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Cost and statistical efficiency of posture assessment by inclinometry and observation, exemplified by paper mill work
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational Health Science and Psychology, Occupational Health Science. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1443-6211
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational Health Science and Psychology, Occupational Health Science. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7261-3496
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational Health Science and Psychology, Occupational Health Science. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5055-0698
2023 (English)In: PLOS ONE, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 18, no 10, article id e0292261Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Postures at work are paramount in ergonomics. They can be determined using observation and inclinometry in a variety of measurement scenarios that may differ both in costs associated with collecting and processing data, and in efficiency, i.e. the precision of the eventual outcome. The trade-off between cost and efficiency has rarely been addressed in research despite the obvious interest of obtaining precise data at low costs. Median trunk and upper arm inclination were determined for full shifts in 28 paper mill workers using both observation and inclinometry. Costs were estimated using comprehensive cost equations; and efficiency, i.e. the inverted standard deviation of the group mean, was assessed on basis of exposure variance components. Cost and efficiency were estimated in simulations of six sampling scenarios: two for inclinometry (sampling from one or three shifts) and four for observation (one or three observers rating one or three shifts). Each of the six scenarios was evaluated for 1 through 50 workers. Cost-efficiency relationships between the scenarios were intricate. As an example, inclinometry was always more cost-efficient than observation for trunk inclination, except for observation strategies involving only few workers; while for arm inclination, observation by three observers of one shift per worker outperformed inclinometry on three shifts up to a budget of €20000, after which inclinometry prevailed. At a budget of €10000, the best sampling scenario for arm inclination was 2.5 times more efficient than the worst. Arm inclination could be determined with better cost-efficiency than trunk inclination. Our study illustrates that the cost-efficiency of different posture measurement strategies can be assessed and compared using easily accessible diagrams. While the numeric examples in our study are specific to the investigated occupation, exposure variables, and sampling logistics, we believe that inclinometry will, in general, outperform observation. In any specific case, we recommend a thorough analysis, using the comparison procedure proposed in the present study, of feasible strategies for obtaining data, in order to arrive at an informed decision support.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
PLOS , 2023. Vol. 18, no 10, article id e0292261
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Research subject
Health-Promoting Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-40999DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0292261ISI: 001082402300022PubMedID: 37788296Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85173062236OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-40999DiVA, id: diva2:1733652
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-1761Available from: 2023-02-02 Created: 2023-02-02 Last updated: 2023-11-16Bibliographically approved

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Mathiassen, Svend ErikWaleh Åström, AmandaStrömberg, AnnikaHeiden, Marina

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