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Title: A study of the performance of office workers descending multiple flights of stairs in high rise office buildings in trial evacuations
Author: MacLennan, H. A.
Awarding Body: University of Salford
Current Institution: University of Salford
Date of Award: 2013
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Aim: The Aim of this PhD study is to study the performance of mature age office workers descending multiple flights of stairs in trial evacuations of high rise office buildings in the context of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Method: A case study process coupled with mixed methods data collection and analysis was selected with the unit of analysis being the office worker descending the stairs. An Exploratory case study involving the reanalysis of data from a similar study was undertaken to confirm the selection of the research method. Six high rise buildings were selected varying from 7 to 36 storeys . Trial evacuations were held and data collected via survey, observation and physical assessment. Two explanatory case studies involving a Delphi group and focus groups classified the main contextual issues as the intrinsic ones of the occupant and the extrinsic ones of Stair Design and Construction, Others on the Stairs and Management/ Maintenance. The other explanatory study comprised a directed content analysis of a two extremely relevant media documents related to multiple flight stair descent. The data was analysed and findings established by generalisation where trends could be explained quantitatively and otherwise via triangulation. Results and Conclusions: Fatigue predicting descent performance ability was determined by triangulation and generalisation. Density could mask fatigue as the result of delays that would allow people to descend at more slowly. Descent performance ability for 50% of the population was 300 metres in 1980 reducing to 240 metres in 2010. The risk of falling related directly to this distance and the spiralling action of turning at each landing . Triangulation showed this action increased the risk of vertigo and dizziness as well as the impact of increased BMI and health conditions on stability. The significant (p<.05) contextual extrinsic factors were found to be stair descent risk, need for clear visibility and support from reachable handrails, trial evacuation strategies and procedures and group dynamics. There are other less significant findings explained by context and the “cause and effect directed” case study research method.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Built and Human Environment