This study evaluated the inter-rater reliability of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) hand activity level (HAL), an observational ergonomic assessment method used to estimate physical exposure to repetitive exertions during task performance. Video recordings of 858 cyclic and non-cyclic appliance manufacturing tasks were assessed by sixteen pairs of raters using the HAL visual-analog scale. A weighted Pearson Product Moment-Correlation Coefficient was used to evaluate the agreement between the HAL scores recorded by each rater pair, and the mean weighted correlation coefficients for cyclic and non-cyclic tasks were calculated. Results indicated that the HAL is a reliable exposure assessment method for cyclic (r-barw = 0.69) and non-cyclic work tasks (r-barw = 0.68). When the two reliability scores were compared using a two-sample Student’s t-test, no significant difference in reliability (p = 0.63) between these work task categories was found. This study demonstrated that the HAL may be a useful measure of exposure to repetitive exertions during cyclic and non-cyclic tasks. Relevance to industry: Exposure to hazardous levels of repetitive action during non-cyclic task completion has traditionally been difficult to assess using simple observational techniques. The present study suggests that ergonomists could use the HAL to reliably and easily evaluate exposures associated with some non-cyclic work tasks.
Paulsen, Robert; Schwatka, Natalie; Gober, Jennifer; Gilkey, David P.; Anton, Dan; Gerr, Fred; and Rosecrance, John, "Inter-rater reliability of cyclic and non-cyclic task assessment using the hand activity level in appliance manufacturing" (2013). Safety Health & Industrial Hygiene. 36.