Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rating Posture: The Bigger the Better

Applied ErgonomicsVolume 40, Issue 3, May 2009, Pages 371-378
Reliability of assessing upper limb postures among workers performing manufacturing tasks

Angela Dartta, , , John Rosecrancea, Fred Gerrb, Peter Chenc, Dan Antond and Linda Merlinob
aColorado State University, Occupational and Environmental Health Section, ERHS, Environmental Health Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
bUniversity of Iowa, Occupational and Environmental Health, IREH, Iowa City, IA 52245, USA
cColorado State University, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Clark Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
dEastern Washington University, Department of Physical Therapy, Spokane, WA 99202 USA

The purpose of this study was to determine the inter- and intra-rater reliability of assessing upper limb postures of workers performing manufacturing tasks. Assessment of neck, shoulder, and wrist postures of 20 manufacturing employees was conducted by two raters observing digital video files using Multimedia Video Task Analysis (MVTA). Generalizability theory was used to estimate the inter- and intra-rater reliability. The results demonstrated good to excellent inter-rater reliability for neck and shoulder postures and fair to excellent inter-rater reliability for wrist postures. Intra-rater posture assessment demonstrated good to excellent reliability for both raters in all postures of the neck, shoulder, and wrist. This study demonstrated that posture assessment of manufacturing workers using MVTA is a reliable method.
BrooklynDodger(s) comment: Was this a doctoral project, or a master's essay? Posture assessment for hand work is a challenge in ergonomic studies. Not surprisingly, ratings were more consistent for the big stuff - head and neck - than the wrist. Although these raters did pretty well with the wrist. This provides important support for an ergonomic standard. The Dodger(s) wonder how trained hourly workers would have done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Author responding. This was a master's project. Thanks for your comments. It is indeed very difficult to assess posture in the workplace, based on the limited and expensive direct reading instrumentation. We rely heavily on subjective judgments. I am finalizing an expanded project into rater reliability. Both studies involved students paid hourly. Currently, I am using direct reading instrumentation to study posture. I will be comparing this to subjective observation.