Musculoskeletal disorders in construction: a review and a novel system for activity tracking with body area network

Enrique Valero, Aparajithan Sivanathan, Frederic Bosche, Mohamed Abdel-Wahab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Human body motions have been analysed for decades with a view on enhancing occupational well-being and performance of workers. On-going progresses in miniaturised wearable sensors are set to revolutionise biomechanical analysis by providing accurate and real-time quantitative motion data. The construction industry has a poor record of occupational health, in particular with regard to work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). In this article, we therefore focus on the study of human body motions that could cause WMSDs in construction-related activities. We first present an in-depth review of existing assessment frameworks used in practice for the evaluation of human body motion. Subsequently different methods for measuring working postures and motions are reviewed and compared, pointing out the technological developments, limitations and gaps; Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) are particularly investigated. Finally, we introduce a new system to detect and characterise unsafe postures of construction workers based on the measurement of motion data from wearable wireless IMUs integrated in a body area network. The potential of this system is demonstrated through experiments conducts in a laboratory as well as in a college with actual construction trade trainees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-130
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Volume54
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Units of measurement
Human Body
Construction Industry
Construction industry
Posture
worker
construction industry
technical development
Health
trainee
well-being
Occupational Health
cause
experiment
health
Experiments
evaluation
performance
Wearable sensors

Keywords

  • WMSDs
  • construction
  • health
  • well-being
  • biomechanics
  • inertial measurement unit

Cite this

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title = "Musculoskeletal disorders in construction: a review and a novel system for activity tracking with body area network",
abstract = "Human body motions have been analysed for decades with a view on enhancing occupational well-being and performance of workers. On-going progresses in miniaturised wearable sensors are set to revolutionise biomechanical analysis by providing accurate and real-time quantitative motion data. The construction industry has a poor record of occupational health, in particular with regard to work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). In this article, we therefore focus on the study of human body motions that could cause WMSDs in construction-related activities. We first present an in-depth review of existing assessment frameworks used in practice for the evaluation of human body motion. Subsequently different methods for measuring working postures and motions are reviewed and compared, pointing out the technological developments, limitations and gaps; Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) are particularly investigated. Finally, we introduce a new system to detect and characterise unsafe postures of construction workers based on the measurement of motion data from wearable wireless IMUs integrated in a body area network. The potential of this system is demonstrated through experiments conducts in a laboratory as well as in a college with actual construction trade trainees.",
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Musculoskeletal disorders in construction : a review and a novel system for activity tracking with body area network. / Valero, Enrique; Sivanathan, Aparajithan; Bosche, Frederic; Abdel-Wahab, Mohamed.

In: Applied Ergonomics, Vol. 54, 30.12.2015, p. 120-130.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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