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Task content and physical ergonomic risk factors in construction ironwork.

Forde MS; Buchholz B
Int J Ind Ergon 2004 Oct; 34(4):319-333
Construction ironwork (CI) has been identified as a trade wherein the exposures to ergonomic risk factors are high. In this study, quantitative exposure assessments for seven specific ironwork tasks selected from the four main specialties of CI - machinery moving/rigging, ornamental, reinforcing, structural - were performed. A total of 13,821 observations were made using the work-sampling, specialty-task-activity-based analysis method called PATH (posture, activity, tools, and handling) and a taxonomy developed specifically for CI. The PATH data provided specialty-task-activity estimates of the percentage of time ironworkers spent in specified postures of the trunk, arms, and legs, and also gave estimated frequencies of manual materials handling activities as well as 11 other predefined activities. Depending on the specialty-task-activity performed, results showed that ironworkers spent anywhere from 13% to 48% of their work time in non-neutral trunk postures; worked with one or both arms at or above shoulder level 6-21% of the time; and stood on uneven/unstable work surfaces 3-53% of the time. The type of activity performed was consistently found to be a major predictor of the frequency of work time spent in non-neutral postures for the trunk, legs, and arms. Relevance to industry: These results can be used to target hazardous activities in CI such as rebar and structural ironwork and confirms the need for specialty-task-activity-specific information within each construction trade on exposures and worker activities so that the most appropriate ergonomic interventions can be designed and implemented.
Construction; Construction-equipment; Construction-industry; Construction-materials; Construction-workers; Iron-industry; Iron-workers; Iron-working-industry; Ergonomics; Task-performance; Physical-stress; Exposure-assessment; Quantitative-analysis; Job-analysis; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Posture; Tools; Materials-handling; Manual-materials-handling; Control-technology; Human-factors-engineering; Author Keywords: Ironwork; Construction ironwork; Exposure assessment; Ergonomic risk factors
Martin S Forde, Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, St. George's University, P.O. Box 7, St. George's, Grenada, West Indies
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Construction
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Source Name
International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
Performing Organization
Center to Protect Workers' Rights
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division