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Physical ergonomic hazards in highway tunnel construction: overview from the Construction Occupational Health Program.
Tak-S; Buchholz-B; Punnett-L; Moir-S; Paquet-V; Fulmer-S; Marucci-Wellman-H; Wegman-D
Appl Ergon 2011 Jul; 42(5):665-671
This report provides an overview of physical ergonomic exposures in highway construction work across trades and major operations. For each operation, the observational method "PATH" (Posture, Activity, Tools and Handling) was used to estimate the percentage of time that workers spent in specific tasks and with exposure to awkward postures and load handling. The observations were carried out on 73 different days, typically for about 4 h per day, covering 120 construction workers in 5 different trades: laborers, carpenters, ironworkers, plasterers, and tilers. Non-neutral trunk postures (forward or sideways flexion or twisting) were frequently observed, representing over 40% of observations for all trades except laborers (28%). Kneeling and squatting were common in all operations, especially tiling and underground utility relocation work. Handling loads was frequent, especially for plasterers and tilers, with a range of load weights but most often under 15 pounds. The results of this study provide quantitative evidence that workers in highway tunnel construction operations are exposed to ergonomic factors known to present significant health hazards. Numerous opportunities exist for the development and implementation of ergonomic interventions to protect the health and safety of construction workers.
Construction; Construction-workers; Ergonomics; Job-analysis; Task-performance; Posture; Physical-capacity; Tools; Materials-handling; Exposure-assessment; Work-intervals; Biomechanics; Quantitative-analysis; Tunnel-workers; Tunneling; Human-factors-engineering; Health-hazards; Author Keywords: PATH; Trade; Operation; Postural load; Highway tunnel construction
SangWoo Tak, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, R-17, Cincinnati OH 45226, USA
Cooperative Agreement; Construction
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U02-CCU-308771; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U02-CCU-312014; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-317202
Issue of Publication
DC; OH; MA; NY
The Center to Protect Workers' Rights
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division