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Ergonomics Assessment: Choosing the Right Tool

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CHOOSING THE RIGHT TOOL

Presenter: Thomas DT

There are a multitude of tools available to help identify and assess the

work-related musculoskeletal disorder risk. These range from measuring

devices, checklists, surveys and analysis tools. These tools can be subjective

or objective in nature. Many analysis tools attempt to quantify physical work

load and psychosocial work factors placed on the employee. The choice of

tool or tools to be used at the workplace will be determined by the task being

assessed, the target audience of any findings, the assessors’ understanding

of the tool and their competency with the use of the tool. Every tool is

designed with a specific use in mind. Researchers often made assumptions

when developing tools. No one tool is perfect or better than another tool

in every situation and every tool has its limitations. It is only through the

thorough understanding of a tool’s limitations, underlying assumptions and

uses, can the most appropriate tools be chosen for the worksite assessment

and then used effectively. This presentation will review some commonly

used tools (Revised NIOSH lifting equation, RULA etc.) in terms of their use,

limitations and underlying assumptions.

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