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Human Factors and Ergonomics: Bridging the Gap between Research and Practice in Occupational Safety and Health

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2022) | Viewed by 42180

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Advanced Design and Systems Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Interests: safety and health; human factors and ergonomics; engineering management; industrial design
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue, namely “Human Factors and Ergonomics: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice in Occupational Safety and Health” in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, which is an international, cross-disciplinary, scholarly, peer-reviewed and open access journal. According to the International Labour Organization, approximately 640 workers suffer from occupational accidents and four workers die of an industrial accident or occupational disease in each minute worldwide. Various industries are facing different issues of occupational safety and health. Human Factors and Ergonomics is the scientific discipline to apply psychological and physiological principles to the engineering and design of products, processes, and systems. Human factors can also be applied to occupational safety and health. Thus, this Special Issue aims to provide new insights into occupational safety and health of various industries from the perspectives of Human Factors. This Special Issue is expected to benefit the concerned authorities and stakeholders in developing effective interventions for reducing industrial accidents and fatalities and protecting workers’ health and safety. 

This Special Issue publishes high-quality and peer-reviewed papers with a broad scope, including but not limited to aging workforce, artificial intelligence, behavioral science, biomechanics, exoskeletons, human factors and and ergonomics, human-machine interaction, neuroergonomics, and risk perception. The papers of any subject areas related to occupational safety and health are also welcome. The listed keywords suggest just a few of the many possibilities. Please consult the editor for further information. 

Dr. Alan H. S. Chan
Dr. Siu Shing Man
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • aging workforce
  • artificial intelligence
  • behavioral science
  • biomechanics
  • exoskeletons
  • human factors and ergonomics
  • human-machine interaction
  • neuroergonomics
  • risk perception
  • safety and health

Published Papers (18 papers)

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12 pages, 361 KiB  
Article
Prevalence and Associated Factors of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders Symptoms among Construction Workers: A Cross-Sectional Study in South China
by Yu-Chi Lee, Xinye Hong and Siu Shing Man
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(5), 4653; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20054653 - 6 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2810
Abstract
Statistics showed that work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are the leading cause of productivity loss in the construction industry. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of WMSDs and associated factors among construction workers. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 380 construction workers in [...] Read more.
Statistics showed that work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are the leading cause of productivity loss in the construction industry. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of WMSDs and associated factors among construction workers. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 380 construction workers in Guangdong Province, China. A demographic, work-related survey and the Nordic musculoskeletal questionnaire were used to collect the workers’ data. Descriptive statists and logistic regression were used for the data analysis. The results showed that the overall prevalence of WMSDs symptoms among the participants in any body region during the last 12 months was 57.9%. Neck (24.7%), shoulder (22.1%), upper back (13.4%), and lower back (12.6%) showed the highest prevalence of WMSDs. Age, exercise, work experience, work position, and level of fatigue after work were significantly associated with the prevalence of WMSDs symptoms in different body regions. The findings of this study showed that the prevalence of WMSDs symptoms among construction workers in south China is still high and is associated with different body areas compared to previous studies. The prevalence of WMSDs and risk-associated factors vary by country and region. This indicates that further local investigations are needed to propose specific solutions to improve the occupational health of construction workers. Full article
14 pages, 2949 KiB  
Article
Time Pressure Affects the Risk Preference and Outcome Evaluation
by Chiuhsiang Joe Lin and Huiqiao Jia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(4), 3205; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043205 - 11 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2331
Abstract
It is ubiquitous that food delivery riders do not have unlimited periods of time for deliberation to make decisions. Time pressure plays a significant role in decision-making processes. This study investigated how time pressure affected risk preference and outcome evaluation through behavioral and [...] Read more.
