Exposure to upper arm elevation during work compared to leisure among 12 different occupations measured with triaxial accelerometers

Tidsskriftartikel - 2018


Regarding prevention of neck and shoulder pain (NSP), unsupported arm elevation is one factor that should be taken into account when performing work risk assessment. Triaxial accelerometers can be used to measure arm elevation over several days but it is not possible to differentiate between supported and unsupported arm elevation from accelerometers only. Supported arm elevation is more likely to exist during sitting than standing. The aim of the study was to evaluate the use of whole workday measurements of arm elevation with accelerometers to assess potentially harmful work exposure of arm elevation, by comparing arm elevation at work with arm elevation during leisure, in a population with diverse work tasks, and to assess how the exposure parameters were modified when upper arm elevation during sitting time was excluded. The participants, 197 workers belonging to 12 occupational groups with diverse work tasks, wore triaxial accelerometers on the dominant arm, hip, and back for 1-4 days to measure arm elevation and periods of sitting. None of the groups were found to have higher exposure to arm elevation during work compared to leisure. Even though some occupations where known to have work tasks that forced them to work with elevated arms to a large extent. A high proportion of arm elevation derived from sitting time, especially so during leisure. When arm elevation during sitting time was excluded from the analysis, arm elevation was significantly higher at work than during leisure among construction workers, garbage collectors, manufacturing workers, and domestic cleaners. Together this illustrates that it is not suitable to use whole workday measurments of arm elevation with accelerometer as a sole information source when assessing the risk for NSP due to arm elevation. Information on body posture can provide relevant contextual information in exposure assessments when it is known that the potential harmful exposure is performed in standing or walking.


Palm P, Gupta N, Forsman M, Skotte J, Nordquist T, Holtermann A. Exposure to upper arm elevation during work compared to leisure among 12 different occupations measured with triaxial accelerometers. Annals of Work Exposures and Health 2018;62(6):689-698.
doi: 10.1093/annweh/wxy037

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