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Visual reference effect on balance control in roof work.

Simeonov PI; Hsiao H
NOIRS 2000--Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA, October 17-19, 2000. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2000 Oct; :26
Falls from roofs are the leading cause of fatal fall injuries in the construction industry. From a biomechanical and psychophysiological standpoint the majority of occupational fall incidents, including falls from roofs, can be attributed to deterioration and disruptions in worker's balance control. Identifying the critical factors that could deteriorate the control of balance during roof work can help to develop effective fall-prevention strategies. In a laboratory study we investigated the effects of height and close visual references on workers' postural stability and their interaction effects with roof slope, and roof surface firmness. Workers performed standing tasks on inclined [(00), 4/12 (approximately 180), 6/12 (approximately 260), 8/12 (approximately 340)] and compliant surfaces at height (0', 10', 30') with close visual structures included or excluded from their peripheral visual field. Workers' standing balance was determined from the movement of their center of pressure (CP) measured by a force platform. The results from 10 subjects demonstrate that visual exposure to environments without close visual references significantly increased worker body sway parameters (velocity of sway, area of sway, RMS of ML and AP sway). These effects were compounded by surface firmness (i.e., unstable support), workplace height, and surface slope. Close visual references significantly reduced sway and restored some of the sway characteristics (AP sway and sway area) to their baseline values. These data can assist the roofing industry in modifying the roof work environment for improving workers' posture stability. The results of this study may also be used to develop a methodology for roofers' safety training with focus on the role of visual factors.
Accident rates; Accident statistics; Accidents; Accident prevention; Injuries; Traumatic injuries; Injury prevention; Surveillance programs; Statistical analysis; Epidemiology; Roofers; Roofing and sheet metal work; Roofing industry; Construction workers; Construction industry
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NOIRS 2000 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA., October 17-19, 2000
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division