It is ubiquitous that food delivery riders do not have unlimited periods of time for deliberation to make decisions. Time pressure plays a significant role in decision-making processes. This study investigated how time pressure affected risk preference and outcome evaluation through behavioral and electrophysiological responses during decision-making. Participants finished a simple gambling task under three different time constraint conditions (high/medium/low). Behavioral and event-related potentials (ERPs) data were recorded during the experiment. The results showed that the decision time of people was shorter under high time pressure than under medium and low time pressures. People tend to make more risky choices when under high time pressure. The feedback-related negativity (FRN) amplitude was smaller in the high time pressure than in medium and low time pressure conditions. These findings provided evidence that time pressure has an impact on the risk decision-making process. Full article
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12 pages, 572 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of a Passive Upper Limb Exoskeleton in Healthcare Workers during a Surgical Instrument Cleaning Task
by Bastien Arnoux, Anaïs Farr, Vincent Boccara and Nicolas Vignais
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(4), 3153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043153 - 10 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2093
Abstract
(1) Background: Healthcare workers are highly affected by work-related musculoskeletal disorders, particularly in the lower back, neck and shoulders, as their occupational tasks expose them to biomechanical constraints. One solution to prevent these musculoskeletal disorders may be the use of a passive exoskeleton [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Healthcare workers are highly affected by work-related musculoskeletal disorders, particularly in the lower back, neck and shoulders, as their occupational tasks expose them to biomechanical constraints. One solution to prevent these musculoskeletal disorders may be the use of a passive exoskeleton as it aims to reduce muscle solicitation. However, few studies have been carried out directly in this field to assess the impact of the use of a passive upper limb exoskeleton on this population. (2) Methods: Seven healthcare workers, equipped with electromyographic sensors, performed a tool cleaning task with and without a passive upper limb exoskeleton (Hapo MS, Ergosanté Technologie, France). Six muscles of the upper limbs were analysed, i.e., anterior deltoid, biceps brachii, pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, triceps brachii and longissimus thoracis. A subjective analysis of the usability of the equipment, the perception of effort and discomfort, was also carried out using the System Usability Scale and the Borg scale. (3) Results: The longissimus thoracis was the most used muscle during this task. We observed a significant decrease in the muscular solicitation of the anterior deltoid and latissimus dorsi when wearing the exoskeleton. Other muscles were not significantly impacted by the device. (4) Conclusions: the passive exoskeleton used in this study allowed the reduction in muscular load on the anterior deltoid and latissimus dorsi without negative effects on other muscles. Other field studies with exoskeletons are now necessary, particularly in hospitals, to increase our knowledge and improve the acceptability of this system for the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders. Full article
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24 pages, 406 KiB  
Article
Prediction of Work from Home and Musculoskeletal Discomfort: An Investigation of Ergonomic Factors in Work Arrangements and Home Workstation Setups Using the COVID-19 Experience
by Justine M. Y. Chim and Tien Li Chen
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(4), 3050; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043050 - 9 Feb 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2861
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for office workers to experience work from home (WFH). The aims of this study are to investigate the prevalence rate of musculoskeletal discomfort (MSD) and the work conditions of homeworkers during WFH as well as to evaluate [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for office workers to experience work from home (WFH). The aims of this study are to investigate the prevalence rate of musculoskeletal discomfort (MSD) and the work conditions of homeworkers during WFH as well as to evaluate the association and predicted risk of ergonomic factors and MSD. A total of 232 homeworkers completed questionnaires. Chi-square test and logistic regression were used to analyze the association and prediction of work arrangements and home workstation setups and musculoskeletal outcomes. The result showed that 61.2% of homeworkers reported MSD while WFH. Because of the small living spaces in Hong Kong, 51% and 24.6% of homeworkers worked in living/dining areas and bedrooms, respectively, potentially affecting their work and personal life. Additionally, homeworkers adopted a flexible work style, but prolonged computer use while WFH. Homeworkers who used a chair without a backrest or a sofa could predict a significantly higher risk of MSD. The use of a laptop monitor posed about a 2 to 3 times higher risk of suffering from neck, upper back, and lower back discomfort than the use of a desktop monitor. These results provide valuable information to help regulators, employers, homeworkers, and designers create better WFH guidelines, work arrangements, and home settings. Full article
15 pages, 1679 KiB  
Article
Comparative Ergonomic Study Examining the Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorder Symptoms of Taiwanese and Thai Workers in a Tape Manufacturing Factory
by Yi-Lang Chen and Wen-Hua Luo
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(4), 2958; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20042958 - 8 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2289
Abstract
This study surveyed 114 Taiwanese and 57 Thai workers in a tape manufacturing factory in Taiwan and evaluated their symptoms of work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) and associated risk factors by using the revised Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire. Task-appropriate biomechanical and body load assessment tools [...] Read more.
