Test-retest reliability, validity, and responsiveness of a textile-based wearable sensor for real-time assessment of physical fatigue in construction bar-benders

Shahnawaz Anwer*, Heng Li, Maxwell Fordjour Antwi-Afari, Waleed Umer, Imran Mehmood, Mohamed Al-Hussein, Arnold Yu Lok Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While recent studies have shown that wearable sensing technology has the potential to facilitate the evaluation of physical fatigue, the reliability and validity of such measurements during construction tasks have not been reported. Thus, the primary objective of the current study is to establish absolute and relative reliability of textile-based wearable sensors to monitor physical fatigue during bar bending and fixing construction tasks. The secondary objective is to establish correlations between physiological parameters and subjective fatigue scores or blood lactate levels in order to demonstrate the convergent validity. Physiological parameters such as heart rate, breathing rate, and skin temperature were evaluated using textile-based wearable sensors. The test-retest reliability (intra-class correlation coefficient - ICC) values of the measured resting and working heart rate (ICC = 0.73 and 0.85), breathing rate (ICC = 0.78 and 0.82), and skin temperature (ICC = 0.68 and 0.77) were moderate to good and good, respectively. There were moderate to excellent correlations (r-values ranging from 0.414 to 0.940) between physiological parameters and subjective fatigue scores, although there were no correlations between any physiological parameters and blood lactate levels. Both laboratory and field data substantiated that the wearable sensing system has the potential to be a reliable noninvasive device to monitor physical fatigue (especially among workers at risk of sustaining fatigue-related injury due to advanced age, poor health, or job nature. However, because the current study validated the system exclusively in bar benders, additional research is necessary to confirm the findings in other construction workers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103348
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Early online date27 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Funding: The authors acknowledged the following two funding grants: 1. General Research Fund (GRF) Grant (BRE/PolyU 152047/19E) entitled “In Search of a Suitable Tool for Proactive Physical Fatigue Assessment: An Invasive to Non-invasive Approach”; and 2. General Research Fund (GRF) Grant (BRE/PolyU 15210720) entitled “The development and validation of a noninvasive tool to monitor mental and physical stress in construction workers”.


  • Wearable sensors
  • Physiological parameters
  • Fatigue
  • Reliability
  • Validity
  • Construction safety


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