International Construction Specialty Conference of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (ICSC) (5th : 2015)

Sensor-based factorial experimental study on low back disorder risk factors among roofers Wang, Di; Hu, Boyi; Dai, Fei; Ning, Xiaopeng


Roofers have long suffered from low back disorders (LBDs), which is a primary non-fatal injury in construction. Until present, most of the research on roofing safety is mainly focused on fatal injury risks such as falls from height, leaving much to be desired in the risk assessment of non-fatal, cumulative musculoskeletal disorders among roofers. Ergonomics studies have identified several physical risk factors associated with LBDs in workplaces and applied selective ones to develop predictive models for general LBD risk assessments. However, these models cannot be used for roofing assessments in that they are designed for general tasks without considering different roofer working postures and the effect of working on uneven rooftops. To understand the relationship between the risk factors (i.e., slope angle, posture, facing direction, and working pace) and LBD incidence in roofing shingle installation, a factorial in-lab experiment is conducted with the aid of the Vicon camera system and Electromyography (EMG) sensors. The bending angles and muscle strengths in the low back, which are measured by the two sensor systems, are analyzed as facts that indicate the LBD risk. The proposed experiment finds out the risk factors with significant effect on the LBD injury and interaction between the studied factors. The findings may be used to study the detailed ergonomic safety guidelines for roofing contractors, which will be useful for eliminating LBD risk factors on the roofing sites.

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