244075 Can a single-item measure assess physical load at work? Evidence from the GAZEL cohort

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Erika L. Sabbath, MS , Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public health/INSERM U1018/University of Paris XI-Sud, Jamaica Plain, MA
Marcel Goldberg, MD, PhD, MPH , 1018, INSERM, Villejuif, France
Alexis Descatha, MD , Occupational Health Department, Poincaré University Hospital, AP-HP, Garches, France
Background: While detailed occupational exposure assessment is critical to establish work-related health risk factors and set policy, such methods are highly labor-intensive. We aimed to test whether the question “Do you find your work physically fatiguing” was a reliable and valid measure of physical load that could be used when a complete assessment was not feasible. Methods: The study was conducted among members of GAZEL, a cohort of 20,625 French utility workers. Reliability of the measure was tested among workers reporting the same physical load factors in two successive years. Validity was studied using association between the measure and an index of physical workplace constraints (also taking into account gender, occupational grade, and depression). Results: The measure showed differential distribution by occupational grade and gender, with higher fatigue among men and those in low employment grades. It showed good test-retest reliability (0.606-0.627). The measure had an adjusted correlation (r) of 0.6 with physical load. There was a strong linear relationship between physical fatigue and physical load (analyzed categorically), which was robust to stratification by gender, occupational grade, and depression. Conclusion: A single-item measure of work-related physical fatigue is a reliable and valid indicator of physical load at work for future non-occupational epidemiologic studies.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the utility of a single-item measure of work-related physical fatigue when a full assessment of the physical work environment is not feasible Evaluate the reliability and validity of such a single-item measure to evaluate physical load at work

Keywords: Occupational Exposure, Occupational Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I analyze the effects of combined occupational exposures on aging outcomes, particularly physical load and psychosocial exposures
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.