The impact of fatigue on shipyard welding workers' occupational health and safety and performance

D. Okumus, S. Fariya, S. Tamer, S.A. Gunbeyaz, G. Yildiz, R.E. Kurt, B. Barlas

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Welding processes are critical for shipbuilding operations in shipyards. Welders’ performance is critical for the quality and speed of the welding; on the other hand, welding requires awkward and repetitive body postures for long durations, which has a negative impact on the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) of the welding workers. This study, therefore, investigates the long-term impact of welding workload on the body for different age groups and experience levels, as well as the long-term impact on chronic fatigue and inter-shift recovery. In order to determine the impact, this study conducted a comprehensive data collection campaign in the shipyard through observation and questionnaires. Results indicate that the eyes, knee, neck and waist are the most discomforted body parts for investigated welding positions. The age of welders was an important parameter of the most affected body part.

Moreover, the short-term fatigue impact on welding performance was also investigated to identify the impact on productivity. The Discrete event simulation (Rockwell ARENA) demonstrated that efficiency loss from short-term daily fatigue is around 22,9% compared to the rested condition. The main contribution of this study was investigating fatigue impact on OHS and productivity for selected shipbuilding tasks. The findings of this study can be utilised for shipyard production capacity and resource planning and OHS improvements. The results can also be used further as a coefficient of performance in the production simulation analysis when studying shipyard efficiency. This is a valuable contribution to the literature on shipyard productivity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115296
Number of pages10
JournalOcean Engineering
Issue numberPart 1
Early online date12 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023


  • shipyard
  • welding
  • worker-fatigue
  • welding performance
  • ergonomics


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