There are several established tools for doing an Ergonomics Analysis. I was frustrated with most because they were taking something simple and making it very very complex. Many have very questionable methods of “quantifying” risk (one even uses how much the worker grimaces as a measure of loading!). IT IS DOES NOT NEED TO BE THAT COMPLEX.
We know the individual MSD risks, so we made a simple checklist. That is what the client workplace wants and needs, without the false complexities of formulas that require another consultant to translate for them. Attached is our checklist. You simply check off the presence of observed risks. You can code them as repetitive or sustained or loaded, if that helps the cause. But it looks for posture, movement, and loading… at neck, low back, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand.
When we present an MSD School at the client workplace, we use these findings to customize our presentations.
Neck: forward head posture habit, awkward neck posture required (such as backing up forklift frequently), sustained sitting, sustained standing, awkward heights. Shoulder reach: how high, how far, how often, how prolonged, how loaded. Tennis elbow risks: wrist loading how high, how far, how often, how prolonged, how loaded. Golfer’s elbow loading-grip: how high, how far, how often, how prolonged, how loaded. Grip or pinch: how often, how prolonged, how wide-narrow, how forceful, vibration. Wrist loading: how flexed, deviated, force, duration, repetition. Thumb loading, especially in wrist deviation (deQuervains risk).
Low back: Sitting, prolonged, seating adjustability, foot support. Bending: how low, how often, how prolonged. Twisting: how far, how often, how prolonged. Lifting: how heavy, how low, how high, how far from torso, twisted, cumbersome, handle. Whole body vibration.
Work organization: How much task variety in posture and movements, length of shift, overtime exposure, production incentive pay (piecework), new employees, older workers, turnover, workplace politics (good luck with that one).
Costs risks… How are claims handled: Early reporting encouraged or punitive, access to timely healthcare, access to quality occ med healthcare, access to PT care, is restricted duty available, does it progress to regular work in timely manner?
Below is our MSD Risks Checklist (picture and pdf link). A good one to accompany it to address materials handling-lifting is the WISHA Lifting calculator (very simple and easy to do and understand (much easier that NIOSH Lifting Equation and just as reliable) (pdf link). REBA and RULA are also recognized assessment tools for documenting MSD risks, providing a raw single score for summarizing ergo risks