Task exposures in an office environment: a comparison of methods.
Van Eerd-D; Hogg-Johnson-S; Mazumder-A; Cole-D; Wells-R; Moore-A
Ergonomics 2009 Oct; 52(10):1248-1258
Task-related factors such as frequency and duration are associated with musculoskeletal disorders in office settings. The primary objective was to compare various task recording methods as measures of exposure in an office workplace. A total of 41 workers from different jobs were recruited from a large urban newspaper (71% female, mean age 41 years SD 9.6). Questionnaire, task diaries, direct observation and video methods were used to record tasks. A common set of task codes was used across methods. Different estimates of task duration, number of tasks and task transitions arose from the different methods. Self-report methods did not consistently result in longer task duration estimates. Methodological issues could explain some of the differences in estimates seen between methods observed. It was concluded that different task recording methods result in different estimates of exposure likely due to different exposure constructs. This work addresses issues of exposure measurement in office environments. It is of relevance to ergonomists/researchers interested in how to best assess the risk of injury among office workers. The paper discusses the trade-offs between precision, accuracy and burden in the collection of computer task-based exposure measures and different underlying constructs captures in each method.
Ergonomics; Task-performance; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Employee-exposure; Office-workers; Job-analysis; Workplace-studies; Newspapers; Health-surveys; Questionnaires; Recording-systems; Visual-images; Analytical-processes; Computer-equipment; Computers; Risk-analysis; Injury-prevention; Biomechanics;
Author Keywords: ergonomic tools and methods; injury risks; office ergonomics; computer workstations; upper limb disorders
Dwayne Van Eerd, Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Canada
The Institute for Work and Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada