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  • 1.
    Arvidsson, Inger
    et al.
    Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.
    Hansson, Gert-Åke
    Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.
    Mathiassen, Svend Erik
    University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research. University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Occupational health science.
    Skerfving, Staffan
    Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.
    Changes in physical workload with implementation of mouse-based information technology in air traffic control2006In: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, ISSN 0169-8141, E-ISSN 1872-8219, Vol. 36, no 7, p. 613-622Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Effects on physical workload were quantified when introducing new information technology in air traffic control. Seven female and seven male air traffic controllers were studied in an old control system, and during simulated - but similar - work in a new, mouse-based system. Postures, movements and muscular load were recorded (inclinometry for head, neck, back and upper arms; goniometry for wrists; electromyography for the trapezius and forearm extensor muscles). The new system was associated with lower movement velocities than the old one (examples; [50th percentiles] head flexion: 2 vs. 5 o/s, P<0.01; right arm elevation: 3 vs. 6 o/s; P<0.01; [90th percentile] wrist flexion: 19 vs. 50 o/s, P<0.01), less varying postures (head: 95th-5th percentile range 17° vs. 34o; P<0.01), and less muscular rest in the right forearm extensors (3.5 vs. 9% of time; P<0.05). The old/new system differences were amplified at high work intensities. The new air traffic control system caused a major change of physical exposures, probably associated with an increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders in arms and hands.

    Relevance to industry

    While this study concerned the specific changes in the introduction of a new air traffic control system, we believe that the findings are applicable to similar technological developments in other settings.

  • 2.
    Crenshaw, Albert G.
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, CBF. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
    Komandur, S.
    Dep of Industrial Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle.
    Johnson, P. W.
    Dep of Environmental and occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle.
    Finger flexor contractile properties and hemodynamics following a sustained submaximal contraction: A study using electrical stimulation and near-infrared spectroscopy2010In: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, ISSN 0169-8141, E-ISSN 1872-8219, Vol. 40, no 2, p. 153-160Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We examined the effect of a low-level sustained contraction on the muscle contractile properties, hemodynamics and oxygenation of the flexor digitorum superficialis muscle (FDS) of the finger. We tested the hypothesis that hemodynamics and oxygenation, reflecting the muscle metabolic characteristics, would recovery more quickly than the muscle contractile properties. Eleven subjects (26 ± 4 yrs) were equipped with electrodes for electrical stimulation and a near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) probe on the forearm over the FDS. The experimental protocol consisted of three baselines measurements (-60 min, -30 min, pre-exercise), immediately after a sustained 15-min contraction of the FDS at 10% maximal voluntary contraction (post-exercise), and after 30 min, 60 min and 120 min of recovery. For each time point, participants were subjected to a battery of test that included upper arm venous occlusion (at rest), a computer-mouse point and click task (standardized voluntary task), and electrical stimulation. For venous occlusion (50 mmHg, 1 min), slopes were calculated for NIRS-derived total hemoglobin (HbTslope) and deoxyhemoglobin (HHbslope) as estimates of blood flow and oxygen consumption, respectively. The computer-mouse task entailed using the mouse to point and click on targets presented on the screen during which NIRS signals were monitored for determination of change in total hemoglobin (ΔHbT) and oxygen saturation (ΔStO2%). Electrical stimulation (2 Hz, 5 trains of 15 twitches) provided twitch force (Tw-force), contraction time (CT) and one-half relaxation time (½RT) data. Statistical analysis revealed significant changes over time for all contractile parameters as well as for HHbslope (P < 0.05 for each). Post-hoc testing demonstrated significant decreases for Tw-force post-exercise and at 60 min; for CT at post-exercise, 30 min and 60 min; and for ½RT at post-exercise and at 30 min. HHbslope was significantly higher post-exercise as compared to pre-exercise. During the computer-mouse point and click task, no significant differences were detected forΔHbT, however,ΔStO2% showed a tendency to decrease, albeit not significant (P = 0.11). Further testing showedΔStO2% was significantly lower post-exercise and at 30 min as compared to pre-exercise. The present study shows that NIRS provides insight into muscle hemodynamics and oxygenation for low-level sustained activity to fatigue. The overall quick recovery of hemodynamic and oxygenation responses, and a more prolonged recovery of contractile responses confirms our hypothesis, and this may fit well with the classical definition of low frequency fatigue.

