Effect of job rotation on work demands, workload, and recovery of refuse truck drivers and collectors

P. Paul F M Kuijer*, Wiebe H K De Vries, Allard J. Van Der Beek, Jaap H. Van Dieën, Bart Visser, Monique H W Frings-Dresen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Job rotation is often advocated to reduce workload, but its efficacy has seldom been investigated. The aim of this study is to compare the work demands, workload, and recovery among truck driving, refuse collecting, and rotating between these two jobs, between days and during the day. Three teams of 3 employees each participated in this study. Work demands were assessed by systematic observation of tasks and activities. Workload was quantified by means of heart rate, oxygen uptake, subjective ratings, and urinary excretion rates of catecholamines. Recovery was quantified by excretion rates of catecholamines after work. Job rotation between driving and collecting is an effective measure to reduce physical workload as compared with collecting only and to decrease mental workload as compared with driving only. However, job rotation resulted in increased physical workload as compared with driving only. Job rotation did not increase mental workload as compared with collecting only. No effects were seen on recovery. No differences were found between rotating between days and during the day. Actual or potential applications of this research include the recommendation that before job rotation is introduced, its efficacy be determined in terms of well-chosen workload measures because a reduction in work demands does not directly imply a reduction in workload. Therefore, job rotation might be less effective than expected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-448
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Factors
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004

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