Systematic evaluation of observational methods assessing biomechanical exposures at work

Esa-Pekka Takala, Irmeli Pehkonen, Mikael Forsman, Gert-Ake Hansson, Svend Erik Mathiassen, W Patrick Neumann, Gisela Sjøgaard, Kaj Bo Veiersted, Rolf H Westgaard, Jørgen Winkel

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: This systematic review aimed to identify published observational methods assessing biomechanical exposures in occupational settings and evaluate them with reference to the needs of different users. METHODS: We searched scientific databases and the internet for material from 1965 to September 2008. Methods were included if they were primarily based on the systematic observation of work, the observation target was the human body, and the method was clearly described in the literature. A systematic evaluation procedure was developed to assess concurrent and predictive validity, repeatability, and aspects related to utility. At least two evaluators independently carried out this evaluation. RESULTS: We identified 30 eligible observational methods. Of these, 19 had been compared with some other method(s), varying from expert evaluation to data obtained from video recordings or through the use of technical instruments. Generally, the observations showed moderate to good agreement with the corresponding assessments made from video recordings; agreement was the best for large-scale body postures and work actions. Postures of wrist and hand as well as trunk rotation seemed to be more difficult to observe correctly. Intra- and inter-observer repeatability were reported for 7 and 17 methods, respectively, and were judged mostly to be good or moderate. CONCLUSIONS: With training, observers can reach consistent results on clearly visible body postures and work activities. Many observational tools exist, but none evaluated in this study appeared to be generally superior. When selecting a method, users should define their needs and assess how results will influence decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health
Volume36
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)3-24
Number of pages21
ISSN0355-3140
Publication statusPublished - 1. Jan 2010

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observational method
Video recording
posture
evaluation
Decision making
Internet
video recording
Video Recording
Observation
decision making
exposure
method
Occupational Exposure
Wrist
Human Body
expert
Databases

Keywords

  • Biomechanics
  • Humans
  • Observation
  • Occupational Medicine
  • Posture
  • Risk Assessment
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Upper Extremity
  • Workload

Cite this

Takala, E-P., Pehkonen, I., Forsman, M., Hansson, G-A., Mathiassen, S. E., Neumann, W. P., ... Winkel, J. (2010). Systematic evaluation of observational methods assessing biomechanical exposures at work. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 36(1), 3-24.
Takala, Esa-Pekka ; Pehkonen, Irmeli ; Forsman, Mikael ; Hansson, Gert-Ake ; Mathiassen, Svend Erik ; Neumann, W Patrick ; Sjøgaard, Gisela ; Veiersted, Kaj Bo ; Westgaard, Rolf H ; Winkel, Jørgen. / Systematic evaluation of observational methods assessing biomechanical exposures at work. In: Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health. 2010 ; Vol. 36, No. 1. pp. 3-24.
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Takala, E-P, Pehkonen, I, Forsman, M, Hansson, G-A, Mathiassen, SE, Neumann, WP, Sjøgaard, G, Veiersted, KB, Westgaard, RH & Winkel, J 2010, 'Systematic evaluation of observational methods assessing biomechanical exposures at work', Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 3-24.

Systematic evaluation of observational methods assessing biomechanical exposures at work. / Takala, Esa-Pekka; Pehkonen, Irmeli; Forsman, Mikael; Hansson, Gert-Ake; Mathiassen, Svend Erik; Neumann, W Patrick; Sjøgaard, Gisela; Veiersted, Kaj Bo; Westgaard, Rolf H; Winkel, Jørgen.

In: Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, Vol. 36, No. 1, 01.01.2010, p. 3-24.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Systematic evaluation of observational methods assessing biomechanical exposures at work

AU - Takala, Esa-Pekka

AU - Pehkonen, Irmeli

AU - Forsman, Mikael

AU - Hansson, Gert-Ake

AU - Mathiassen, Svend Erik

AU - Neumann, W Patrick

AU - Sjøgaard, Gisela

AU - Veiersted, Kaj Bo

AU - Westgaard, Rolf H

AU - Winkel, Jørgen

PY - 2010/1/1

Y1 - 2010/1/1

N2 - OBJECTIVES: This systematic review aimed to identify published observational methods assessing biomechanical exposures in occupational settings and evaluate them with reference to the needs of different users. METHODS: We searched scientific databases and the internet for material from 1965 to September 2008. Methods were included if they were primarily based on the systematic observation of work, the observation target was the human body, and the method was clearly described in the literature. A systematic evaluation procedure was developed to assess concurrent and predictive validity, repeatability, and aspects related to utility. At least two evaluators independently carried out this evaluation. RESULTS: We identified 30 eligible observational methods. Of these, 19 had been compared with some other method(s), varying from expert evaluation to data obtained from video recordings or through the use of technical instruments. Generally, the observations showed moderate to good agreement with the corresponding assessments made from video recordings; agreement was the best for large-scale body postures and work actions. Postures of wrist and hand as well as trunk rotation seemed to be more difficult to observe correctly. Intra- and inter-observer repeatability were reported for 7 and 17 methods, respectively, and were judged mostly to be good or moderate. CONCLUSIONS: With training, observers can reach consistent results on clearly visible body postures and work activities. Many observational tools exist, but none evaluated in this study appeared to be generally superior. When selecting a method, users should define their needs and assess how results will influence decision-making.

AB - OBJECTIVES: This systematic review aimed to identify published observational methods assessing biomechanical exposures in occupational settings and evaluate them with reference to the needs of different users. METHODS: We searched scientific databases and the internet for material from 1965 to September 2008. Methods were included if they were primarily based on the systematic observation of work, the observation target was the human body, and the method was clearly described in the literature. A systematic evaluation procedure was developed to assess concurrent and predictive validity, repeatability, and aspects related to utility. At least two evaluators independently carried out this evaluation. RESULTS: We identified 30 eligible observational methods. Of these, 19 had been compared with some other method(s), varying from expert evaluation to data obtained from video recordings or through the use of technical instruments. Generally, the observations showed moderate to good agreement with the corresponding assessments made from video recordings; agreement was the best for large-scale body postures and work actions. Postures of wrist and hand as well as trunk rotation seemed to be more difficult to observe correctly. Intra- and inter-observer repeatability were reported for 7 and 17 methods, respectively, and were judged mostly to be good or moderate. CONCLUSIONS: With training, observers can reach consistent results on clearly visible body postures and work activities. Many observational tools exist, but none evaluated in this study appeared to be generally superior. When selecting a method, users should define their needs and assess how results will influence decision-making.

KW - Biomechanics

KW - Humans

KW - Observation

KW - Occupational Medicine

KW - Posture

KW - Risk Assessment

KW - Task Performance and Analysis

KW - Upper Extremity

KW - Workload

M3 - Journal article

C2 - 19953213

VL - 36

SP - 3

EP - 24

JO - Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health

JF - Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health

SN - 0355-3140

IS - 1

ER -

Takala E-P, Pehkonen I, Forsman M, Hansson G-A, Mathiassen SE, Neumann WP et al. Systematic evaluation of observational methods assessing biomechanical exposures at work. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health. 2010 Jan 1;36(1):3-24.