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Validity of self-reported ergonomic exposure data among line-paced production workers.

MacDonald-LA; Petersen-M; Estill-C; Sweeney-M
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 9-15, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 1998 May; :24
An investigation was conducted at an appliance manufacturing facility to examine the concordance between self-reported ergonomic exposure and exposure data collected by trained ergonomists. Data on exposure were obtained by two methods: (1) self-administered questionnaire and (2) direct observational assessment. Exposure characteristics included in the assessment were repetitive motion patterns of the hands and arms, postural conditions of the shoulders and torso, use of the hand as a hammer (impact force), power tool use, presence of tool suspension, and foot pedal use. For repetition and forward flexion of the torso, responses were categorized into low, moderate, and high. All other variables were dichotomous. Analysis was restricted to all nonrotating line-paced production workers (n=123). Kappa values and percentage agreement were obtained, with and without regard to symptom status. Moderate strength of agreement was found for the presence of tool suspension (kappa=0.49, 79% agreement). Based on kappa values, slight agreement (kappa=0.0 to 0.2) was found for repetition, shoulder elevation, deviations of the torso (moderate flexion, lateral, twist, and extension), and poor agreement (kappa < 0.0) was found for severe forward flexion of the torso, the three-level torso flexion variable, power tool use, impact force, and foot pedal use. As has been reported in other studies, a large discrepancy was found between the results obtained by use of the kappa statistic and the results obtained by percentage agreement, with percentage agreement values being inflated when the exposure event is rare. Presence of symptoms did not have a consistent influence on agreement. These results demonstrate the need to explore methods for improving agreement between self-reports and observational data, even for dichotomous level exposure variables.
Ergonomics; Repetitive-work; Industrial-factory-workers; Industrial-exposures; Industrial-processes; Health-surveys; Questionnaires; Workplace-monitoring; Work-performance; Exposure-assessment; Posture; Force; Humans; Body-regions; Extremities; Motion-studies; Tools; Power-tools; Statistical-analysis; Analytical-models; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 9-15, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia