Control and perception of balance at elevated and sloped surfaces.
Simeonov-PI; Hsiao-H; Dotson-BW; Ammons-DE
Hum Factors 2003 Spring; 45(1):136-147
Understanding roof-work-related risk of falls and developing low-cost, practical engineering controls for reducing this risk remain in high demand in the construction industry. This study investigated the effects of the roof work environment characteristics of surface slope, height, and visual reference on standing balance in construction workers. The 24 participants were tested in a laboratory setting at 4 slopes (0 degrees, 18 degrees,26 degrees, and 34 degrees), 2 heights (0, 3 m), and 2 visual conditions (with and without visual references). Postural sway characteristics were calculated using center of pressure recordings from a force platform. Workers' perceptions of postural sway and instability were also evaluated. The results indicated that slope and height synergistically increased workers' standing postural instability. Workers recognized the individual destabilizing effects of slope and height but did not recognize the synergistic effect of the two. Visual references significantly reduced the destabilizing effects of height and slope. Actual and potential applications of this research include the use of temporary level work surfaces and proximal vertical reference structures as postural instability control measures during roofing work.
Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Engineering-controls; Human-factors-engineering; Risk-factors; Roofers; Roofing-industry; Work-environment; Safety-engineering; Slope-stability; Walking-surfaces; Visual-perception; Height-factors
Peter I. Simeonov, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Safety Research, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505