  • 3.
    Heiden, Marina
    et al.
    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.
    Zetterberg, Camilla
    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.
    Lindberg, Per
    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.
    Nylén, Per
    Swedish Work Environment Authority, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Hemphälä, Hillevi
    Division of Ergonomics and Aerosoltechnology, Design Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
    Validity of a computer-based risk assessment method for visual ergonomics2019In: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, ISSN 0169-8141, E-ISSN 1872-8219, Vol. 72, p. 180-187Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objective

    To describe the development of a computer-based risk assessment method for visual ergonomics, and assess its face validity, content validity, and internal consistency.

    Methods

    The risk assessment method contained a questionnaire for the worker, an evaluation form for the evaluator, a section of follow-up questions based on the worker's responses, and a section for recommended changes, including an overall risk assessment with respect to daylight, lighting, illuminance, glare, flicker, work space, work object and work postures, respectively. Forty-eight trained evaluators used the method to perform 224 workplace evaluations. Content validity of the method was assessed by the completeness and distribution of responses, and internal consistency was assessed by Cronbach's alpha, Spearman's rank correlation between items and indices, and exploratory factor analysis.

    Results

    The proportion of missing values in items was generally low (questionnaire: 0–2.3%; evaluation form: 1.4–4.1%). In the questionnaire, items about double vision, migraine and corrective lenses had limited information content. Cronbach's alpha and item-index correlations for the indices frequency of eyestrain, intensity of eyestrain, visual symptoms, lighting conditions, frequency of musculoskeletal discomfort and intensity of musculoskeletal discomfort were satisfactory. Based on the factor analysis, suggestions for improving some of the indices were made.

    Conclusion

    Our findings suggest that this computer-based method is a valid instrument for assessing risks in the visual work environment. By incorporating subjective ratings by the worker as well as objective measurements of the work environment, it provides a good basis for recommendations with respect to daylight, lighting, work surfaces/material, and work object.

    Relevance to industry

    Visual environment factors, such as glare, can cause eyestrain, headache and musculoskeletal discomfort. This method satisfies the need of a valid tool for determining risks associated with the visual work environment. It contains both worker's ratings and objective measurements, and is designed to be used in different types of work.

  • 4.
    Hägg, Göran
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, CBF. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
    Kihlstedt, Annika
    School of Technology and Health, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.
    Checkout cashier work and counter design: Video movement analysis, musculoskeletal disorders and customer interaction2011In: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, ISSN 0169-8141, E-ISSN 1872-8219, Vol. 41, no 3, p. 201-207Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study was conducted in order to analyse checkout cashiers’ movements at a checkout counter during interaction with customers and the prevalence of work-related stress and musculoskeletal disorders in checkout cashiers. In one shop, six cashiers were videotaped during the workday, and 50 cashiers from seven shops from the same chain of stores responded a questionnaire. Cashier activities and movements, customer interaction and counter design issues were analysed from the video data. Prevalence of work-related stress and musculoskeletal disorders was obtained from the questionnaire. It was found that 76% of all items were manually turned or angled. With a better adjustment of the scanner and a standardised positioning of the EAN-code, many of these movements could be avoided. Furthermore the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders was quite high (68% for the neck). The questionnaire results showed that many cashiers experienced stress, giving a high percentage of cashiers in the “dedication under pressure” group. The behaviour of the customers was the major cause of stress. Other sources of stress arose from bad design or function of the computer system or other technical equipment.

    Relevance to industry: In this study several problems regarding cashier work were identified and solutions, relevant to counter and package designers, shop managers and cashiers are suggested. Data obtained on cashier movements and prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders are given.

