Self-recordings of upper arm elevation during cleaning – comparison between analyses using a simplified reference posture and a standard reference posture
BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
To reduce ergonomic risk factors in terms of awkward and constrained postures and high velocities, it is important to perform adequate risk assessments. Technical methods provide objective measures of physical workload. These methods have so far mainly been used by researchers. However, if written instructions how to apply the sensors and how to adopt the reference posture are provided, together with triaxial accelerometers, it may be possible for employees to record their own physical
... n physical workload. The exposure in terms of e.g. upper arm elevations could then easily be assessed for all workers in a workplace. The main aims of this study were: 1) to compare analyses for self-recording of upper arm elevation during work using a simplified reference posture versus using a standard reference posture, and 2) to compare the two reference postures. Methods: Twenty-eight cleaners attached an accelerometer to their dominant upper arm and adopted a simplified reference according to a written instruction. They were thereafter instructed by a researcher to adopt a standard reference. Upper arm elevations were recorded for 2 or 3 days. Each recording was analysed twice; relative to the simplified reference posture and relative to the standard reference posture. The group means of the differences in recorded upper arm elevations between simplified and standard reference analyses were assessed using Wilcoxon signed ranks test. Furthermore, we calculated the group mean of the differences between the simplified reference posture and the standard reference posture. Results: For arm elevation during work (50 th percentile), the group mean of the differences between the two analyses was 0.2°(range -7 -10°). The group mean of the differences between the two references was 9°(range 1 -21°). The subjects were able to follow the instructions in the protocol and performed self-recording of upper arm elevation and velocity. Conclusions: The small difference between the two analyses indicates that recordings performed by employees themselves are comparable, on a group level, with those performed by researchers. Self-recordings in combination with action levels would provide employers with a method for risk assessment as a solid basis for prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.