Comparison of Anthropometry of U.S. Electric Utility Field-Workers With North American General Populations
Objective: The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether conventional anthropometric databases of the U.S. general population are applicable to the population of U.S. electric utility field-workers.
Background: On the basis of anecdotal observations, field-workers for electric power utilities were thought to be generally taller and larger than the general population. However, there were no anthropometric data available on this population, and it was not known whether the conventional anthropometric databases could be used to design for this population.
Method: For this study, 3 standing and 11 sitting anthropometric measurements were taken from 187 male field-workers from three electric power utilities located in the upper Midwest of the United States and Southern California. The mean and percentile anthropometric data from field-workers were compared with seven well-known conventional anthropometric databases for North American males (United States, Canada, and Mexico).
Results: In general, the male field-workers were taller and heavier than the people in the reference databases for U.S. males.The field-workers were up to 2.3 cm taller and 10 kg to 18 kg heavier than the averages of the reference databases.
Conclusion: This study was justified, as it showed that the conventional anthropometric databases of the general population underestimated the size of electric utility field-workers, particularly with respect to weight.
Application: When designing vehicles and tools for electric utility field-workers, designers and ergonomists should consider the population being designed for and the data from this study to maximize safety, minimize risk of injuries, and optimize performance.