This study surveyed 114 Taiwanese and 57 Thai workers in a tape manufacturing factory in Taiwan and evaluated their symptoms of work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) and associated risk factors by using the revised Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire. Task-appropriate biomechanical and body load assessment tools were also employed to examine biomechanical and body load during four specified daily tasks. The results indicated that the prevalence of discomfort symptoms in any body part within one year was 81.6% for the Taiwanese workers and 72.3% for the Thai workers. The body part in which the Taiwanese workers most frequently experienced discomfort was the shoulders (57.0%), followed by the lower back (47.4%), the neck (43.9%), and the knees (36.8%); where the Thai workers most frequently experienced discomfort was the hands or wrists (42.1%), followed by the shoulders (36.8%) and the buttocks or thighs (31.6%). These locations of discomfort were associated with task characteristics. Heavy-material handling (>20 kg) more than 20 times per day was the most significant risk factor for WMSDs for both groups, and this task must thus be urgently improved. We also suggest that providing wrist braces for Thai workers may assist in alleviating their hand and wrist discomfort. The biomechanical assessment results indicated that the compression forces acting on the workers’ lower backs exceeded the Action Limit standard; administrative controls must thus be instituted for two heavy-material handling tasks. In the factory, some tasks and workers’ movements when completing these tasks must be assessed and improved immediately by using appropriate tools. Although the Thai workers were engaged in more physically demanding tasks, their WMSDs were milder than those of the Taiwanese workers. The results of the study can serve as references for the prevention and reduction of WMSDs in local and foreign workers in similar industries. Full article
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15 pages, 1470 KiB  
Article
Determining Work-Rest Schedules for Visual Tasks That Use Optical Head-Mounted Displays Based on Visual Fatigue and Visually Induced Motion Sickness Recovery
by Chih-Yu Hsiao, Chia-Chen Kuo, Yi-An Liou and Mao-Jiun Wang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 1880; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20031880 - 19 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1364
Abstract
This study aimed to determine work-rest schedules for visual tasks of different lengths by evaluating visual fatigue and visually induced motion sickness (VIMS) using an optical head-mounted display (OHMD). Thirty participants were recruited to perform 15 and 30 min visual tasks using an [...] Read more.
This study aimed to determine work-rest schedules for visual tasks of different lengths by evaluating visual fatigue and visually induced motion sickness (VIMS) using an optical head-mounted display (OHMD). Thirty participants were recruited to perform 15 and 30 min visual tasks using an OHMD. After completing each visual task, participants executed six levels of rest time. Critical flicker fusion frequency (CFF) values, relative electroencephalography indices, and Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ) scores were collected and analyzed. Results indicated that after completing the 15 and 30 min visual tasks, participants experienced visual fatigue and VIMS. There was no significant difference between baseline CFF values, four electroencephalography relative power index values, and SSQ scores when participants completed a 15 min visual task followed by a 20 min rest and a 30 min visual task followed by a 30 min rest. Based on our results, a 20 min rest for visual fatigue and VIMS recovery after a 15 min visual task on an OHMD and a 25 min rest for visual fatigue and VIMS recovery after a 30 min visual task on an OHMD are recommended. This study suggests a work-rest schedule for OHMDs that can be used as a reference for OHMD user guidelines to reduce visual fatigue and visually induced motion sickness. Full article
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14 pages, 1853 KiB  
Article
Fatigue and Recovery of Muscles for Pulling Tasks
by Cannan Yi, Huali Zuo, Caijun Zhao, Kai-Way Li, Hong Hu, Fan Tang and Tong Long
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(22), 15159; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192215159 - 17 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1452
Abstract
Manual materials handling (MMH) contributes to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace. The development and recovery of muscle fatigue are essential in work/rest arrangements for MMH tasks. A pulling experiment, including a muscle fatigue test and a muscle fatigue recovery test, was conducted. [...] Read more.
