Metabolic energy cost of workers in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, tourism, and transportation industries

Ind Health. 2019 Jun 4;57(3):283-305. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.2018-0075. Epub 2018 Jul 28.


The assessment of energy cost (EC) at the workplace remains a key topic in occupational health due to the ever-increasing prevalence of work-related issues. This review provides a detailed list of EC estimations in jobs/tasks included in tourism, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and transportation industries. A total of 61 studies evaluated the EC of 1,667 workers while performing a large number of tasks related to each of the aforementioned five industries. Agriculture includes the most energy-demanding jobs (males: 6.0 ± 2.5 kcal/min; females: 2.9 ± 1.0 kcal/min). Jobs in the construction industry were the 2nd most demanding (males: 4.9 ± 1.6 kcal/min; no data for females). The industry with the 3rd highest EC estimate was manufacturing (males: 3.8 ± 1.1 kcal/min; females: 3.0 ± 1.3 kcal/min). Transportation presented relatively moderate EC estimates (males: 3.1 ± 1.0 kcal/min; no data for females). Tourism jobs demonstrated the lowest EC values (2.5 ± 0.9 kcal/min for males and females). It is hoped that this information will aid the development of future instruments and guidelines aiming to protect workers' health, safety, and productivity. Future research should provide updated EC estimates within a wide spectrum of occupational settings taking into account the sex, age, and physiological characteristics of the workers as well as the individual characteristics of each workplace.

Keywords: Energy expenditure; Industry; Labour; Metabolic rate; Physical activity; Work intensity; Workload.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Construction Industry / statistics & numerical data
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Farmers / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manufacturing Industry / statistics & numerical data
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Restaurants / statistics & numerical data
  • Transportation / statistics & numerical data
  • Workload*