Working-memory load as a factor determining the safety performance of construction workers

Gentian Liko, Behzad Esmaeili, Sogand Hasanzadeh, Michael D. Dodd, Rebecca Brock

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Cognitive processes have been found to contribute substantially to the human errors that lead to construction accidents. Working memory is a cognitive system with a limited capacity that deals with storage and active processing and is critical to a number of different processes. As a departure in construction industry research, this study correlates attentional allocation (measured via eye tracking) with working memory to assess workers' situation awareness under different scenarios that expose workers to various hazards. To achieve this goal, this study merges research linking eye movements and workers' attention with research focused on working-memory load and decision making to evaluate what, how, and where a worker distributes his/her attention while performing a task under different working-memory loads. Path analysis models then examined the direct and indirect effect of different working-memory loads on hazard identification performance. The independent variable (working-memory load) is linked to the dependent variable (hazard identification) through a set of mediators (attention metrics). The results showed that the high-memory load condition delayed workers' hazard identification. The findings of this study emphasize the important role working memory plays in determining how and why workers in dynamic work environments fail to detect, comprehend, and/or respond to physical risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConstruction Research Congress 2020
Subtitle of host publicationSafety, Workforce, and Education - Selected Papers from the Construction Research Congress 2020
EditorsMounir El Asmar, David Grau, Pingbo Tang
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Pages499-508
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780784482872
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020
EventConstruction Research Congress 2020: Safety, Workforce, and Education - Tempe, United States
Duration: Mar 8 2020Mar 10 2020

Publication series

NameConstruction Research Congress 2020: Safety, Workforce, and Education - Selected Papers from the Construction Research Congress 2020

Conference

ConferenceConstruction Research Congress 2020: Safety, Workforce, and Education
CountryUnited States
CityTempe
Period3/8/203/10/20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction

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