  • 5.
    Jensen, B. R.
    et al.
    University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
    Krag, I. R.
    University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
    Bronée, L.
    University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
    Crenshaw, Albert G.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, CBF. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
    Tissue oxygenation and haemoglobin kinetics as a function of depth in two shoulder muscles differing in fibre-type composition2010In: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, ISSN 0169-8141, E-ISSN 1872-8219, Vol. 40, no 2, p. 135-139Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The main aim was to examine the effects of measurement depth on tissue oxygenation, and haemoglobin kinetics in the oxidative supraspinatus/trapezius muscle and in the deltoid muscle. Seven female subjects performed dynamic arm abductions (0.5 Hz) with an external load of 1.2 kg at level of the elbows. Tissue oxygenation (StO2) expressed as %StO2 saturation, total haemoglobin (HbT) , oxyhaemoglobin (HbO2) and deoxyhaemoglobin (Hb) were measured in two different measurement depth using near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). HbT reflects blood volume. Measurements were performed simultaneously in the supraspinatus/trapezius and in the anterior part of the deltoid muscles.

    The average StO2 level at rest was in general lower in the supraspinatus/trapezius muscles (67.7(5.3) % StO2) than in the deltoid muscle (85.4(4.4) % StO2). Submaximal dynamic arm abductions resulted in decreased StO2 in both muscles. However, the initial decrease was steeper and larger for the deltoid muscle than for the supraspinatus/trapezius region. Correspondingly, the initial reoxygenation in the recovery phase was faster for the deltoid muscle than for the supraspinatus/trapezius muscle.

    At rest no differences in StO2 were found with increasing measurement depth in any of the two muscles. However, during exercise StO2 decreased with increasing measurement depth in the deltoid muscle whereas StO2 was more homogeneous in the supraspinatus/trapezius muscle.

    Furthermore, HbT and HbO2 were largely maintained in the supraspinatus/trapezius muscle whereas HbT and HbO2 decreased during exercise and with increasing measurement depth (HbT) in the deltoid muscle. Hb increased during exercise in both muscles.

    The hemodynamic differential responses to exercise for the two regions may reflect a combined effect of differences in muscle fibre composition and a dependency of depth related changes in the intramuscular pressure during exercise. Thus, the supraspinatus/trapezius muscles seems to be more

    efficiently adapted to the oxygen demand during submaximal dynamic exercise than the deltoid muscle although the intramuscular pressure during the contractions is expected to be higher in the supraspinatus muscle than in the deltoid muscle.

    In conclusion, muscle hemodynamic responses to dynamic exercise are highly muscle specific and may be spatially homogeneous or inhomogeneous depending on the muscle

  • 6. Kazmierczak, K
    et al.
    Mathiassen, Svend Erik
    University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
    Neumann, P
    Winkel, J
    Observer reliability of industrial activity analysis based on video recordings2006In: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, ISSN 0169-8141, E-ISSN 1872-8219, Vol. 36, no 3, p. 275-282Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this study was to assess the agreement between observers analyzing activity patterns during truck engine assembly work based on video recordings. Two observers observed the recordings of nine workers, on the average 2.2 hours long, assigning activities to four activity categories. For each activity category data were obtained on the mean duration of uninterrupted sequences of activities and their relative time proportion in the job. This data was analyzed with 2-way crossed ANOVA algorithms to derive the components of variance attributed to disagreement between observers, to differences between filmed subjects, and to residual “unexplained” variance. The latter was interpreted as an estimate of within-observer variability and possible interactions between subject and observer. While the observers disagreed about the overall time proportions for the four activity categories by no more than 3.7% of time, their second-to-second classification disagreed for 13% of the total analysis time. The between-observer variance was small as compared to within-observer variance and the variance between subjects performing the same job. Simulations based on the variance components showed that a group mean of the proportion of direct work could be determined with a standard deviation within 5% of the mean by having two observers analyzing one two-hour video recording once, each.

    Relevance to industry

    The results of this study may support decision making when designing a reliable video based analysis of industrial work. Thus, the study helps production engineers, ergonomics practitioners and researchers allocate resources between data collection and data analysis, based on their preferences for precision and power of a particular study.

