Non-invasive detection of mental fatigue in construction equipment operators through geometric measurements of facial features

Imran Mehmood, Heng Li, Waleed Umer, Jie Ma, Muhammad Saad Shakeel, Shahnawaz Anwer, Maxwell Fordjour Antwi-Afari, Salman Tariq, Haitao Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Introduction: Prolonged operation of construction equipment could lead to mental fatigue, which can increase the chances of human error-related accidents as well as operators’ ill-health. The objective detection of operators' mental fatigue is crucial for reducing accident risk and ensuring operator health. Electroencephalography, photoplethysmography, electrodermal activity, and eye-tracking technology have been used to mitigate this issue. These technologies are invasive and wearable sensors that can cause irritation and discomfort. Geometric measurements of facial features can serve as a noninvasive alternative approach. Its application in detecting mental fatigue of construction equipment operators has not been reported in the literature. Although the application of facial features has been widespread in other domains, such as drivers and other occupation scenarios, their ecological validity for construction excavator operators remains a knowledge gap. Method: This study proposed employing geometric measurements of facial features to detect mental fatigue in construction equipment operators' facial features. In this study, seventeen operators performed excavation operations. Mental fatigue was labeled subjectively and objectively using NASA-TLX scores and EDA values. Based on geometric measurements, facial features (eyebrow, mouth outer, mouth corners, head motion, eye area, and face area) were extracted. Results: The results showed that there was significant difference in the measured metrics for high fatigue compared to low fatigue. Specifically, the most noteworthy variation was for the eye and face area metrics, with mean differences of 45.88% and 26.9%, respectively. Conclusions: The findings showed that geometrical measurements of facial features are a useful, noninvasive approach for detecting the mental fatigue of construction equipment operators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-250
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Construction equipment operators
  • Construction health and safety
  • Electrodermal activity
  • Face landmarks
  • Facial features
  • Mental fatigue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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