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Comparison of ergonomist, supervisor, and worker assessments of work-related musculoskeletal risk factors.
Winnemuller LL; Spielholz PO; Daniell WE; Kaufman JD
J Occup Environ Hyg 2004 Jun; 1(6):414-422
In primary prevention efforts to reduce the incidence of work-related musculoskeletal disease (MSD), many employers will use supervisor or worker assessments for initial evaluation of MSD risk factors. This cross-sectional study examined the ability of supervisors and workers to accurately assess the presence of MSD risk factors at four work sites in four different industries, examining five jobs that represented six primary categories of risk factors: posture, force, repetition, impact, lifting, and vibration. Thirty-seven supervisors and 55 workers assessed the jobs they oversee or perform through the use of a 14-item questionnaire. Their assessments were compared with detailed ergonomist job analyses to determine their accuracy in identifying the presence or absence of MSD risk factors. In assessing the absence or presence of all risk factors, agreement with the ergonomist was found 81% of the time for supervisors and 77% of the time for workers. Overall, supervisors and workers overestimated the presence of risk in assessing the jobs. Supervisors and worker assessments appear promising in recognizing risk in initial ergonomic assessments.
Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Ergonomics; Supervisory-personnel; Work-operations; Work-performance; Work-practices; Exposure-assessment; Risk-analysis; Work-analysis; Job-analysis; Repetitive-work; Force; Posture; Manual-lifting; Vibration; Employee-exposure; Health-surveys; Questionnaires; Risk-factors; Author Keywords: employer assessment; ergonomics; regulation; risk factors
Joel Kaufman, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Box 357234, Seattle, WA 98195-7234
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
University of Washington
Page last reviewed: May 22, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division