Special Issue "Occupational Ergonomics, Human Factors and Safety: Theory, Application, and Practice"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Occupational Safety and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Sang Choi
Website
Guest Editor
Professor & Director of Center for OESH, Department of Occupational & Environmental Safety & Health, 800 West Main Street, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, WI 53190, USA
Interests: occupational safety & health; ergonomics/human factors; aging workforce; fall protection/prevention, work-related musculoskeletal disorders, prevention through design, research to practice to research; construction safety; human-systems integration; public health; system dynamics in osh; work analysis & design, and smart risk assessment/management
Dr. Chao Wang
Website
Guest Editor
Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator, Bert S. Turner Department of Construction Management, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
Interests: construction safety and health; biomechanics; wearable sensors and robotics; data sensing and analytics
Dr. Shuping Xiong
Website
Guest Editor
Associate Professor & Director of HFEL, Dept. of Industrial & Systems Engineering, College of Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon 34141, South Korea.
Interests: human factors and ergonomics; technology and healthy aging; occupational safety; digital human modeling and biomechanical analysis; wearable sensing and data analytics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue on “Occupational Ergonomics, Human Factors and Safety: Theory, Application and Practice” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJIEPH). The venue is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary areas of occupational ergonomics and safety, human factors/behavioral/systems, and occupational safety and health.

Currently, the concern with occupational ergonomics and safety no longer emphasizes physical ergonomics/safety issues but rather congnitive/mental health, and psychosocial/sociotechnological issues have emerged as prevailing research areas. Cognitive/mental workload challenges (e.g., fatigue, stress, anxiety) are usually intangible and workers may struggle to recognize the symptoms (e.g., musculoskeletal disorders). Meanwhile, the repercussions of cognitive/mental health problems can be unpredictable and severe. Physical/cognitive ergonomics and occupational safety and health interact with each other. Therefore, it is vital to acknowledge prevention methods to minimize the occurrence of both physical and cognitive safety and health problems.

To exchange information and ideas about occupational ergonomics and safety, articles may deal with a variety of research areas, such as risk assessment, workplace safety and health, safety culture/climate, work performance, an aging workforce, organizational/systems safety, human–systems interface, physical and virtual work environments, and workers’ well-being and wellness. Submissions on newly emerging/contemporary research areas and research on practices in regard to physical and cognitive ergonomics and safety, ergonomic risk factors assessment and controls/management, in different occupational settings and/or industry-specific occupational ergonomics and safety issues, etc. are also welcome.

This Speical Issue is open to a number of subject areas related to occupational ergonomics, human factors, and safety and health. The listed keywords suggest just a few of the many possibilities. Please consult the editors for further information.

Prof. Dr. Sang Choi
Dr. Chao Wang
Dr. Shuping Xiong
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 papers will be 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 semimonthly 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 2300 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

  • occupational ergonomics
  • safety and health
  • aging workforce
  • musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)
  • safety culture
  • safety climate
  • human factors
  • physical ergonomics
  • cognitive ergonomics
  • organizational systems/behavioral
  • prevention through design
  • slips, trips, and falls
  • risk assessment/management
  • human–systems interaction
  • work environment
  • stress/anxiety
  • remote working
  • wellness
  • reactive and proactive ergonomics
  • employee quality of life
  • morale
  • workers’ compensation costs

