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Assessing the effects of positive feedback and reinforcement in the introduction phase of an ergonomic intervention.
Brandenburg DL; Mirka GA
Hum Factors 2005 Sep-Nov; 47(3):526-535
Resistance to change is common in ergonomic interventions, often resulting in negative consequences when the intervention's effectiveness is studied. A lab-based study assessed the effects of positive reinforcement during the intervention process. On Day 1 all participants performed a simple screw-driving task that placed stress on the cervicobrachial region through static loading. On Day 2 a control group received basic information about ergonomics and then performed the task using an ergonomic intervention that has been shown to reduce loading on these muscle groups. The experimental group received the same basic information but also received positive reinforcement while performing the task with the ergonomic intervention. Subjective task assessment surveys and body-part discomfort surveys were administered, and these, along with speed of performance, were assessed in both groups. The results showed a significantly (p < .05) more positive subjective impression of the intervention for the feedback group than for the control group (29%-57% improvement) with no real changes in either the performance or discomfort levels. Applications of this research include improving workers' acceptance of ergonomic interventions in industrial and other settings. The reinforcement technique evaluated in this paper has yielded consistently positive effects in our ongoing ergonomic intervention research.
Ergonomics; Laboratory-testing; Muscles; Muscle-stress; Feedback-controls
Issue of Publication
East Carolina University
Page last reviewed: March 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division