اثرات آموزش ارگونومی بر دانش، نگرش ها، و شیوه های دورکاران
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|5104||2004||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Safety Research, Volume 35, Issue 1, 2004, Pages 13–22
Problem: The rapid growth of teleworking has raised several social and legal issues regarding an employer's responsibility for the safety of an employee's home office. In this paper, researchers discuss the need for safety training for teleworkers and the effectiveness of a home office ergonomics training program. Method: Study participants (N = 50) were randomly assigned into a treatment or control group. The treatment group completed the ergonomics training and a pre- and posttest. The control group completed the pre- and posttests without training. Results: The study demonstrated the need for teleworker ergonomics training. More than 85% of participants had not received teleworker training before, and 44% had experienced pain or discomfort while teleworking. Participants who completed the training significantly improved their scores on knowledge, attitude, and practices subtests. In a follow-up survey, participants indicated that they had made ergonomic changes to their offices based on the training. Several participants indicated that the pain or discomfort that they had been experiencing was eliminated or reduced as a result of the training.
1.1. The growth of teleworking Teleworking, also known as telecommuting, means using information technology and telecommunications to replace work-related travel. With teleworking, employees work full- or part-time at home or at a local telework center. Communication is accomplished by phone, fax, modem, and teleconferencing. Teleworking is changing the way millions of Americans communicate, commute, and work. Over the last several years, both private industry and the federal government have joined together to encourage these changes, many of which have proven to be beneficial to the economy, to the environment, and to families. In 2001, there were an estimated 28 million Americans who teleworked one day a week or more (Davis & Polonko, 2001). The National Performance Review (Gore, 1993) and former President Clinton's Climate Change Action Plan (Clinton & Gore, 1993) identified teleworking as one method to help the U.S. achieve environmental goals, to conserve national resources, and to enhance the quality of work life. In his memorandum dated July 11, 1994, former President Clinton wrote, “The executive branch must implement flexible work arrangements to create a family-friendly workplace. The head of each executive department or agency is hereby directed to establish a program to encourage and support the expansion of flexible family-friendly work arrangements, including: job sharing; career part-time employment; alternative work schedules; and telecommuting and satellite work locations.” In 1996, the President's Management Council approved the National Telecommuting Initiative Action Plan, launching a 3-year initiative to significantly increase the number of federal telecommuters (Lieber & Wohl, 1996). In December 1999, U.S. Representative Frank Wolf of Virginia announced details of a federal telework program that could dramatically increase the number of teleworkers nationwide. According to Representative Wolf, “the congestion and mobility crisis is perhaps the greatest single threat to continued prosperity and most certainly our quality of life and the family unit. Telecommuting is the information age's answer to reducing traffic congestion, nurturing environmental stewardship, and strengthening the family” (International Telework Association and Council, 1999). The rapid growth of teleworking has raised several social and legal issues regarding an employer's responsibility for an employee's home office. On November 15, 1999, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent a letter to a Texas employer stating that he was responsible for federal safety and health violations that occur in his employee's home office. The letter suggested that employers could be liable for any unfavorable incidents met by an employee who chose to work at home, such as unsafe stairs, improper lighting, and inadequate ventilation in home offices. This policy interpretation created a national uproar, causing some firms to cancel or postpone giving teleworking rights to their employees. In January 2000, the U.S. Department of Labor withdrew the advisory letter and asked the National Economic Council to convene an interagency working group to examine the broad social and economic effects of teleworking. On February 25, 2000, OSHA issued a new compliance directive to formalize agency policy on home-based work. According to the new policy, OSHA will not inspect home offices for violations of federal safety and health rules and employers are not expected to conduct home office inspections. The only exception to this policy is for a home where factory-type manufacturing occurs. The purpose of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 is to assure as far as possible every working man and woman in the nation safe and healthful working conditions. The question remains—who is responsible for the workplace safety and health of teleworkers in the virtual workplace? Many still believe the responsibility lies with the employer. “Taking the OSHA statement as a faithful interpretation of the rules, managers should demonstrate best efforts and thorough safety planning for all alternative workspaces, including home offices,” says John Girard, an analyst with the Gartner Group in Stamford Connecticut (Zbar, 2000). Despite the Labor Department's retraction of the OSHA letter, Girard suspects OSHA will revisit the issue of home office safety within the next 5 years, as teleworking increases. 