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Use of visual cues in reducing the risk of fall during work at elevated and/or inclined surfaces.

Bagchee-A; Bhattacharya-A; Succop-P; Medvedovic-M
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 19-23, 1997, Dallas, Texas. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 1997 May; :71
As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls from elevated and/or inclined surfaces at construction sites are one of the major causes of fatality and injury. Visual input received by the worker at inclination/elevation is modified, adding to the increased burden on the postural balance. This study was designed to use strategically placed visual cues in the visual field of the subject to reduce the risk of fall by minimizing the postural imbalance. Ten subjects (age=38.55 + /-9.2 years) participated in this study. A combination of two elevations (0 inches and 24 inches), two inclinations (0 degrees and 26 degrees), and seven visual cue arrangements were used. The subjects performed two tasks of 30-second duration: stationary (quiet stance) and reach (reaching forward/downward to retrieve a 5.5 lb. weight from knee level). The subjects stood on a combination platform (with proper elevation and/or inclination) placed on a force plate. The enclosure walls were fitted with a combination of vertically and/or horizontally placed phosphorescent strips as visual cues. Length of the CP travel obtained from the force plate (sway length, SL) presents an indirect measure of the body's postural stability. Higher SL may be associated with greater effort in maintenance of balance. A repeated measures analysis indicated that SL increased significantly with increasing elevation and incline (p<0.05). Addition of visual cues significantly lowered the SL in static tasks (p<0.05). The increase in the SL with elevation was minimum for both tasks when using a visual cue involving a vertical line and a horizontal line forming an inverted T, directly in front of the subject. Results from this study would be useful in designing intervention in the workplace in the form of carefully placed visual cues that would reduce the postural imbalance in workers at elevated/inclined surfaces, thus reducing the risk of fall.
Injuries; Injury-prevention; Accidents; Accident-prevention; Posture; Humans; Visual-perception; Visual-fields
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 19-23, 1997, Dallas, Texas