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The Role of Work Experience on Hazard Identification: Assessing the Mediating Effect of Inattention Under Fall-Hazard ConditionsOne of the main contributors to the human errors that lead to catastrophic injuries in the construction workplace is the failure to identify hazards as a result of poor attention or cognitive lapses. To address this safety concern, the present study used eye-tracking technology to assess how the association between work experience and hazard identification may be mediated due to inattention. A mediation analysis was conducted and tested using a bias-corrected bootstrapping technique with 5000 resamples. The results estimate the direct and indirect effects of work experience on the hazard identification skills of construction workers observing varying hazardous conditions. The results of the mediation analysis confirm that inattention—demonstrated via inattentiveness toward hazards—mediates the relationship between work experience and hazard identification. Specifically, though work experience and dwell time positively correlate with hazard identification, the direct effect of work experience on hazard identification is attenuated with the inclusion of the mediator variables in the model, thus suggesting attentional impairment offsets the benefits of work experience. The outcomes of this study will enable researchers and safety practitioners to harness real-time eye-movement patterns to identify the precursors of cognitive failure, deficient attentional allocation, and poor visual search strategies, all of which may put workersmore »
Cognitive processes have been found to contribute substantially to the human errors that lead to construction accidents. Working memory—a cognitive system with a limited capacity that is responsible for temporarily holding information available for processing—plays an important role in reasoning and decision-making. Since eye movements indicate where a worker directs his/her attention, tracking such movements provides a practical way to measure workers’ attention and comprehension of construction hazards. As a departure in construction industry research, this study correlates attentional allocation 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 and evaluates 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 the 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 memorymore »