Author(s): Wiktorin C, Selin K, Ekenvall L, Kilbom A, Alfredsson L
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Abstract The main objective of the study was to evaluate the ability of workers to reproduce simulated manual work forces correctly and to quantify these forces in Newtons (N) by means of self-reports. Fourteen male and 14 female workers participated in the study. Three experiments were carried out. In the first experiment, the ability to reproduce the magnitudes of simulated manual forces occurring in daily work and to estimate these forces in Newtons was tested. A specially designed force-measuring device was used for this purpose. In the second experiment, the subjects estimated the weights of five boxes ranging from 1 to 30 kg. In the third experiment, the subjects were asked to produce five predetermined push and pull forces ranging in magnitude from 10 to 300 N on to the handle of the force-measuring device. The ability to reproduce the magnitudes of manual forces when simulating four familiar work tasks was good (the intraclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.75 to 0.95). The ability to quantify these forces in Newtons was not as good (the product moment correlation coefficients ranged from 0.21 to 0.69). When the subjects estimated the weights of boxes they underestimated the weights. When they produced predetermined push and pull forces they exerted higher forces than expected when low force levels were requested and lower forces when high force levels were requested. However, the forces were correctly ranked. In summary, simulation of the manual push/pull forces used in familiar work tasks seemed to offer sufficient reproducibility to be worth testing for validity. Self-reports, used without previous training or without known 'reference forces', seemed to be very rough when the aim was to estimate in kg or Newtons. However, the fact that individuals could rank the forces correctly opens a potential for refinement of self-reports as a method for quantifying manual forces in objective terms, e.g. kg or Newtons.
This article was published in Appl Ergon
and referenced in Journal of Ergonomics