Impact of physical and mental fatigue on construction workers’ unsafe behavior based on physiological measurement

Zhitian Zhang, Tian Xiang, Hongling Guo, Ling Ma, Zhongyao Guan, Yihai Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Construction worker fatigue is an important factor leading to unsafe behavior, a major cause of construction accidents. Uncovering the impact mechanism of fatigue on workers’ unsafe behavior can prevent construction accidents. However, it is difficult to effectively measure workers’ fatigue onsite and analyze the impact of worker fatigue on their unsafe behavior. Method: This research analyzes the relationship between the physical and mental fatigue of construction workers and their unsafe behavior via physiological measurement based on a simulated experiment on handling tasks. Results: It is found that: (a) both physical fatigue and mental fatigue have negative effects on workers’ cognitive ability and motion ability, and the negative effects are more serious under the combination of the two types of fatigue; (b) mental fatigue can easily change workers’ risk propensity, making them more willing to face risks, and in a state of the two types of fatigue, they are more likely to make choices with less pay and higher risk; (c) the number of signal identification errors is positively correlated with LF (low frequency)/HF (high frequency), and negatively correlated with the standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals (SDNN), while the number of footstep control errors is negatively correlated with the time elapsed between two successive R waves (RR interval) and skin temperature (SKT). Practical Applications: These findings can enrich construction safety management theory from a perspective of quantified fatigue and facilitate safety management practices on construction sites, thus contributing to the body of knowledge and practices of construction safety management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-468
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Construction workers
  • Fatigue measurement
  • Physical and mental fatigue
  • Safety management
  • Unsafe behavior

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