Monitoring fatigue in construction workers using physiological measurements

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Automation in Construction, ISSN: 0926-5805, Vol: 82, Page: 154-165

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Ashrant Aryal, Ali Ghahramani, Burcin Becerik-Gerber
Elsevier BV
article description
Fatigue is one of the factors leading to reduction in productivity, poor quality of work and increased risk of accidents in construction. Existing established methods of assessing fatigue include surveys and questionnaires, which are cumbersome to implement at construction sites. This study presents a novel approach for real time monitoring of physical fatigue in construction workers using wearable sensors. Changes in the heart rate, thermoregulation and electrical brain activity during a simulated construction task were monitored from 12 participants using a heart rate monitor, infrared temperature sensors and an EEG sensor. Borg's RPE was used as a subjective scale to collect the level of fatigue experienced by the participants. Boosted tree classifiers were trained using the features extracted from the heart rate and temperature sensor signals and used to predict the level of physical fatigue. Only physical fatigue was assessed as none of the participants developed any sign of mental fatigue during the study. The results show that physical fatigue can be monitored using wearable sensors. The classification accuracy, based solely on features extracted from average of skin temperature data, was 9% higher than based solely on heart rate data, and combining the information from both sensors resulted in the best accuracy of 82%. The results also show that monitoring thermoregulation from temple can be more useful compared to other studied monitoring sites, the classification accuracy based only on data from the temple was 79%. This accuracy is significantly higher compared to the classification accuracy based only on heart rate data (59%).

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