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The benefits of an additional worker are task-dependent: assessing low-back injury risks during prefabricated (panelized) wall construction.
Kim S; Nussbaum MA; Jia B
Appl Ergon 2012 Sep; 43(5):843-849
Team manual material handling is a common practice in residential construction where prefabricated building components (e.g., wall panels) are increasingly used. As part of a larger effort to enable proactive control of ergonomic exposures among workers handling panels, this study explored the effects of additional workers on injury risks during team-based panel erection tasks, specifically by quantifying how injury risks are affected by increasing the number of workers (by one, above the nominal or most common number). Twenty-four participants completed panel erection tasks with and without an additional worker under different panel mass and size conditions. Four risk assessment methods were employed that emphasized the low back. Though including an additional worker generally reduced injury risk across several panel masses and sizes, the magnitude of these benefits varied depending on the specific task and exhibited somewhat high variability within a given task. These results suggest that a simple, generalizable recommendation regarding team-based panel erection tasks is not warranted. Rather, a more systems-level approach accounting for both injury risk and productivity (a strength of panelized wall systems) should be undertaken.
Manual-materials-handling; Construction; Construction-materials; Humans; Men; Age-groups; Ergonomics; Injuries; Risk-factors; Workers; Back-injuries; Task-performance; Analytical-processes; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Author Keywords: Team lifting; Risk assessment; Prevention through design; Biomechanics
Maury A. Nussbaum, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, 250 Durham Hall (0118), Blacksburg, VA 24061
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U19-OH-008308; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-009761; B20121218A
Issue of Publication
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Page last reviewed: March 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division