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Updating reference values and predictive models of the OCRA method in the risk assessment of work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the upper limbs

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A database has been established combining existing data for 23 groups of workers with different level of exposure to repetitive movements of the upper limbs. For all groups, data were available regarding an exposure index (OCcupational Repetitive Actions - OCRA index) and clinically determined UL-WMSDs outcomes (PA = Prevalence of workers affected by one or more UL-WMSDs; PC = Prevalence of single diagnosed cases of an UL-WMSDs). Using these data, new critical values of the OCRA index have been estimated for discriminating different exposure levels (green, yellow, red areas) and new forecasting models of expected PA and PC in exposed populations based on OCRA exposure indexes. The new critical values of the OCRA index were estimated by an original approach in which data for the effect variable (PA) in a reference population not exposed to the relevant risks are combined with the regression function between OCRA and PA. The best simple regression functions between OCRA exposure indexes and health outcomes variables (PA; PC) were researched to obtain forecasting models of effects starting from exposure. Discussion of the results obtained considers their intrinsic limitations, as they are based on prevalence studies, as well as providing recommendations and cautions in the use of the proposed classification system and forecasting models when the OCRA method is applied.
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Keywords: Exposure index; Repetitive movements; Risk assessment; UL-WMSDs

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Research Unit 'Ergonomics of Posture and Movement, Foundation 'IRCCS Policlinico-Mangiagalli-Regina Elena' and Foundation 'Don Gnocchi-onlus', Milano, Italy

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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