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Automated Ergonomics Monitoring of Construction Sites

Construction work is physically demanding and often leads to work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMDSs) if not properly cared for. Several factors come into play when considering WMSDS; this includes but not limited to weight of material being handled, tools being used, working hours, body postures, etc. WMSDs do not necessarily happen at blue collar jobs but may even happen when sitting at a desk where neck, shoulder and back issues may occur.

What is automated ergonomics monitoring?

Automated ergonomics monitoring is simply a process of using various electronic devices to observe the ergonomics of a workplace. The devices may include CCTV cameras and sensors placed at various locations of the body. The data from all the devices is fed into a computer which analyses it against set parameters and then defines ergonomic adequateness of the workplace.

Problem severity and difficulties

The leading cause of WMSDs is handling heavy loads, working in poor postures and performing repeated tasks. WMSDs may include acute-strain/sprains, Chronic Bursitis, Tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, etc. WMSDs account for great loss of workforce and puts up a considerable damage to the economy.

Complexities surround ergonomic studies due to expensive equipment and difficulties in implementing them on a wider scale. Studies have also noted that different anthropometrics among different ethnic groups may significantly affect the results of these studies. This leads to the requirement of having a tailored ergonomic design.

Potential Project Formulisation

A project can be formulised which can analyse specific ergonomic situations for WMSDs using CCTV monitoring, Rapid Upper Limb Assessment, Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire, Harpenden Anthropometer and various body sensors. The electronic data can then be fed into a computer system and compared against set parameters.

The automated WMSD control system can be laid in a 3 tier approach; involving alpha, beta and final phases. Alpha testing will be in-house testing where data gathering and validation will be done. Beta and final phase will be done at actual construction sites. Each of these phases will involve different construction environments and people belonging from different ethnic backgrounds.

In Summary

An automated ergonomics monitoring system will enable real time monitoring of workplace which will be able to minimise or eradicate risks of having WMSDs. The problem of WMSDs is rising and leads to loss of workforce and puts a great burden on the economy. Automated ergonomic program should be integrated with safety program of an organisation to have an effective implementation.

Note: Bespoke Engineering Solutions encourages research and development. And, it engages with key experts from different organisations and academic institutions.


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