guidelines. A correlation analysis showed that majority of the DRFs have statistically significant positive relationships and could inform practitioners on the dynamic links between the DRFs.

Practical implications

The paper provides useful insight and knowledge to MiC practitioners and researchers on the risk factors that could compromise the success of MiC project designs and may inform design risk management. The dynamic linkages among the DRFs instruct the need to adopt a system-thinking philosophy in MiC project design.

Originality/value

This paper presents the first study that specifically evaluates and prioritizes the risk events at the design stage of MiC projects. It sets forth recommendations for addressing the identified DRFs for MiC projects.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

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