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Inter-rater reliability of PATH observations for assessment of ergonomic risk factors in hospital work

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This study examined the inter-rater reliability of expert observations of ergonomic risk factors by four analysts. Ten jobs were observed at a hospital using a newly expanded version of the PATH method (Buchholz et al. 1996), to which selected upper extremity exposures had been added. Two of the four raters simultaneously observed each worker onsite for a total of 443 observation pairs containing 18 categorical exposure items each. For most exposure items, kappa coefficients were 0.4 or higher. For some items, agreement was higher both for the jobs with less rapid hand activity and for the analysts with a higher level of ergonomic job analysis experience. These upper extremity exposures could be characterised reliably with real-time observation, given adequate experience and training of the observers. The revised version of PATH is applicable to the analysis of jobs where upper extremity musculoskeletal strain is of concern.
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Keywords: PATH method; ergonomic risk factor; hospital work; inter-rater reliability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute, Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, Incheon, South Korea,Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA, USA 2: Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA, USA 3: Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA, USA,Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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