Manual materials handling (MMH) contributes to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace. The development and recovery of muscle fatigue are essential in work/rest arrangements for MMH tasks. A pulling experiment, including a muscle fatigue test and a muscle fatigue recovery test, was conducted. In the muscle fatigue test, the participant performed a pulling task on a treadmill with a walking velocity of 1 km/h until they could no longer do so. The load was either 30 or 45 kg. The maximum endurance time (MET) was recorded. The pull strength (PS) of the participant both before and after the pulling task was measured. The subjective ratings of muscle fatigue after the pulling task were recorded. In the muscle fatigue recovery test, the participant took a rest after performing the pulling task. The participants reported their subjective ratings of muscle fatigue on the CR-10 scale after taking a rest for a time period t, where t = 1, 2,…, 6 min. The PS of the participant was then measured again. It was found that the load significantly affected the MET for pulling tasks. The load was insignificant to the decrease of the PS, but was significant to the decrease rate (PS decrease per min) of the PS. The PS decrease rate for the 45 kg condition (30.8 ± 16.5 N/min) was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than that of the 30 kg condition (15.4 ± 5.5 N/min). The recovery time significantly affected the PS and CR-10. Two MET models were established to explore the development of muscle fatigue in pulling tasks. A PS model was constructed to describe the recovery of muscle force. A CR-10 model was proposed to show the subjective ratings of recovery. These models are beneficial for determining the work/rest allowance for pulling tasks. Full article
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18 pages, 1538 KiB  
Article
Cross-Regional Research in Demographic Impact on Safety Consciousness and Safety Citizenship Behavior of Construction Workers: A Comparative Study between Mainland China and Hong Kong
by Xiangcheng Meng and Alan H. S. Chan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12799; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912799 - 6 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1434
Abstract
The construction industry has rapidly developed with continuous prosperity in Hong Kong and Mainland China, although accidents still occur with unacceptable frequency and severity. For promoting the safety issue of workers in construction industry, safety citizenship behavior (SCB) and safety consciousness (SC) were [...] Read more.
The construction industry has rapidly developed with continuous prosperity in Hong Kong and Mainland China, although accidents still occur with unacceptable frequency and severity. For promoting the safety issue of workers in construction industry, safety citizenship behavior (SCB) and safety consciousness (SC) were considered two influential constructs and further studied with integration of sociodemographic theories by scholars. However, no study has compared the SC and SCB of construction workers in terms of the demographic influence between Mainland China and Hong Kong. To fill this research gap, this study investigated the territorial difference between these two regions by conducting a cross-sectional questionnaire survey with recruitment of 253 Mainland construction workers and 256 Hong Kong construction workers. Significant similarities and differences of SC and SCB performance were revealed in terms of the workers with different genders, education levels, weekly working hours, and ages. This study provides insights into the comparison of demographic influence on SC and SCB of construction workers between Hong Kong and Mainland China, which is unique as it can yield useful managerial knowledge relevant to the personal safety of targeted groups of construction workers with particular demographic characteristics in both regions and contribute the implementation of safety interventions in line with the specific distinction in the territorial aspect. Full article
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14 pages, 3518 KiB  
Article
ERP Study of Mine Management System Warning Interface under Fatigue
by Yuxin Bai, Jiang Shao, Ying Zhang, Lulu Chen, Xijie Zhao, Fangyuan Tian and Chengqi Xue
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12616; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912616 - 2 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2428
Abstract
Due to the large volume of monitoring data in mines, concentrating on and reviewing the data for a long period of time will easily cause fatigue. To study the influence of different visual codes of early-warning interfaces on the response of individuals who [...] Read more.
