Quantifying the Effect of Mental Stress on Physical Stress for Construction Tasks

Abstract

Because of labor-intensive and physically demanding tasks, construction workers are known to be at a higher risk of developing physical fatigue. Recent studies have shown that construction workers are also often exposed to considerable mental stresses. While a number of studies have proposed methods and tools to measure and monitor physical and mental stress disjointedly, there is a need to explore their interaction. The literature indicates that no previous study has endeavored to evaluate the effect of mental stress on physical stress for construction tasks. This investigation is necessary to better comprehend work demands of construction tasks. Accordingly, entailing a randomized crossover design and simulated manual material handling experiment, this study evaluated the effect of cognitive task-led mental stress on physical stress using both subjective (ratings of perceived exertion) and objective measures (heart rate, skin temperature, and skin conductance). The results revealed that cognitive task-led mental stress led to a significant increase in subjective ratings of perceived exertion accompanied by an increase in skin temperature and skin conductance, while heart rate remained unaffected. The findings of this study add to the body of knowledge by highlighting that traditional benchmarking of task demands using only physiological measures may not be comprehensive. Rather, it might be suggested that additional psychological measurements are also essential because they might affect physical stress development. Furthermore, the current study has increased our understanding related to the interaction of physical and mental stress by revealing interindividual differences among the participants. Accordingly, by examining each worker separately, practitioners and safety managers can develop better mitigation strategies and individualized training programs, especially for more vulnerable workers, which can enhance overall health and safety on construction job sites.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1061/(asce)co.1943-7862.0002243
Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering > Engineering Systems and Supply Chain Management
Additional Information: © ASCE. This material may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the American Society of Civil Engineers. This material may be found at https://ascelibrary.org/doi/10.1061/%28ASCE%29CO.1943-7862.0002243
Uncontrolled Keywords: Construction safety,Manual material handling task,Mental stress,Physical stress,Civil and Structural Engineering,Building and Construction,Industrial relations,Strategy and Management
Publication ISSN: 1943-7862
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
https://ascelib ... 43-7862.0002243 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-03-01
Published Online Date: 2021-12-17
Accepted Date: 2021-11-09
Authors: Umer, Waleed
Yu, Yantao
Antwi Afari, Maxwell Fordjour (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-6812-7839)

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