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Analyzing Workers’ Compensation Claims and Payments Made Using Data from a Large Insurance Provider
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7157; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197157 - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
Background: All states in the USA have established Workers’ Compensation (WC) insurance systems/programs. WC systems address key occupational safety and health concerns. This effort uses data from a large insurance provider for the years 2011–2018 to provide estimates for WC payments, stratified by [...] Read more.
Background: All states in the USA have established Workers’ Compensation (WC) insurance systems/programs. WC systems address key occupational safety and health concerns. This effort uses data from a large insurance provider for the years 2011–2018 to provide estimates for WC payments, stratified by the claim severity, i.e., medical only, and indemnity. Methods: Besides providing descriptive statistics, we used generalized estimating equations to analyze the association between the key injury characteristics (nature, source, and body part injured) and total WC payments made. We also provide the overall cost burden for the former. Results: Out of the total 151,959 closed claims, 83% were medical only. The mean overall WC payment per claim for the claims that resulted in a payment was $1477 (SD: $7221). Adjusted models showed that mean payments vary by claim severity. For example, among medical only claims, the mean payment was the highest for amputations ($3849; CI: $1396, $10,608), and among disability and death related claims, ruptures cost the most ($14,285; $7772, $26,255). With frequencies taken into account, the overall cost burden was however the highest for strains. Conclusions: Workplace interventions should prioritize both the costs of claims on average and the frequency. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Application of AULA Risk Assessment Tool by Comparison with Other Ergonomic Risk Assessment Tools
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6479; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186479 - 05 Sep 2020
Abstract
Agricultural upper limb assessment (AULA), which was developed for evaluating upper limb body postures, was compared with the existing assessment tools such as rapid upper limb assessment (RULA), rapid entire body assessment (REBA), and ovako working posture analysis system (OWAS) based on the [...] Read more.
Agricultural upper limb assessment (AULA), which was developed for evaluating upper limb body postures, was compared with the existing assessment tools such as rapid upper limb assessment (RULA), rapid entire body assessment (REBA), and ovako working posture analysis system (OWAS) based on the results of experts’ assessments of 196 farm tasks in this study. The expert group consisted of ergonomists, industrial medicine experts, and agricultural experts. As a result of the hit rate analysis, the hit rate (average: 48.6%) of AULA was significantly higher than those of the other assessment tools (RULA: 33.3%, REBA: 30.1%, and OWAS: 34.4%). The quadratic weighted kappa analysis also showed that the kappa value (0.718) of AULA was significantly higher than those of the other assessment tools (0.599, 0.578, and 0.538 for RULA, REBA, and OWAS, respectively). Based on the results, AULA showed a better agreement with expert evaluation results than other evaluation tools. In general, other assessment tools tended to underestimate the risk of upper limb posture in this study. AULA would be an appropriate evaluation tool to assess the risk of various upper limb postures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Comparison Study of Posture and Fatigue of Neck According to Monitor Types (Moving and Fixed Monitor) by Using Flexion Relaxation Phenomenon (FRP) and Craniovertebral Angle (CVA)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6345; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176345 - 31 Aug 2020
Abstract
This study quantified the neck posture and fatigue using the flexion relaxation phenomenon (FRP) and craniovertebral angle (CVA); further, it compared the difference between the level of fatigue and neck posture induced by two types of monitors (regular fixed monitor and moving monitor). [...] Read more.
This study quantified the neck posture and fatigue using the flexion relaxation phenomenon (FRP) and craniovertebral angle (CVA); further, it compared the difference between the level of fatigue and neck posture induced by two types of monitors (regular fixed monitor and moving monitor). Twenty-three male participants were classified into two groups—the low-flexion relaxation ratio (FRR) group and the normal-FRR group, depending on the FRR value. All participants performed a document task for 50 min using both types of monitors. It was found that the FRR values significantly decreased after the documentation task. The CVA analysis showed that the moving monitor’s frequency of forward head posture (FHP) was lower than that for the fixed monitor. Overall, the moving monitor worked better than the fixed monitor; this can be interpreted as proof that such monitors can reduce neck fatigue. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Safety Risks of Civil Engineering Laboratories Based on Lab Criticity Index: A Case Study in Jiangsu Province
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6244; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176244 - 27 Aug 2020
Abstract
With the rapid development of the construction industry, an increasing amount of attention were paid by universities to the development of civil engineering experiment courses so as to improve the practical research abilities of students. In recent years, due to the frequent occurrence [...] Read more.
