BMC Public Health. 2022 Aug 22;22(1):1593. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-13973-5.
BACKGROUND: Construction workers working in physically and mentally challenging environments experience high levels of occupational fatigue, which is the primary cause of industrial accidents and illnesses. Therefore, it is very important to measure fatigue in real time to manage the safety and health of construction workers. This study presents a novel approach for simultaneously measuring the subjective and objective fatigue of construction workers using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) and smartwatches. Due to the complexity and diversity of construction site environments, it is necessary to examine whether data collection using smartwatches is suitable in actual construction sites. This study aims to examine the feasibility of the integrated fatigue measurement method.
METHODS: This study comprised two phases: (1) development of an integrated fatigue measurement system for construction workers, and (2) a validation study to evaluate the method’s feasibility based on sensor data acquisition, EMA compliance, and feedback from construction workers in the field (N = 80). Three days of biometric data were collected through sensors embedded in the smartwatches for objective fatigue measurement, including heart rate, accelerometer, and gyroscope data. Two types of self-reported data regarding each worker’s fatigue were collected through a researcher-developed EMA application. The acceptability and usability of this system were examined based on the researchers’ observations and unstructured interviews.
RESULTS: Based on the standardized self-report questionnaire scores, participants were classified into high (n = 35, 43.75%) and low (n = 45, 56.25%) fatigue groups for comparison. The quantitative outcomes did not show a statistically significant difference between the two fatigue groups. Both groups experienced positive emotions and were able to recognize their health condition at the time of self-reporting, but stated that responding to this measurement system could be burdensome.
CONCLUSIONS: This feasibility study provides a unique understanding of the applications of EMA and smartwatches for safety management in the construction workforce. The developed measurement system shows potential for monitoring fatigue based on the real-time collection of relevant data. It is expected that by expanding this integrated system through further research and onsite application, the health and safety of construction workers can be improved.