Washington State Ergonomics Tool: predictive validity in the waste industry

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Title: Washington State Ergonomics Tool: predictive validity in the waste industry
Author: Eppes, Susan Elise
Abstract: This study applies the Washington State Ergonomics Tool to waste industry jobs in Texas . Exposure data were collected by on -site observation of fourteen different multi -task jobs in a major national solid waste management company employing more than 26 ,000 employees . This company has nationwide operations , and these jobs represent the majority of workers involved in the collection and processing of solid waste . The WSET uses observational checklist methodology to evaluate generic risk factors in the following six major categories : awkward posture , highly repetitive motion , high hand force , repeated impact , lifting , and hand -arm vibration . The assessment tool incorporates these risk factors and combinations of risk factors into checklists for identifying three levels of potential exposure : safe , -caution zone" and -hazard zone" jobs . The tool was developed for employers to use in determining whether a job was likely to increase the risk of workplace musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs ) to their employees . OSHA 200 logs were used as the main source of morbidity data . If there was one recorded WMSD , the job was classified as -positive . "If there was no recorded WMSD , the job was classified as -negative . " -Safe"jobs were those predicted not to expose workers to increased risk of WMSDs . Those that possessed one or more -caution zone"criteria but still fell below the -hazard zone" threshold required the employer to provide -awareness education" for employees and to further analyze the job for the presence of -hazard zone" risk factors . If hazard zone risk factors were not present , no further action was required . Jobs that upon further analysis possessed one or more of the -hazard zone"criteria were labeled -hazardous" jobs . If the further analysis shows the presence of risk factors established in the hazard zone criteria (Appendix B ) , the employer would be required to take corrective action to reduce exposures to below the hazardous level . Of the three jobs predicted to be -safe"by -caution zone" criteria , two did not have injuries and one did . Of the eleven jobs predicted by -caution zone"criteria to increase the risk of WMSDs , six resulted in injuries and five did not . Of the four jobs predicted by -hazard zone"criteria to be -problem"jobs , two jobs did result in injury and two did not . This study found that the WSET -caution zone"criteria were more effective at predicting which jobs were likely to increase the risk of WMSDs than was the -hazard zone"checklist . The caution zone had high sensitivity and low specificity . The hazard zone criteria reflect a low sensitivity and a low specificity . Further analysis revealed the WSET was helpful in predicting back injuries associated with lifting but not effective at predicting jobs with the potential for upper extremity injuries .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /547
Date: 2004-09-30

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Washington State Ergonomics Tool: predictive validity in the waste industry. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /547 .

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