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Variability in body size and shape of UK offshore workers: a cluster analysis approach.

Stewart, Arthur; Ledingham, Robert; Williams, Hector


Arthur Stewart

Robert Ledingham

Hector Williams


Male UK offshore workers have enlarged dimensions compared with UK norms and knowledge of specific sizes and shapes typifying their physiques will assist a range of functions related to health and ergonomics. A representative sample of the UK offshore workforce (n=588) underwent 3D photonic scanning, from which 19 extracted dimensional measures were used in k-means cluster analysis to characterise physique groups. Of the 11 resulting clusters four somatotype groups were expressed: one cluster was muscular and lean, four had greater muscularity than adiposity, three had equal adiposity and muscularity and three had greater adiposity than muscularity. Some clusters appeared constitutionally similar to others, differing only in absolute size. These cluster centroids represent an evidence-base for future designs in apparel and other applications where body size and proportions affect functional performance. They also constitute phenotypic evidence providing insight into the ‘offshore culture’ which may underpin the enlarged dimensions of offshore workers.


STEWART, A., LEDINGHAM, R. and WILLIAMS, H. 2017. Variability in body size and shape of UK offshore workers: a cluster analysis approach. Applied ergonomics [online], 58, pages 265-272. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 5, 2016
Online Publication Date Jul 17, 2016
Publication Date Jan 1, 2017
Deposit Date Aug 22, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 18, 2017
Journal Applied Ergonomics
Print ISSN 0003-6870
Electronic ISSN 1872-9126
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 58
Pages 265-272
Keywords Offshore workers; Body size; Body shape; 3D scanning; Cluster analysis
Public URL


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