  • 7.
    Kjellberg, Anders
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Department of Technology and Built Environment, Ämnesavdelningen för inomhusmiljö.
    Wadman, Cecilia
    Department for Health Behaviours, Swedish National Institute of Public Health, Östersund, Sweden.
    The role of the affective stress response as a mediator of the effect of psychosocial risk factors on musculoskeletal complaints - Part 1: Assembly workers2007In: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, ISSN 0169-8141, E-ISSN 1872-8219, Vol. 37, no 4, p. 367-374Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This cross-sectional study of a group of assembly workers (n=289) tested the hypothesis that affective stress responses mediate the effect of psychosocial work conditions on musculoskeletal complaints (MSCs). Self-reported work demands, control, social support, stress, energy, and MSCs were analysed in hierarchical logistic regression analyses. High work demands were related to a higher risk of shoulder problems. Work demands and social support, but not control, were related to stress; and more musculoskeletal complaints were found in the group with high stress than in the low-stress group. The analyses supported the hypothesis that the effects of work demands on shoulder problems were mediated by the affective stress response, whereas this did not seem to be the case for the effect of social support and control conditions on neck problems. A weaker relation to psychosocial work conditions was shown for back problems than for shoulder and neck problems. Relevance to industry: Psychosocial work conditions have repeatedly been shown to be related to risk of musculoskeletal complaints. Individual subjective stress responses may help to identify those who are at risk with respect to shoulder complaints.

  • 8.
    Richter, Hans
    et al.
    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.
    Sundin, Sofia
    Long, Jennifer
    School of Optometry and Vision Science, UNSW Sydney, Australia; Jennifer Long Visual Ergonomics, Katoomba, NSW, Australia.
    Visually deficient working conditions and reduced work performance in office workers: Is it mediated by visual well-being and health?2019In: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, ISSN 0169-8141, E-ISSN 1872-8219, Vol. 72, p. 128-136Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Introduction: The main purpose of this cross-sectional study was to investigate whether visual well-being and health act as a mediating factor between perceived visual ergonomic working conditions and self-rated visual performance among office workers who perform administrative tasks and computer-based work at the Swedish Tax Agency.

    Methods: A questionnaire was sent to 94 office workers addressing: 1) perceived visual quality of the visual display units; 2) prevalence of eye symptoms; and 3) self-rated visual performance. Eighty-six persons (54 women (63 %), 31 men (36 %), and 1 of unspecified sex) answered the questionnaire. Multiple regression analysis investigated the association between visual ergonomic working conditions and visual performance, with and without visual well-being and health as a mediator.

    Results: The group mean of the Indexed survey questions indicated reasonably good quality visual ergonomic working conditions, a relative absence of eye symptoms, and acceptable self-rated visual performance. Results from multiple regression analysis showed a significant association between perceived visual ergonomic working conditions and self-rated visual performance (r2 = 0.30, β = 0.327, p < 0.01). When visual well-being and health was used as a mediator, the association between perceived visual ergonomic working conditions and self-rated visual performance remained the same (r2 = 0.32, β = 0.315, p < 0.01).

    Discussion: It was surprising to discover that self-rated visual performance  was independent of visual health and well-being. Possible explanations include exposure factors not included in the current study, such as dry air and sensory irritation in eyes, psychosocial stress, time spent performing near work activities or time exposed to visually deficient working conditions. The strong connection between satisfaction with visual ergonomics work conditions and productivity found in this study has implications for workplace profitability and staff satisfaction. If productivity of office workers is improved by better visual ergonomics work conditions, then managers within workplaces may be able to improve work outcomes by optimizing the physical work environment.

  • 9.
    Trask, Catherine
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, CBF. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
    Teschke, Kay
    University of British Columbia, Canada.
    Morrison, Jim
    Simon Fraser University, Canada.
    Johnson, Pete
    University of Washington, USA.
    Village, Judy
    University of British Columbia, Canada.
    Koehoorn, Mieke
    University of British Columbia, Canada.
    EMG estimated mean, peak, and cumulative spinal compression of workers  in five heavy industries2010In: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, ISSN 0169-8141, E-ISSN 1872-8219, Vol. 40, no 4, p. 448-454Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The goal of this study was to explore the use of compression-normalized electromyography (CNEMG) to estimate mean, peak, and cumulative loading of the low back in workers of five heavy industries using and to compare the estimates to the NIOSH guidelines. Full-shift (5.5 to 10.3 hours) EMG measurements were collected from 105 workers and transformed into units of low back compressive force (Newtons). The mean, peak, and cumulative CNEMG as well as the percentage of work time spent above 3400 N and 6800 N thresholds were calculated. Mean CNEMG (sd) was 1564 N (796), peak was 2721 (1545), and cumulative was 38 MN.sec (22). Mean time spent above the NIOSH threshold of 3400 N was on average 6.3% of shift, while mean time spent above the 6400 N threshold was around 1%. CNEMG allowed the feasible investigation of tasks and jobs that would be virtually impossible with more advanced biomechanical methods and represents a more objective measure of exposure than observation or self-report. CNEMG is a relatively new method with methodological limitations, however, CNEMG's strength may be as an objective, relative measure of exposure in studies where low back EMG is collected in a relatively systematic and structured manner.

