An Automated Biomechanical Simulation Approach to Ergonomic Job Analysis for Workplace Design

Alireza Golabchi, Sanghyeok Han, Joonoh Seo, Sanguk Han, Sanghyun Lee, Mohamed Al-Hussein

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are reported to be the most common category of nonfatal occupational injuries that result in days away from work and are also a leading cause of temporary and permanent disability. One of the most effective approaches to preventing WMSDs is to evaluate ergonomics considerations early in the design and construction planning stage before the worker encounters the unsafe conditions. However, a lack of tools for identifying potential ergonomic risks in a proposed workplace design has led to difficulties in integrating safety and health into workplace design practice. In an effort to address this issue, this study explores a motion data-driven framework for ergonomic analysis that automates and visualizes the evaluation process in a virtual workplace. This is accomplished by coupling the ergonomic analysis with three-dimensional (3D) virtual visualization of the work environment. The proposed approach uses motion data from the 3D model of the jobsite to evaluate the risk factors that can produce excessive physical loads on the human body through a biomechanical analysis. A global risk assessment of musculoskeletal disorders is performed on worker motions first, and a biomechanical simulation is then used to further analyze unsafe motions by estimating internal loads on each selected body joint of the worker and redesigning the motion and workplace accordingly. As a case study, several tasks taking place in a construction prefabrication shop are modeled and analyzed to modify the workplace and ensure improved ergonomic safety. The results indicate that the proposed approach enables identification and minimization of awkward worker postures in the virtual model to mitigate ergonomic risk during workplace design.
Original languageEnglish
Article number04015020
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomechanical analysis
  • Construction worker safety
  • Ergonomics
  • Information technologies
  • Prevention through design
  • Three-dimensional (3D) visualization
  • Work-related musculoskeletal disorder
  • Workplace design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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