Due to the large volume of monitoring data in mines, concentrating on and reviewing the data for a long period of time will easily cause fatigue. To study the influence of different visual codes of early-warning interfaces on the response of individuals who are fatigued, the changes in the subjective fatigue and corresponding frequency waves are compared before and after a fatigue-inducing task, as well as using event-related potential to study the behavioral data and EEG signals of subjects who participated in an oddball task on an early-warning interface. The results showed that all 14 subjects became fatigued after the fatigue-inducing task, and the amplitude of P200 when text is used in a fatigued state was the largest, with the longest latency. The subjects showed a slower reaction time and a reduced accuracy rate, thus indicating that in designing a warning interface, when text rather than color is used as a visual code, the operating load will be larger, mental load is increased, and attention resources are consumed. The experimental results provide the basis for the design and evaluation of early-warning interfaces of mine management systems. Full article
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22 pages, 10961 KiB  
Article
Enhancing User Experience of Eye-Controlled Systems: Design Recommendations on the Optimal Size, Distance and Shape of Interactive Components from the Perspective of Peripheral Vision
by Yafeng Niu, Jingze Tian, Zijian Han, Mengyuan Qu, Mu Tong, Wenjun Yang and Chengqi Xue
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 10737; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191710737 - 29 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1697
Abstract
For special populations with motor impairments, eye-controlled interaction may be the only way for them to communicate with the outside world. Because of the dominance of vision in the motor mechanism, eye-controlled interaction has high usability and important research value. During eye-controlled interaction, [...] Read more.
For special populations with motor impairments, eye-controlled interaction may be the only way for them to communicate with the outside world. Because of the dominance of vision in the motor mechanism, eye-controlled interaction has high usability and important research value. During eye-controlled interaction, the visual channel needs to receive information from the graphical user interface (GUI) and transmit the user’s eye-controlled instructions, which overburdens the visual channel and reduces the efficiency of eye-controlled interaction. This study presents an ergonomic experiment to study how to design interactive GUI components in an eye-controlled user interface. The experiments were conducted based on the shape, size, and distance (from the object to the center of the screen) of the visual interactive components. The experiment comprised three parts: (1) the pre-experiment determined the evaluation index and selected the icon material; (2) the formal experiment was a three-factor within-subjects experiment, which included a search task using participants’ peripheral vision; and (3) after the experiment, subjective evaluations were conducted using a questionnaire. The results showed that the shape, size, and distance of the interactive object significantly affected the reaction time, and the size factor significantly affected the movement time of the eye-controlled interaction. Finally, combined with the results of the subjective evaluation, we concluded that the recommended sizes of the interactive components were 2.889°, 3.389°, and 3.889°, and the recommended distances were 5.966° and 8.609°. Additionally, designers should utilize components with simple concrete shapes as much as possible to improve user recognition efficiency. Our study provides enlightening recommendations on how to design components in eye-controlled interactive interfaces, and has great guiding significance for building design standards of the eye-controlled systems. Full article
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14 pages, 1316 KiB  
Article
Self-Reported Musculoskeletal Disorder Symptoms among Bus Drivers in the Taipei Metropolitan Area
by Yi-Lang Chen, Hans Alexander and Yi-Ming Hu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 10596; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191710596 - 25 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2276
Abstract
Bus driving is considered a highly stressful and unhealthy occupation, even among sedentary jobs, because of the particular task characteristics. This study used the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) to interview bus drivers and determine the risk factors for musculoskeletal discomfort. The NMQ was [...] Read more.