  • 10.
    Wadman, Cecilia
    et al.
    Department for Health Behaviours, Swedish National Institute of Public Health, Östersund, Sweden.
    Kjellberg, Anders
    University of Gävle, Department of Technology and Built Environment, Ämnesavdelningen för inomhusmiljö.
    The role of the affective stress response as a mediator for the effect of psychosocial risk factors on musculoskeletal complaints - Part 2: Hospital workers2007In: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, ISSN 0169-8141, E-ISSN 1872-8219, Vol. 37, no 5, p. 395-403Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This cross-sectional study of 267 hospital workers from different professions tested the hypothesis that affective stress responses mediate the effects of the psychosocial work environment on musculoskeletal complaints (MSCs). Self-reported psychosocial conditions,ergonomic workloads, affective stress and energy responses, and MSCs were analysed with a series of logistic regression analyses. The psychosocial variables were strongly related to stress and energy, and stress was related to MSCs. Neck and shoulder complaints were more common in the group with high demands and low skill discretion. This was the only significant relation between psychosocial variables and MSCs that was not explained by their confounding with ergonomic workload. However, controlling for stress did not substantially reduce or reduce this interaction effect, which would have been the case if it had been mediated (completely or partially) by stress.

  • 11.
    Zetterberg, Camilla
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Occupational health science. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
    Heiden, Marina
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Occupational health science. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
    Lindberg, Per
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Occupational health science. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
    Nylén, Per
    Swedish Work Environment Authority, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Hemphälä, Hillevi
    Division of Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology, Design Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
    Reliability of a new risk assessment method for visual ergonomics2019In: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, ISSN 0169-8141, E-ISSN 1872-8219, Vol. 72, p. 71-79Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Introduction

    The Visual Ergonomics Risk Assessment Method (VERAM) is a newly developed and validated method to assess visual ergonomics at workplaces. VERAM consists of a questionnaire and an objective evaluation.

    Objective

    To evaluate reliability of VERAM by assessing test-retest reliability of the questionnaire, and intra- and inter-rater reliability of the objective evaluation.

    Methods

    Forty-eight trained evaluators used VERAM to evaluate visual ergonomics at 174 workstations. The time interval for test-retest and intra-rater evaluations was 2–3 weeks, and the time interval for inter-rater evaluations was 0–2 days. Test-retest reliability was assessed by intraclass correlation (ICC), the standard error of measurement (SEM) and the smallest detectable change (SDC). Intra- and inter-rater reliability were assessed with weighted kappa coefficients and absolute agreement. Systematic changes were analysed with repeated measures analyses of variance and Wilcoxon sign rank test.

    Results

    The ICC of the questionnaire indices ranged from 0.69 to 0.87, while SEM ranged from 7.21 to 10.19 on a scale from 1 to 100, and SDC from 14.42 to 20.37. Intra-rater reliability of objective evaluations ranged from 0.57 to 0.85 (kappa coefficients) and the agreement from 69 to 91%. Inter-rater reliability of objective evaluations ranged from 0.37 to 0.72 (kappa coefficients) and the agreement from 52 to 87%.

    Conclusion

    VERAM is a reliable instrument for assessing risks in visual work environments. However, the reliability might increase further by improving the quality of training for evaluators. Complementary evaluations of VERAM's sensitivity to changes in the visual environment are needed.

    Relevance to industry

    It is advantageous to set up a work environment for maximal visual comfort to avoid negative effects on work postures and movements and thus prevent visual- and musculoskeletal symptoms. This method, VERAM, satisfies the need of a valid and reliable tool for determining risks associated with the visual work environment.

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