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Task based exposure assessment in ergonomic epidemiology: a study of upper arm elevation in the jobs of machinists, car mechanics, and house painters

Svendsen, S W; Mathiassen, Svend Erik LU and Bonde, J P (2005) In Occupational and Environmental Medicine 62(1). p.18-26
Abstract
Aims: To explore the precision of task based estimates of upper arm elevation in three occupational groups, compared to direct measurements of job exposure. Methods: Male machinists (n = 26), car mechanics ( n = 23), and house painters ( n = 23) were studied. Whole day recordings of upper arm elevation were obtained for four consecutive working days, and associated task information was collected in diaries. For each individual, task based estimates of job exposure were calculated by weighting task exposures from a collective database by task proportions according to the diaries. These estimates were validated against directly measured job exposures using linear regression. The performance of the task based approach was expressed through... (More)
Aims: To explore the precision of task based estimates of upper arm elevation in three occupational groups, compared to direct measurements of job exposure. Methods: Male machinists (n = 26), car mechanics ( n = 23), and house painters ( n = 23) were studied. Whole day recordings of upper arm elevation were obtained for four consecutive working days, and associated task information was collected in diaries. For each individual, task based estimates of job exposure were calculated by weighting task exposures from a collective database by task proportions according to the diaries. These estimates were validated against directly measured job exposures using linear regression. The performance of the task based approach was expressed through the gain in precision of occupational group mean exposures that could be obtained by adding subjects with task based estimates to a group of subjects with measured job exposures in a "validation'' design. Results: In all three occupations, tasks differed in mean exposure, and task proportions varied between individuals. Task based estimation proved inefficient, with squared correlation coefficients only occasionally exceeding 0.2 for the relation between task based and measured job exposures. Consequently, it was not possible to substantially improve the precision of an estimated group mean by including subjects whose job exposures were based on task information. Conclusions: Task based estimates of mechanical job exposure can be very imprecise, and only marginally better than estimates based on occupation. It is recommended that investigators in ergonomic epidemiology consider the prospects of task based exposure assessment carefully before placing resources at obtaining task information. Strategies disregarding tasks may be preferable in many cases. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
volume
62
issue
1
pages
18 - 26
publisher
BMJ Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • wos:000225866100006
  • pmid:15613604
  • scopus:11344269178
ISSN
1470-7926
DOI
10.1136/oem.2004.015966
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3f1c5600-413e-444e-b645-cf402ab7514b (old id 258265)
date added to LUP
2007-10-05 15:51:07
date last changed
2017-07-09 04:22:01
@article{3f1c5600-413e-444e-b645-cf402ab7514b,
  abstract     = {Aims: To explore the precision of task based estimates of upper arm elevation in three occupational groups, compared to direct measurements of job exposure. Methods: Male machinists (n = 26), car mechanics ( n = 23), and house painters ( n = 23) were studied. Whole day recordings of upper arm elevation were obtained for four consecutive working days, and associated task information was collected in diaries. For each individual, task based estimates of job exposure were calculated by weighting task exposures from a collective database by task proportions according to the diaries. These estimates were validated against directly measured job exposures using linear regression. The performance of the task based approach was expressed through the gain in precision of occupational group mean exposures that could be obtained by adding subjects with task based estimates to a group of subjects with measured job exposures in a "validation'' design. Results: In all three occupations, tasks differed in mean exposure, and task proportions varied between individuals. Task based estimation proved inefficient, with squared correlation coefficients only occasionally exceeding 0.2 for the relation between task based and measured job exposures. Consequently, it was not possible to substantially improve the precision of an estimated group mean by including subjects whose job exposures were based on task information. Conclusions: Task based estimates of mechanical job exposure can be very imprecise, and only marginally better than estimates based on occupation. It is recommended that investigators in ergonomic epidemiology consider the prospects of task based exposure assessment carefully before placing resources at obtaining task information. Strategies disregarding tasks may be preferable in many cases.},
  author       = {Svendsen, S W and Mathiassen, Svend Erik and Bonde, J P},
  issn         = {1470-7926},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {18--26},
  publisher    = {BMJ Publishing Group},
  series       = {Occupational and Environmental Medicine},
  title        = {Task based exposure assessment in ergonomic epidemiology: a study of upper arm elevation in the jobs of machinists, car mechanics, and house painters},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oem.2004.015966},
  volume       = {62},
  year         = {2005},
}