Bus driving is considered a highly stressful and unhealthy occupation, even among sedentary jobs, because of the particular task characteristics. This study used the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) to interview bus drivers and determine the risk factors for musculoskeletal discomfort. The NMQ was distributed to 152 bus drivers in the Taipei metropolitan area (Taiwan) and the valid data of 145 respondents were analyzed. The survey revealed that the overall prevalence of musculoskeletal disorder symptoms in any body part during the preceding year was 78.3%, and the body parts for which with the prevalence of discomfort was highest were the neck (46.9%), right shoulder (40.0%), lower back (37.2%), and left shoulder (33.8%). Stress and an uncomfortable seat may contribute to neck, shoulder, and lower back discomfort. Stretching between trips may help to reduce neck and shoulder discomfort. When comparing our results with those of similar studies, we discovered that the prevalence of symptoms and detailed risk factors vary by country and region. On this basis, we believe that local investigations emphasizing specific task arrangements and characteristics are needed to address the problem of musculoskeletal disorders in bus drivers. Full article
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15 pages, 850 KiB  
Article
Identifying and Evaluating the Essential Factors Affecting the Incidence of Site Accidents Caused by Human Errors in Industrial Parks Construction Projects
by Adel Rafieyan, Hadi Sarvari and Daniel W. M. Chan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(16), 10209; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191610209 - 17 Aug 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1832
Abstract
In terms of safety management, the implementation of industrial parks construction projects (IPCPs) is incredibly challenging due to the special working conditions and the specific type of use of the buildings. On the other hand, the possibility of causing accidents in these areas [...] Read more.
In terms of safety management, the implementation of industrial parks construction projects (IPCPs) is incredibly challenging due to the special working conditions and the specific type of use of the buildings. On the other hand, the possibility of causing accidents in these areas based on human errors is high and important for project execution due to the risks of human errors and financial losses. Therefore, this study tries to fill this existing research gap by identifying and evaluating the effective key factors leading to the occurrence of construction accidents caused by human errors in the development of IPCPs. After a holistic review of the reported literature, four rounds of fuzzy Delphi survey were launched to capture the individual opinions and feedback from various project experts. Accordingly, 41 key factors affecting human errors in the implementation of industrial parks construction projects in Iran were identified and classified into nine main groups of wrong actions, observations/interpretations, planning/processes, equipment, organization, individual activities, environmental conditions, rescue, and technology. Then, the step-wise weight assessment ratio analysis (SWARA) method was adopted to rate and rank the identified factors of human errors in the implementation of IPCPs in Iran. The research findings indicated that among the elicited factors, time factor (0.1226), delayed interpretation (0.1080), and incorrect diagnosis/prediction (0.0990) are the three most crucial factors leading to human errors in the implementation of IPCPs in Iran. The results of this research study have provided various major project stakeholders with an effective decision-aid tool to make better-informed decisions in managing and reducing the occurrence of construction site accidents particularly caused by human errors associated with IPCPs. Full article
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14 pages, 1096 KiB  
Article
Modeling Sleep Quality Depending on Objective Actigraphic Indicators Based on Machine Learning Methods
by Olga Vl. Bitkina, Jaehyun Park and Jungyoon Kim
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(16), 9890; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19169890 - 11 Aug 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2563
Abstract
According to data from the World Health Organization and medical research centers, the frequency and severity of various sleep disorders, including insomnia, are increasing steadily. This dynamic is associated with increased daily stress, anxiety, and depressive disorders. Poor sleep quality affects people’s productivity [...] Read more.
According to data from the World Health Organization and medical research centers, the frequency and severity of various sleep disorders, including insomnia, are increasing steadily. This dynamic is associated with increased daily stress, anxiety, and depressive disorders. Poor sleep quality affects people’s productivity and activity and their perception of quality of life in general. Therefore, predicting and classifying sleep quality is vital to improving the quality and duration of human life. This study offers a model for assessing sleep quality based on the indications of an actigraph, which was used by 22 participants in the experiment for 24 h. Objective indicators of the actigraph include the amount of time spent in bed, sleep duration, number of awakenings, and duration of awakenings. The resulting classification model was evaluated using several machine learning methods and showed a satisfactory accuracy of approximately 80–86%. The results of this study can be used to treat sleep disorders, develop and design new systems to assess and track sleep quality, and improve existing electronic devices and sensors. Full article
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12 pages, 1379 KiB  
Article
Effect on Perceived Weight of Object Shapes
by Taebeum Ryu, Jaehyun Park and Olga Vl. Bitkina
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(16), 9877; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19169877 - 11 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1751
Abstract
The perceived weight of an object is an important research topic in terms of sensation and perception, and it is known that it has size-weight, color-weight, and material-weight illusions due to the influence of size, color, and material, as well as the weight [...] Read more.
