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Knowledge and opinions of designers of industrialized wall panels regarding incorporating ergonomics in design.

Kim-S; Seol-H; Ikuma-LH; Nussbaum-MA
Int J Ind Ergon 2008 Feb; 38(2):150-157
As residential construction moves towards industrialized construction methods, ergonomic exposures of construction workers may increase due to heavier components and changes in construction activities. Ergonomic considerations early in the design stages are expected to have the most impact, provided that designers are aware of ergonomic risks and are willing to incorporate ergonomic principles into designs. To determine current knowledge and opinions regarding ergonomics in the context of one commonly used industrialized construction method (prefabricated wall panels), 12 panel designers completed a questionnaire, and seven of those designers participated in a semi-structured interview. Results showed that panel designers generally have little knowledge about the influence of panel designs on workers' ergonomic risks. Panel designers were neutral or slightly resistant to incorporating ergonomics into designs, due to perceptions of lack of responsibility and influence over workers' long-term health. Though the participants acknowledged the necessity of ergonomics in panel design, they were concerned with the possibilities of increased workload, costs, and decreased design flexibility. To advance the incorporation of ergonomics in panel design, panel designers need to recognize the potential ergonomic impact of their panel wall system designs. Current research represents an initial step in creating support tools for use in designing wall panel plans that decrease the risk of work-related injuries and illnesses in construction workers.
Construction; Construction-industry; Workers; Work-environment; Ergonomics; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Questionnaires; Humans; Men; Women; Injuries; Author Keywords: Residential construction; Construction safety; Design for safety; Panel wall construction
Maury A. Nussbaum, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering Virginia Tech 250 Durham Hall (0118) Blacksburg, VA 24061
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Journal Article
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Cooperative Agreement
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International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University