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Ergonomics & Human factors 2018

Archives of Medicine

ISSN: 1989-5216

Page 25

July 26-27, 2018

Rome, Italy



Edition of International Conference on

Ergonomics &

Human Factors


onstruction tasks are diverse, containing many weight

handling duties. Bricklayer-assistant’s work is one of the

most demanding jobs in this respect. This job has a poor

record of occupational health, in particular with regard to

WMSDs (Valero, 2016). At the work site, the most demanding

tasks for the assistant, in terms of physical work are: manual

lifting, transportation and carrying of materials and pushing/

pulling wheelbarrows for more than four hours every working

day (van der Molen et al., 2017). Construction workers are

exposed to a wide variety of health hazards at work (Alazab,

2004). Working in the construction industry typically requires

awkward postures, heavy lifting, and considerable exertion.

Many workers performing such tasks complain of discomfort

in their upper extremities and lower back over the course of a

workday (Buchholz et al., 1996; Jeong, 1998; Hoozemans et al.,

2001; Davis et al., 2010). Several studies identified that there is

a relationship between awkward postures and pain symptoms

and injuries in the musculoskeletal system (Grandjean and

Hunting, 1977; Corlett and Manenica, 1980; Westgaard and

Aar, 1984; Haslegrave, 1994). WMSDs represent major health

issues for construction workers yet risk factors associated

with repetitive lifting tasks remain unexplored (Antwi, 2017).

This job is more labor-intensive compared to other industries.

Over long periods of time, this sustained physical labor causes

bodily injuries to the workers which in turn, conveys huge

losses to the industry in terms of money, time, and productivity.

Various safety and health organizations have established rules

and regulations that limit the amount and intensity of workers’

physical movements to mitigate work-related bodily injuries

(Nath, 2017). Awkward postures in construction activities pose

substantial hazards in both instantaneous injuries and long-

term WMSDs (Chen, 2017). According to official figures, the

declared workforce in the building and construction sector in

Algeria counts for 19.9% of the total active workforce in 2013

(ONS, 2013). But these figures should be taken with some

reserve, they might be much higher, as undeclared workforce

(informal employment) is a widespread practice in this sector of

activity (Mebarki, et al., 2015). According to the Algerian Office

of Statistics (ONS, 2012, p.11), 3.9 million Algerians out of 9.7

million of the employed population are working in the informal,

37.4 % of them are in the building and construction industry.

The aim of the present study is to investigate the effect of

weight lifting during mortar’s preparation tasks in bricklayer’s

assistants’ job. Through the determination of lifting index (LI),

and physical workload imposed by mortar preparation tasks.

The data were collected from a sample of seventy-three (73)

assistant-bricklayers, their demographic characteristics were

as follows: average age of 35.8 (± 9.2) years, mean weight of

72.7 (± 4.3kg), mean height of 171.4 (± 4.0cm), and a seniority

in the profession ranging from 02 to 26 years With an average

of 7.4 (± 5.0 years). To assess the variables of the study

the following tools were used: (1) direct observation, video

recording, (2), the method of National Institute of Occupational

Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Ergo-Fellow software to

assess the maximum permissible weight lift, beside (3) the

scales of Borg RPE and CR10. Assessment of the physical

workload of tasks showed that the steps involving the cement

mortar preparation involved a physical load for the sample

studied. The results of the assessment of the difficulty of

work (The painfulness) by the Borg scales during the morning

and evening work periods showed no statistically significant

differences between the two work periods in the different

regions of the body. However, maximal values were observed

for all workers in the lower back during the two periods of the

day, with a 50% equivalent effort, and 48.8% in the evening

to the maximum voluntary force (FMV). The results of the

NIOSH method gives a lifting value LI = 11.11, exceeding the

value allowed for lifting by nearly 4 times. In order to alleviate

occupational hazards and reduce physical workload imposed

by improper task/job design, appropriate recommendations

are put forward.

[email protected]

Bricklayer-assistants work analysis: weight lifting risks

in mortar’s preparation tasks

Argoub Mohammed



Mebarki Bouhafs



IBN Khaldoune University & University of Oran 2, Algeria


University of Oran, Algeria

Argoub Mohammed et al., Arch Med 2018, Volume 10

DOI: 10.21767/1989-5216-C1-002