The perceived weight of an object is an important research topic in terms of sensation and perception, and it is known that it has size-weight, color-weight, and material-weight illusions due to the influence of size, color, and material, as well as the weight of the object. Although the physical size of an object is measured by volume, the size of an object that we subjectively feel depends on the shape of the object, even if it has the same volume. Therefore, the shape of the object may determine the perceived size of the object, thereby changing its perceived weight accordingly. These cognitive factors play an important role in the period of rehabilitation therapy after an exacerbation or attack of neurological diseases, such as stroke or Parkinson’s disease, regarding the motor functions of the patient. Moreover, the study of these sensation and perception factors is important for the period of the early development of children, for example, for tracking and correcting fine motor skills. Existing related studies analyzed the perceived weight according to three shapes (tetrahedron, cube, and sphere), but only some shapes showed a difference in the perceived weight. This study attempted to demonstrate the difference in perceived weight according to the shape that has yet to be clearly identified. To this end, this study investigated objects with the same physical size (volume) as in previous studies, but in the shapes of tetrahedron, cube, and sphere. In addition, the volumes of these objects were set to 64,000 cm3, 125,000 cm3, and 216,000 cm3, and their weights were set to be 100 g, 150 g, and 200 g, in proportion to the size of the small, medium, and large volumes, respectively. Thirty-eight college students (21 males, 17 females) participated and the perceived weight of a given object compared to a reference object was evaluated according to the modulus method used for sensory size measurement. The analysis of the experimental data found that both weight (volume) and shape had significant effects on the perceived weight. The results support that the shape of objects also led to the size-weight illusion phenomenon. At the same weight (volume), the perceived weight of an object according to shape decreased significantly in the order of sphere, cube, and tetrahedron. At the same volume level, subjective size according to shape is small in the order of tetrahedron, cube, and sphere. The results of weight perception according to shape in this study showed that the subjective size of an object according to shape had an effect on perceived weight. Full article
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20 pages, 5318 KiB  
Article
Human Factor Analysis (HFA) Based on a Complex Network and Its Application in Gas Explosion Accidents
by Guirong Zhang, Wei Feng and Yu Lei
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8400; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148400 - 9 Jul 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1892
Abstract
Humans are at the core of the social-technical system, and their behavioral errors affect the reliability and safety of the entire system in varying degrees. Occupational accidents and large-scale industrial accidents are often attributed to human errors, accounting for more than 80% of [...] Read more.
Humans are at the core of the social-technical system, and their behavioral errors affect the reliability and safety of the entire system in varying degrees. Occupational accidents and large-scale industrial accidents are often attributed to human errors, accounting for more than 80% of accidents. In view of the complexity of systems and the coupling of elements, a new HFA method is proposed based on a complex network. According to system safety theory, a complex network is regarded as a network composed of humans, matters, environments, and management, and the basic structure of the HFA network is summarized. On this basis, a system safety method of HFA is developed which proposes a universal human error causation model. Moreover, a network analysis method for human errors is also presented, which is a comprehensive analysis of human errors that have occurred. Finally, the above methods are applied to gas explosion accidents that occurred in China. Results show that the two methods proposed are universal to all fields, and their combination improves the effectiveness of human error management and promotes the targeted, proactive, systematic, and dynamic prevention of critical nodes and paths from a holistic perspective. Full article
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14 pages, 832 KiB  
Article
How Optimism Bias and Safety Climate Influence the Risk-Taking Behavior of Construction Workers
by Siu Shing Man, Ruifeng Yu, Tingru Zhang and Alan Hoi Shou Chan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1243; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031243 - 22 Jan 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2894
Abstract
Risk taking among construction workers is a critical topic in construction safety research. The aim of this study was to empirically investigate how optimism bias and safety climate influence construction worker risk-taking behavior. A survey with a designed questionnaire was conducted to collect [...] Read more.
