Falls on the same level are a leading cause of non-fatal injuries in the construction industry, and loss of balance events are the primarily contributory risk factors associated with workers’ fall injuries. Previous studies have indicated that changes in biomechanical gait stability parameters provide substantial safety gait metrics for assessing workers’ fall risks. However, scant research has been conducted on changes in biomechanical gait stability parameters based on foot plantar pressure patterns to assess workers’ fall risks. This research examined the changes in spatial foot regions and loss of balance events associated with biomechanical gait stability parameters based on foot plantar pressure patterns measured by wearable insole pressure system. To test the hypotheses of this study, ten asymptomatic participants conducted laboratory simulated loss of balance events which are often initiated by extrinsic fall risk factors. Our results found: (1) statistically significant differences in biomechanical gait stability parameters between spatial foot regions, especially with the peak pressure parameter; and (2) statistically significant differences in biomechanical gait stability parameters between loss of balance events when compared to normal gait (baseline), especially with the pressure-time integral parameter. Overall, the findings of this study not only provide useful safety gait metrics for early detection of specific spatial foot regions but also allow safety managers to understand the mechanism of loss of balance events in order to implement proactive fall-prevention strategies.
- Biomechanical gait stability parameters
- Extrinsic fall risk factors
- Foot plantar pressure patterns
- Loss of balance events
- Wearable insole pressure system