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ASSESSMENT OF ERGONOMIC ADAPTABILITY PRACTICES AMONG SELECTED CONSTRUCTION CRAFTSMEN
Health and safety is about the prevention of ill-health among workers caused by their working conditions. Ergonomics is one of the methods to eliminate the health hazards and risk in the construction industry. The aim of the study is to assess adaptability of ergonomic practices among selected building construction craftsmen in Abuja with a view to enhancing health and safety practices on the construction site. The study assesses awareness of ergonomics among building construction craftsmen. The study also assesses the challenges and drivers to ergonomics among construction craftsmen. One hundred and Twenty five interviews were conducted among Masons, Electricians, Carpenter, Tilers and Iron-fixers. Site observation was used to fill checklist assessing adaptability of ergonomics practices on construction site in Abuja. Data was analysed using percentage. The study found that awareness of ergonomics among craftsmen is low with at of 4%. It also found that 66% of craftsmen have experienced Work related musculoskeletal injuries. The study concludes that ergonomics practice among craftsmen is low. Lack of knowledge and understanding of ergonomics, cost of procuring ergonomic equipment, employees reluctant to use safety tools and gadgets, lack of legislation enforcing ergonomics practices and temporary employment were factors militating against adoption of ergonomics. The study recommends increasing awareness of ergonomics through education and training. Introducing ergonomics in the syllabus of construction related courses in tertiary institution, continuous professional development of professional bodies and apprenticeship training of craftsmen.
1.1 Background of the Study
Construction workers have high injury rates and construction work by its very nature is difficult. This could be because of working above the shoulder and below the knees level, and also building materials are heavy. Mcintos (2001) in Abdulahi (2012) declare that working in the construction industry has been identified as a risk factor for chronic disability. Every year many construction site workers are killed or injured as a result of their work; others suffer ill health, such as musculoskeletal disorders (Health and Safety Executives, 2006).
According to Muhammed (2014) occupational health and safety in construction is about preventing people from being injured at work or becoming ill through appropriate precautions and providing a satisfactory working environment. Health and safety is about identifying risk and eliminating or controlling factors to prevent accident and occupational ill-health (European Commission, 2011). Health and safety is an inevitable aspect of construction because the only time an employee will perform his duties is when the employee is in good health and is sure of a safe working environment. Any rational worker or employee will perform his or her duty diligently when he knows that even in case of an injury or accident he will be taking care of. One of the efforts in trying to prevent occupational hazard in construction is ergonomics. Al-Swaity and Enshassi (2012) assert that ergonomics is one of the procedures that eliminate the hazards and risk in the construction industry.
Ergonomics produces and integrates knowledge from the human sciences to match jobs, systems, products and environments to the physical and mental abilities and limitations.