Risk taking among construction workers is a critical topic in construction safety research. The aim of this study was to empirically investigate how optimism bias and safety climate influence construction worker risk-taking behavior. A survey with a designed questionnaire was conducted to collect data from construction workers. A total of 183 construction workers participated in this study and completed the designed questionnaire. The collected data were subjected to statistical analysis by using structural equation modeling. Results show that optimism bias related to work risks positively influences construction worker risk-taking behavior, whereas safety climate and optimism bias related to hazard perception skills negatively affect the risk-taking behavior. These findings can enrich the literature on construction worker risk-taking behavior from the perspective of optimism bias and safety climate. Practical implications are provided for discouraging construction workers from taking risks at work. Full article
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11 pages, 1880 KiB  
Article
Development of a Computer Vision-Based Muscle Stimulation Method for Measuring Muscle Fatigue during Prolonged Low-Load Exposure
by Bochen Jia, Abhishek Nagesh Kumbhar and Yourui Tong
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11242; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111242 - 26 Oct 2021
Viewed by 2482
Abstract
Measuring muscle fatigue is one essential and standard method to quantify the ergonomic risks associated with prolonged low-load exposure. However, measuring muscle fatigue using EMG-based methods has shown conflicting results under low-load but sustained work conditions, e.g., prolonged sitting. Muscle stimulation technology provides [...] Read more.
Measuring muscle fatigue is one essential and standard method to quantify the ergonomic risks associated with prolonged low-load exposure. However, measuring muscle fatigue using EMG-based methods has shown conflicting results under low-load but sustained work conditions, e.g., prolonged sitting. Muscle stimulation technology provides an alternative way to estimate muscle fatigue development during such work conditions by monitoring the stimulation-evoked muscle responses, which, however, could be restricted by the accessibility and measurability of targeted muscles. This study proposes a computer vision-based method to overcome such potential restrictions by visually quantifying the muscle belly displacement caused by muscle stimulation. The results demonstrate the ability of the developed computer vision-based stimulation method to detect muscle fatigue from prolonged low-load tasks. Current results can be used as a foundation to develop a sensitive and reliable method to quantify the adverse effects of the daily low-load sustained condition in occupational and nonoccupational settings. Full article
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12 pages, 2070 KiB  
Technical Note
Exoskeletons and Exosuits Could Benefit from Mode-Switching Body Interfaces That Loosen/Tighten to Improve Thermal Comfort
by Laura J. Elstub, Shimra J. Fine and Karl E. Zelik
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(24), 13115; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413115 - 12 Dec 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2794
Abstract
Exoskeletons and exosuits (exos) are wearable devices that physically assist movement. User comfort is critically important for societal adoption of exos. Thermal comfort (a person’s satisfaction with their thermal environment) represents a key design challenge. Exos must physically attach/interface to the body to [...] Read more.
Exoskeletons and exosuits (exos) are wearable devices that physically assist movement. User comfort is critically important for societal adoption of exos. Thermal comfort (a person’s satisfaction with their thermal environment) represents a key design challenge. Exos must physically attach/interface to the body to apply forces, and these interfaces inevitably trap some heat. It is envisioned that thermal comfort could be improved by designing mode-switching exo interfaces that temporarily loosen around a body segment when assistive forces are not being applied. To inform exo design, a case series study (N = 4) based on single-subject design principles was performed. Our objective was to assess individual responses to skin temperature and thermal comfort during physical activity with a Loose leg-sleeve interface compared with a Form-Fitting one, and immediately after a Form-Fitting sleeve switched to Loose. Skin under the Loose sleeve was 2–3 °C (4–6 °F) cooler after 25 min of physical activity, and two of four participants reported the Loose sleeve improved their thermal comfort. After completion of the physical activity, the Form-Fitting sleeve was loosened, causing a 2–4 °C (3–8 °F) drop in skin temperature underneath for all participants, and two participants to report slightly improved thermal comfort. These findings confirmed that an exo that can quickly loosen its interface when assistance is not required—and re-tighten when it is— has the potential to enhance thermal comfort for some individuals and environments. More broadly, this study demonstrates that mode-switching mechanisms in exos can do more than adjust physical assistance: they can also exploit thermodynamics and facilitate thermoregulation in a way that enhances comfort for exo users. Full article
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