Improving Ergonomics in the Nigerian Construction Industry

Author: Okoro Uchenna Remigius
Department: Building
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in which to work. The industry alone produces 30% of all fatal industrial accidents across the European Union (EU), yet it employs only 10% of the working population. The action or inactions made by engineers and architects in the design phase of a project can affect construction workers safety and health in a negative or positive manner. Therefore, this research work assesses the impact of design works by professionals on ergonomics in the Nigerian construction industry. It explores the level of ergonomic awareness in Nigeria with emphasis on the construction industry and appraises the efforts of regulatory bodies in ensuring compliance and implementation of ergonomic requirements and regulations during construction. Yardsticks by which we could determine tools that are ‘ergonomically’ designed are discussed. The research further investigates the obstacles to designing for construction safety. Responses to distributed questionnaires are analyzed using charts, tables, percentages, mean scores and standard deviation. The ONE WAY Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test the postulated hypotheses. From the research and analysis, we find that architects, tool designers and engineers could influence ergonomics either directly or indirectly; Safety considerations should begin at the pre-construction stage i.e. during the concept and design phase; Designing for safety reduces injuries and fatalities thereby improving workers health. It also improves productivity, decreases operating cost and avoids expensive retrofitting. Incorporating ergonomics in the curriculum of students in higher education would help improve its awareness and application.

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