Concrete and foundation workers within the construction industry spend a significant amount oft heir workdays on their feet. Therefore, their foot wear must provide them with the necessary support to avoid the development of MSD.
Research has suggested that the abnormal loading of the lower limbs, like the use of heavy safety boots, can increase fatigue and contribute to a higher incidence of lower-limb injury. Therefore, this small-scale workplace pilot aims to trial lightweight boots as an ergonomic design intervention to reduce the adverse effects of standing and walking over extended periods.
The lightweight boots selected for this trial are the Wild Hawk™ Steel Sneakers.
This pilot study followed one concrete/foundation worker as they trialled the Wild Hawk™ Steel Sneakers over one week.
This study, commissioned by Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ), employed a participative ergonomics (PE) design allowing the participant to contribute suggestions and guide the research direction. Data collection occurred in two stages; phase one was the collection of objective metrics through a First beat heart measurement device.
Phase two was the collection of subjective data through an online survey. Overall, the Wild Hawk™ Steel Sneakers resulted in a small improvement in overall physiological scores, stress and recovery balance and the restorative effect of sleep. Due to the small sample size, it is recommended that another trial be conducted on a larger scale. A repeat trial will also enable confirmation of the results displayed by this pilot trial whilst also enabling some of the recommended improvements to the lightweight boots and their use to be made.
This research trial was made possible with the support of Dr Kelly Dale from Healthy Lifestyle NZ.
We especially want to thank the concrete/foundation worker willing to participate in this trial. We hope this trial will help make a difference in the aches and pains prevalent in the industry.
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