Workers’ fatigue is a significant problem in physically demanding occupations. Physical fatigue is known to result in the inability to maintain proper posture and working technique. Consequently, workers lose their ability to safely and effectively perform their duties. Thus, understanding the physical demands of labor-intensive work is of great importance in protecting workers’ safety, and maintaining productivity. Current fatigue assessments methods, including surveys and questionnaires, are subjective and lack reliability. Objective fatigue assessments based on physiological data are more reliable, however they are cumbersome to implement in real work conditions. There is a need for an objective fatigue assessment method that can monitor physical fatigue with minimal intrusion. The goal of this study was to investigate whether jerk, the time-derivative of acceleration, can be used to objectively detect physical fatigue. A pilot study on masons was conducted to determine if physical fatigue can be detected by changes in jerk values. Ten participants performed a bricklaying task using forty-five concrete masonry units (CMU). Seven body segments, namely the hands, forearms, upper arms, and pelvis, were selected for placement of IMU sensors to measure the segment accelerations. Jerk was calculated from the measured acceleration via numerical differentiation. Characteristic values of the jerk at the beginning and end of the bricklaying task were obtained to represent the rested and fatigued states. They were then compared for significant differences. Jerk values calculated from the IMU sensors located on the upper arms and pelvis showed significant differences between rested and fatigued states. The results of this pilot study indicate that the characteristic jerk can be used to detect physical fatigue, however caution must be taken in selecting sensor locations to reduce the influence of spurious signals.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.