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Low back injury risks during construction with prefabricated (panelised) walls: effects of task and design factors.
Kim S; Nussbaum MA; Jia B
Ergonomics 2011 Jan; 54(1):60-71
New technology designed to increase productivity in residential construction may exacerbate the risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) among residential construction workers. Of interest here are panelised (prefabricated) wall systems (or panels) and facilitating an ongoing effort to provide proactive control of ergonomic exposures and risks among workers using panels. This study, which included 24 participants, estimated WMSD risks using five methods during common panel erection tasks and the influences of panel mass (sheathed vs. unsheathed) and size (wall length). WMSD risks were fairly high overall; e.g. 34% and 77% of trials exceeded the 'action limits' for spinal compressive and shear forces, respectively. Heavier (sheathed) panels significantly increased risks, although the magnitude of this effect differed with panel size and between tasks. Higher levels of risk were found in tasks originating from ground vs. knuckle height. Several practical recommendations based on the results are discussed. STATEMENT OF RELEVANCE: Panelised wall systems have the potential to increase productivity in residential construction, but may result in increased worker injury risks. Results from this study can be used to generate future panel design and construction processes that can proactively address WMSD risks.
Biodynamics; Biomechanics; Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Ergonomics; Exposure-assessment; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Muscle-physiology; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Physiological-factors; Physiological-stress; Posture; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Safety-practices; Statistical-analysis; Work-environment; Worker-motivation; Work-performance; Workplace-studies; Work-practices; Author Keywords: ergonomics; prevention through design; residential construction; risk assessment
Maury A. Nussbaum, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, 250 Durham Hall (0118), Blacksburg, VA 24061
Issue of Publication
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Page last reviewed: May 8, 2020Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division