With the rapid development of the construction industry, an increasing amount of attention were paid by universities to the development of civil engineering experiment courses so as to improve the practical research abilities of students. In recent years, due to the frequent occurrence of civil engineering laboratory accidents, it has become an urgent issue regarding on what factors influencing safety risks and how to assess and reduce the safety risks in civil engineering laboratories. Based on the lab criticity index (LCI) model, the research specificities of civil engineering laboratories were analyzed through literature review and expert interviews and 13 risk factors of civil engineering laboratories, from the four aspects of man, object, management, and environment, identified. The data for each parameter in the LCI model was obtained through a questionnaire survey, and finally the LCI value was calculated to evaluate priority. Among them, insufficient safety awareness of operators, danger due to equipment failure, imperfect management policies, and complex floor conditions were listed as the most common risk factors. Based on the LCI model, the worsening factors of these four risk factors were further analyzed. The LCI model is applied to the new research field of safety risk assessment in civil engineering laboratories that few researchers have studied before and a risk list for civil engineering laboratories was created. We revealed the safety status of civil engineering laboratories in Jiangsu Province and provided feasible suggestions for improving the management and supervision of civil engineering laboratories at universities. It can strengthen operator awareness of the risks in civil engineering laboratories and improve the social group’s attention to the safety risks of the laboratories, thus reducing the accidents’ possibility and seriousness of civil engineering laboratories. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development and Validation of a Wearable Inertial Sensors-Based Automated System for Assessing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workspace
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6050; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176050 - 20 Aug 2020
Abstract
The industrial societies face difficulty applying traditional work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) risk assessment methods in practical applications due to in-situ task dynamics, complex data processing, and the need of ergonomics professionals. This study aims to develop and validate a wearable inertial sensors-based automated [...] Read more.
The industrial societies face difficulty applying traditional work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) risk assessment methods in practical applications due to in-situ task dynamics, complex data processing, and the need of ergonomics professionals. This study aims to develop and validate a wearable inertial sensors-based automated system for assessing WMSD risks in the workspace conveniently, in order to enhance workspace safety and improve workers’ health. Both postural ergonomic analysis (RULA/REBA) and two-dimensional static biomechanical analysis were automatized as two toolboxes in the proposed system to provide comprehensive WMSD risk assessment based on the kinematic data acquired from wearable inertial sensors. The effectiveness of the developed system was validated through a follow-up experiment among 20 young subjects when performing representative tasks in the heavy industry. The RULA/REBA scores derived from our system achieved high consistency with experts’ ratings (intraclass correlation coefficient ≥0.83, classification accuracy >88%), and good agreement was also found between low-back compression force from the developed system and the reference system (mean intersystem coefficient of multiple correlation >0.89 and relative error <9.5%). These findings suggested that the wearable inertial sensors-based automated system could be effectively used for WMSD risk assessment of workers when performing tasks in the workspace. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Relationship between Work-To-Family Conflict, Job Burnout, Job Outcomes, and Affective Commitment in the Construction Industry
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5995; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165995 - 18 Aug 2020
Abstract
This study explored the effects of work-to-family conflict on job burnout and job outcomes in the construction industry, focusing on the moderating effects of affective commitment. Based on the conservation of resources theory, a theoretical model introducing affective commitment as a moderating variable [...] Read more.
This study explored the effects of work-to-family conflict on job burnout and job outcomes in the construction industry, focusing on the moderating effects of affective commitment. Based on the conservation of resources theory, a theoretical model introducing affective commitment as a moderating variable was established. A structured questionnaire survey was then implemented among construction professionals in China. A total of 376 valid responses were obtained. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the valid data. The results revealed the following: (i) work-to-family conflict has a significant positive impact on job burnout, but a significant negative impact on job satisfaction and job performance; (ii) job burnout negatively affects job satisfaction and job performance; (iii) affective commitment negatively moderates the effects of work-to-family conflict on job burnout. This study provides a reference for construction companies to manage work-to-family conflict and job burnout of employees, while also improving their affective commitment and job outcomes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Predicting Errors, Violations, and Safety Participation Behavior at Nuclear Power Plants
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5613; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155613 - 04 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Commissioning workers at nuclear power plants have long been ignored in previous studies, although their performance is closely related to the overall safety of plants. This study aimed to explain and predict three types of behavior, i.e., errors, violations, and safety participation, of [...] Read more.
Commissioning workers at nuclear power plants have long been ignored in previous studies, although their performance is closely related to the overall safety of plants. This study aimed to explain and predict three types of behavior, i.e., errors, violations, and safety participation, of commissioning workers, under the general framework of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and by considering organization and planning factors. The validity of the model was evaluated with a sample of 167 commissioning workers who completed a self-reported questionnaire. The results showed that perceived behavioral control, along with organization and planning, significantly affected all types of behavior. It was also found that violations and errors were a direct result of attitude. Besides, errors were predicted by subjective norm; unexpectedly, this occurred in a positive way. These findings revealed the underlying mechanisms for the development of errors, violations, and safety participation among commissioning workers and provided practical implications for safety improvement at the commissioning workplace. Full article
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