1.2. The risk of musculoskeletal disorders Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries and disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, and spinal disks. Examples of MSDs include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, sciatica, herniated disc and lower back pain. MSDs are one of the most significant problems in the workplace today. Work-related MSDs account for more than one-third of all occupational injuries and illnesses that are serious enough to result in days away from work. Each year more than 620,000 employees suffer lost-workday because of MSDs. These MSD injuries cost businesses $15 to $20 billion in workers' compensation costs each year. Indirect costs may run as high as $45 to $60 billion. Carpal tunnel syndrome, one form of MSD, results in more days away from work than any other workplace injury (OSHA, 1999). According to a study by the International Telework Association and Council (Davis & Polonko, 2001), the primary home telework activity is using a computer (87%). The relationship between computer-use and the development of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is well-documented Bergqvist et al., 1995a, Bergqvist et al., 1995b, Demure et al., 2000, Faucett & Rempel, 1994, Ferreira et al., 1997, Hales et al., 1994, Marcus & Gerr, 1996, Ong, 1994 and Yu & Wong, 1996. The very technology that is powering the Information Age is also leaving many of its workers with this painful malady. Workplace factors that increase the risk for computer-related MSDs include: improper workstation design; incorrect monitor, mouse, and keyboard placement; poor posture; incorrect chair height; improper office lighting; and intense typing without resting periods Aaras et al., 1998, Demure et al., 2000, Keir et al., 1999, McHugh & Schaller, 1997 and Ong, 1994. In a corporate or government workplace, many of these risk factors are controlled. The company purchases and sets up the computer workstations. Corporate safety officers inspect for ergonomics hazards. Lighting is engineered and designed for office use. Rest periods are common, as other workers are nearby and interruptions are likely. However, in the home office these risk factors may not be so easily controlled. Studies have shown that teleworkers typically set up their own offices without assistance (Center for Office Technology, 1999). Teleworkers may place their computers on coffee tables or old desks, creating numerous ergonomic hazards. Without training, teleworkers are unaware of workplace factors that increase their risk of developing MSDs. A poll of the nation's leading technology and business executives in February 2000 found that only 9% of respondents had set safety guidelines for employees who work at home, with 80% having no guidelines and 11% unsure if their companies had set guidelines (Chief Information Officer, 2000). “This is a critical issue to everyone who works from home,” says Debra A. Dinnocenzo, President of the teleworking consultant firm AlLearnatives. “Utilizing basic home office safety guidelines can prevent injury, productivity losses, and property damage, all of which have significant payoff to the individual home office worker, whether or not OSHA mandates it” (Zbar, 2000). Research has shown that ergonomics training and environmental intervention decrease the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders. Businesses that have implemented ergonomics programs report significant decreases in accidents, injuries, illnesses, and health care costs over time, along with increases in productivity, quality of work, and worker morale Cook & Pinelli, 1995, Cumulative Trauma Disorder News, 1995a and Cumulative Trauma Disorder News, 1995b. While the effectiveness of ergonomics intervention is well documented in the corporate environment, there is little research available on the effectiveness of ergonomics training in the home office setting. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the short-term effects of an ergonomics training program on the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of a group of teleworkers.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
4.1. Discussion This study demonstrates the need for safety training for teleworkers. At pretest, seven participants (14%) indicated that they had received teleworker training. Of these seven participants, the majority indicated that the teleworker training was related to managing teleworkers rather than preventing injuries. Only one participant specifically indicated that he had received training related to safety or ergonomics. Twenty-two participants (44%) indicated on the pretest that they had experienced discomfort while teleworking. The most common complaints were sore/tired eyes, sore back, neck pain, and sore wrists. People who teleworked more days per month reported a greater incidence of work-related discomfort (r = .347, 48 df, p = .016). At pretest, nearly three-quarters of the participants (74%) indicated that they had never evaluated their home offices for ergonomic hazards. At posttest, 100% of Treatment Group participants indicated that they planned to evaluate their home offices for ergonomic hazards. This study also demonstrates the potential for training to improve teleworkers' ergonomic knowledge, attitudes, and practices. The Treatment Group significantly increased overall scores between pre- and posttest, and also for scores on each subtest (knowledge, attitudes, practices). In the follow-up survey, participants indicated that they had made changes to their offices based on the training. Several participants indicated that pain or discomfort that they had been experiencing was eliminated or reduced as a result of the training. The findings also suggest that computer-based training is an effective training technique for teleworkers. All participants who completed a participant evaluation form (n = 34) thought that the training program was useful to them as teleworkers. Ninety-seven percent of the participants who completed an evaluation form said they would recommend the program to other teleworkers, that the information in the program was interesting to them personally, and that the computers were easy to use for training. Eighty-five percent said they would like to use a computer for future training courses. In addition, participants made positive comments in the course evaluation regarding using computer-based training, including the ability to progress through the materials at their own pace, the ability to complete the training at their convenience, and the ability to complete the training in their home offices. 4.2. Limitations of the study This study consisted primarily of federal teleworkers recruited from a single federal e-mail list, without consideration of geographic region or employment status (federal, non-federal, or self-employed). In a future large-scale study, researchers will recruit a sample more representative of the teleworker population. Additional studies need to examine the benefits of safety training for teleworkers in other areas. Study participants indicated that electrical safety, radon, and fire safety are areas of interest. The computer-based training materials used in this study were stored on a CD-ROM. In the future, the training will also be accessible on a website. This will eliminate the need to ship a CD-ROM to each teleworker. Developers can revise web-based courses whenever the content is out-of-date. Technology is constantly improving and allowing more rapid transfer of complex data, such as graphics, video, and sound, from website to learner. These methods of training will help to meet an ever-growing need for skills and information for teleworkers.