In the Headlines
The following is a brief introduction to:
Eaves, S., D. E. Gyi, and A. G. F. Gibb. "Building Healthy Construction Workers: Their Views on Health, Wellbeing and Better Workplace Design." Applied Ergonomics 54 (2016): 10-18.
The purpose of the article was to report on good working practices and behaviors that were encountered on construction sites and describe ideas for workplace design given from actual workers. The article framed these issues in the context of an aging workforce but portions of the paper covered aspects of construction that is important beyond the age of the worker. Information regarding musculoskeletal symptoms in construction workers is also included.
The authors wanted to view the research from a participatory ergonomics approach. Interviews were used to collect data from workers in the study. The study found that construction workers had a high occurrence of musculoskeletal symptoms. Many of the participants of the study held the thought that these occurrences were an effect of the construction work. Even though participants reported higher numbers of symptoms, they also reported that they felt that it did not affect their ability to work. The age of the worker did not affect this finding. Although I found it interesting that knees were the only part of the body that showed a significant difference in the reporting of symptoms with respect to time in the construction industry.
Over 250 ideas related to the health and well-being of workers were mentioned and some are already being used on job sites. Participants also reported an effort to live healthy lifestyles and stay fit. This was seen as an effort to be involved in the outcome of their ability to work for as long as possible. The authors noted the worker's use of non-mainstream PPE. It would be interesting to see a study addressing the effect of adapting PPE or using non-mainstream PPE on the overall safety of construction workers.
The full article can be found here.