Validation of Borg’s RPE 6-20 Scale in Male Industrial Workers of Shiraz City Based on Heart Rate

Document Type : Original Article


1 MSc of Ergonomics.Department of Ergonomics, School of Health and Nutrition, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

2 Professor of Ergonomics.Research Center for Health Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

3 Professor of Biostatistics.Department of Epidemiology, School of Health and Nutrition, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.


Background and Objective:Subjective assessment is a common method for physical workload estimation. In recent years, assessment of perceived exertion or related symptoms of subjective fatigue during physical work has mostly relied upon psycho-physical measurement techniques. Rating scales are the most commonly used measurement instrument in psychology. Borg’s RPE is a simple tool for measuring physical work intensity. This study was conducted to validate Borg’s RPE 6-20 scale (Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion) in male industrial workers of Shiraz city.
Subjects and Methods: In this study, 500 healthy male workers employed in Shiraz city industries participated voluntarily (age ranged from 20 to 59 years). Subjects were assessed by ergocycle test according to Astrand protocol for 6 minutes. The participants were asked to rate the Borg’s RPE scale during the test at the end of each minute. Additionally, heart rate was recorded by heart rate monitoring device at the end of each minute.
Results: Pearson correlation coefficient (r) indicated a high correlation between RPE and heart rate (r= 0.847).
Conclusion: The findings of this study showed a high correlation between RPE and HR and confirmed the results of previous studies. Therefore, it can be concluded that Borg’s RPE 6-20 scale may be used to assess the physical work intensity among healthy Iranian male workers.


1-Moudi MA, Choobineh AR. Ergonomics in practice: selected ergonomics topics. Tehran: Nashr-e-Markaz;1999. P. 81-94.
2-Kroemer KHE, Grandjean E. Fitting the task to the human: a textbook of occupational ergonomics. 5thed.  London; Bristol, PA : Taylor & Francis; 1997.P. 101.
3-Abdoli Eramaki M. Occupational Biomechanics & Design of Workplace (Ergonomics). Tehran: Omid-e-majd; 1997. P. 237.
4-Louhevaara V. The Occupational Ergonomics. In: Karwowski W, Marras WS, editors. The occupational ergonomics handbook. Boca Raton, Fla: CRC Press; 1999. P. 261.
5-Wilson, JR. Corlett N. Evaluation of human work. 3rded. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis; 2005. P.429-49..
6-Gamberale F. The perception of exertion. Ergonomics 1985;28:299-308.
7-Borg GA. Psychophysical bases of perceived exertion. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1982;14:377-81.
8-Teraslinna P, Ismail AH, Macleod DF. Nomogram by Astrand and Ryhming as a predictor of maximum oxygen intake.  J Appl Physiol 1966;21: 513-5.
9-Borg G. Psychophysical scaling with applications in physical work and the perception of exertion. Scand J Work Environ Health 1990;16:55-8.
10- Sherehiy B. Karwowski W. In: Marras, WS. Karwowski W, edirors.  The occupational ergonomics handbook. 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC/Taylor & Francis; 2006. P. (37-1)-(37-3).
11- Egan AD. Session rating of perceived exertion during high intensity and low intensity bouts of resistance exercise. UWL Journal of Undergraduate Research 2003;6:1-6.
12- Hartshorn JE. Lamb KL. The reproducibility of perceptually regulated exercise responses during short-term cycle ergometry.  Int J Sports Med 2004;25:362-7.
13- Davies RC. Rowlands AV. Eston RG. The prediction of maximal oxygen uptake from submaximal ratings of perceived exertion elicited during the multistage fitness test.  Br J Sports Med 2008;42:1006-10.
14- Faulkner J, Eston R. Overall and peripheral ratings of perceived exertion during a graded exercise test to volitional exhaustion in individuals of high and low fitness. Eur J Appl Physiol 2007;101:613-20.
15- Egwu MO. Effect of psycho-physical stress on the preference of non-athletic youths for intermittent or continuous bench-stepping. International Journal of Sports Science and Engineering 2009;3:022-6.
16- Bridger RS. Introduction to Ergonomics.  London; New York: Taylor & Francis; 2003. P. 217.
17- Lambrick DM, Faulkner JA, Rowlands AV, Eston RG. Prediction of maximal oxygen uptake from submaximal ratings of perceived exertion and heart rate during a continuous exercise test: the efficacy of RPE 13. Eur J Appl Physiol 2009;107:1-9.
18- Wergel-Kolmert U, Wisen A, Wohlfart B. Repeatability of measurements of oxygen consumption, heart rate and Borg’s scale in men during ergometer cycling. Clin Physiol Funct Imaging 2002;22:261-5.
19- Plowman, SA. Smith DL. Exercise Physiology for Health, Fitness, and Performance. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings; 2003.P. 392.
20- Carton RL. Rhodes EC. A Critical review of the literature on ratings scales for perceived exertion. Sports Med 1985;2:198-222.
21-Akimov EB, Alekseev VM. Effects of the production of perceived exertion during cycle ergometry. Human  Physiology 2008;34:766–70. [Russian]
22-Marriott HE, Lamb KL. The use of ratings of perceived exertion for regulating exercise levels in rowing ergometry. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1996;72:267-71.
23-Eston RG, Lamb KL, Parfitt G, King N. The validity of predicting maximal oxygen uptake from a perceptually-regulated graded exercise test. Eur J Appl Physiol 2005;94:221–7.
24-Buckley JP, Eston RG, Sim J. Ratings of perceived exertion in braille: validity and reliability in production mode. Br J Sports Med 2000;34:297–302.
25-Cink RE. Thomas TR. Validity of the Astrand-Ryhming nomogram for predicting maximal oxygen intake. Br J Sports Med 1981;15:182-5.
26-Choobineh AR, Barzideh M, Gholami T, Amiri R, Tabatabaei HR, Almasi Hashyanie A. Estimation of aerobic capacity (VO2-max) and Study of its associated factors among male workers of Industrial factories in Sepidan/Fars province, 2009. Scientific Medical Journal 2011;10:1-12
27-Straker LM. Body Discomfort Assessment Tools. In: Karwowski W, Marras WS, editors. The Occupational ergonomics handbook. Boca Raton, Fla: CRC Press; 1999. P.1244.
28-Dwyer GB, Davis SE, editors. ACSM's health-related physical fitness assessment manual. 2nd ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008. p. 11-124.
29-GolBabaee F, Omidvari M. Man and Thermal Environment. Tehram: Tehran University; 2003. P. 86- 9.
30-Karavatas SG, Tavakol K. Concurrent validity of borgs rating of perceived exertion in African-American young adults, employing heart rate as the standard. The internet journal of allied health sciences and practice 2005;3:1-5.