Social distancing and wearing of the face masks are mandatory in all the workplaces since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. To guarantee workers' safety, it could be useful to analyze the influence of the face mask use on physiological parameters during working activities. This paper aims at collecting and comparing both objective and subjective measurements during lifting and moving a light load (3 kg) in two working conditions: with and without a N95 face mask. The recorded physiological measures are the cardiac and respiratory activity, the skin temperature and the muscular activation. They are synchronously collected via an integrated wearable and unobtrusive sensory system. Moreover, the Borg scale is used to estimate the perceived exertion of the participants during the execution of the working activity. The analysis carried out in this work pointed out some statistically significant differences in the physiological measures due to an increased physical workload experimented by the volunteers when wearing the face mask. In addition, the correlation between the Borg scale and the monitored physiological measurements does not change significantly in the two experimented conditions. Moreover, the strong correlation between perceived exertion and physiological parameters demonstrates that the Borg scale remains an excellent method for estimating the level of perceived strain. Finally, even though some physiological differences can occur when wearing a face mask, its usefulness as personal protective equipment remains undisputed.

Analysis of physiological parameters and workload during working tasks in COVID-19 pandemic conditions

Cordella F.;Zollo L.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Social distancing and wearing of the face masks are mandatory in all the workplaces since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. To guarantee workers' safety, it could be useful to analyze the influence of the face mask use on physiological parameters during working activities. This paper aims at collecting and comparing both objective and subjective measurements during lifting and moving a light load (3 kg) in two working conditions: with and without a N95 face mask. The recorded physiological measures are the cardiac and respiratory activity, the skin temperature and the muscular activation. They are synchronously collected via an integrated wearable and unobtrusive sensory system. Moreover, the Borg scale is used to estimate the perceived exertion of the participants during the execution of the working activity. The analysis carried out in this work pointed out some statistically significant differences in the physiological measures due to an increased physical workload experimented by the volunteers when wearing the face mask. In addition, the correlation between the Borg scale and the monitored physiological measurements does not change significantly in the two experimented conditions. Moreover, the strong correlation between perceived exertion and physiological parameters demonstrates that the Borg scale remains an excellent method for estimating the level of perceived strain. Finally, even though some physiological differences can occur when wearing a face mask, its usefulness as personal protective equipment remains undisputed.
978-1-6654-1980-2
BORG Scale
COVID-19
Face Masks
Physiological Monitoring
Workers
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12610/67585
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