A reliability study of potential risk factors for acute traumatic occupational hand injuries

Am J Ind Med. 2002 Oct;42(4):336-43. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10120.


Background: A reliability study of transient workplace exposures was conducted within a case-crossover study of acute traumatic occupational hand injuries. Exposures examined included features of work equipment (unusual performance of equipment or materials, glove use), work practices (performing an uncommon work task, using an unusual work method), and worker-related factors (being rushed, distracted, ill, or working overtime).

Methods: Interviewers administered a follow-up questionnaire about exposure up to 4 days after the initial interview. The reliability of the usual frequency of exposure in the past month, exposure reported at the time of the injury, and the degree to which subjects had confidence in the accuracy of their memory for exposure was assessed.

Results: The test-retest reliability for the estimated number of hours of exposure during the past month was high for six of the eight potential risk factors (intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) ranging from 0.84-0.99). ICC for the frequency per month and minutes per exposure, used to calculate the estimated number of hours per month, ranged from 0.12-0.99 and 0.49-0.99, respectively. Agreement of reported exposure at the time of the injury, evaluated using the kappa statistic, ranged from substantial agreement to perfect agreement (0.65-1.0). However, for some factors, there was little or no reported exposure. Most subjects (74-100%) reported being "very confident" or "certain" in their memory for each exposure.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that the frequency and duration of unusual transient workplace exposures can be reliably recalled by subjects interviewed by telephone within 4 days of an injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control
  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Equipment Design
  • Hand Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Hand Injuries / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Trauma Severity Indices