Work routinization and implications for ergonomic exposure assessment.
Gold-JE; Park-J-S; Punnett-L
Ergonomics 2006 Jan; 49(1):12-27
Jobs in many modern settings, including manufacturing, service, agriculture and construction, are variable in their content and timing. This prompts the need for exposure assessment methods that do not assume regular work cycles. A scheme is presented for classifying levels of routinization to inform development of an appropriate exposure assessment strategy for a given occupational setting. Five levels of routinization have been defined based on the tasks of which the job is composed: 1) a single scheduled task with a regular work cycle; 2) multiple cyclical tasks; 3) a mix of cyclical and non-cyclical tasks; 4) one non-cyclical task; 5) multiple non-cyclical tasks. This classification, based primarily on job observation, is illustrated through data from a study of automobile manufacturing workers (n = 1200), from which self-assessed exposures to physical and psychosocial stressors were also obtained. In this cohort, decision latitude was greater with higher routinization level (p < 0.0001), and the least routinized jobs showed the lowest self-reported exposure to physical ergonomic stressors. The job analysis checklist developed for non-routinized jobs is presented, and limitations of the task analysis method utilized in the study are discussed. A work sampling approach to job analysis is recommended as the most efficient way to obtain a comparable unbiased exposure estimate across all routinization levels.
Exposure-assessment; Ergonomics; Occupational-exposure; Workplace-studies; Workplace-monitoring; Risk-analysis; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Humans
University of Massachusetts, Lowell