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10 Most Recommended Ergonomic Evaluation Tools

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Tim Rhodes

Ergonomic evaluation refers to the process of identifying potential risks of your working environment. 

Ergonomic evaluation tools are employed to specify the components of risk and find measurable improvement hence managing the proper and comfortable working environment for your employees. 

If you’re registered with injuries like strains, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or even request for pain relief by your workers, you’ve already found out the prospective ergonomic issues. 

You must have known that a large percentage of health, safety, and environment are lost by these ergonomic factors harming a significant portion of your production. 

Lately, physical injuries of the workers are not commonly reported in the workplace, musculoskeletal issues are in the verse of rising due to frequent motions like twisting, pushing, lifting, pulling, poor posture, continuous sitting, and so on, though.

A regular ergonomic assessment of your workplace assures your working environment to be safer, healthier, and more productive, lowering the prospective risks. 

10 Most Recommended Ergonomic Evaluation Tools

Here is a list of 10 most recommended ergonomic evaluation tools, most of them are available online, choose them, they’re the keys to the success of your objectives and long term aims. 

1. WISHA Lifting Calculator 

Developed by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, WISHA Lifting Calculator can be used to perform ergonomic risk assessments on a wide variety of manual lifting and lowering tasks and can be also used as a screening tool to identify lifting tasks that should be analyzed using the more inclusive NIOSH Lifting Equation.

It’s a very effective and practical risk assessment tool for manual material handling tasks. 

It can calculate the maximum accepted load that all the workers on average can lift or put down and by evaluating the variables of given tasks, it can lower the risk of musculoskeletal disorders which are related to the risk of lifting. 

Based on NIOSH Lifting Equation, the lifting index it shows is calculated to assume the level of physical stress and musculoskeletal disorders risk related to manual lifting tasks assessed. 

A lifting index value of 1.0 or less indicates a nominal risk to health workers, and a lifting index greater than 1.0 shows that the task is of high risk for some fraction of employees, and the rising level of the lifting index demonstrates the higher level of risk for the employees. 

This tool emphasizes heavy, frequent, or awkward lifting tasks and uses the variables like duration and frequency of lifting, vertical or horizontal hand positions, weight, and twisting to score the task. 

If you need more guidance on the application of the WISHA Lifting Calculator, you can read it here

Why We Recommend WISHA Lifting Calculator:

  • It’s easy to use as it’s formatted in a one-page layout
  • It focuses on the beginning of the lift where there is the highest risk
  • It offers you guidance
  • It applies fewer variables compared to the NIOSH lifting equation

2. WISHA Caution Zone Checklist 

It’s a simple tool of agronomic evaluation that comprises a checklist for distinguished movements or postures that are a regular or apparent part of the job occurring pretty frequently. 

It evaluates distinct ricks of the caution zone such as awkward job postures, highhanded force, highly repetitive motion, repeated impact, heavy, frequent or awkward lifting, and moderate to high arm vibration and makes the employees cautious about the prospective risks that they may undergo while performing certain tasks for a certain period. 

This tool is very significant as it enlists potential caution zones and describes each of them in detail so that the possible risks of the workplace could be avoided. 

If you would like to make your employees cautious about such risks, here are some descriptions of cautious situations from the checklist:

  • Working with the hand(s) above the head, or the elbow(s) above the shoulders more than 2 hours total per day
  • Working with the neck or back bent more than 30 degrees (without the support and without the ability to vary posture) more than 2 hours total per day
  • Squatting more than 2 hours total per day
  • Kneeling more than 2 hours total per day
  • Pinching an unsupported object(s) weighing 2 or more pounds per hand, or pinching with a force of 4 or more pounds per hand, more than 2 hours total per day (comparable to pinching half a ream of paper)
  • Gripping an unsupported object(s) weighing 10 or more pounds per hand, or gripping with a force of 10 or more pounds per hand, more than 2 hours total per day (comparable to clamping light-duty automotive jumper cables onto a battery)

If you would like to read more on this tool, you can find it here

3. NIOSH Lifting Equation

An ergonomic evaluation tool, NIOSH Lifting Equation is used by occupational health and safety professionals to evaluate the manual handling risks associated with lifting and lowering tasks in the workplace. 

This agronomic assessment tool regards job task variables to assure safe lifting practices and guidelines. 

The Recommended Weight Limit, a primary product of the NIOSH lifting equation, identifies the maximum acceptable weight that almost all healthy employees could lift throughout an eight-hour shift without being exposed to the risk of musculoskeletal disorders to the lower back.

The lifting index, on the other hand, is calculated to assume the level of physical stress and musculoskeletal disorder risk related to the manual lifting tasks evaluated. 

It’s an assessment tool especially pertinent for manual material handling tasks. 

It’s widely accepted as a valid tool in the field of occupational ergonomics that provides occupational health specialists an objective ergonomic risk assessment tool.  

NIOSH task variables are needed to calculate the horizontal location of the object relative to the body, vertical location of the object relative to the floor, a distance of the object moved vertically, asymmetry angle or twisting requirement, frequency and duration of lifting activity, and coupling or quality of the worker’s grip on the object. 

Why We Recommend NIOSH for You:

  • It’s useful for manual material handling tasks
  • It’s widely accepted as a valid tool
  • It’s pertinent for professional use
  • It’s a significant tool to assure safe lifting and guidelines

If you’d like to have more guidance for NIOSH Lifting Equation for a single task, you can read it here

4. Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA)

An effective tool to assess the risk of musculoskeletal disorders related to specific sorts of tasks within a job, The Rapid Entire Body Assessment is particularly designed for the sensitive type of unprecedented working postures found in distinct industries.

It follows systematic procedures to evaluate biomechanical and postural risks on the body.

It’s a whole-body screening tool which is a very easy and single page assessment tool to use; it just requires a pen and paper and makes the multiple tasks conspicuous. 

You can use it to assess any kind of task within the job when you need to evaluate both upper and lower parts of the musculoskeletal system. 

It’s simple to use; you identify the specific task within the job, find out the highest musculoskeletal disorder risk, capture the worst moment, and complete the REBRA data collection form and complete the REBRA scoring procedures begin to improve. 

Why We Recommend REBA for You:

  • You can divide the body into several segments and assess them according to their functions by using this tool
  • You can find out the level of urgency of the risk associated with the particular task
  • It’s a user-friendly tool that requires a minimal amount of time, equipment, and cost
  • You can quickly determine if you’re exposed to certain risks

You can go through a step by step guide to using Rapid Entire Body Assessment if you’d like to use this tool.

5. Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) 

An ergonomic based workplace risk assessment tool, the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment tool calculates the risk of musculoskeletal loading within the upper limbs and neck.

It considers biomechanical and postural weight requirements of the job on the neck, trunk, and other upper extremities. 

Maintenance of appropriate body posture required force, and frequency of the job task are keys for assessment for RULA using a single page of worksheet to evaluate them. 

It evaluates the workforce’s exposure to the prospective risk of work-related upper extremity disorder. 

It’s easy to use, just requires minimal equipment to complete.

The risk is calculated into a score of 1 (low) to 7 (high).

Why We Recommend RULA for You:

  • It’s an easy and rapid tool
  • It’s good for upper limb tasks within a job
  • It calculates musculoskeletal disorder risks
  • Its scoring method identifies the condition of urgency
  • It’s very significant for educating the workforce about potential posture-related risks

If you’d like to understand the step to step guide for RULA, don’t worry, you can find it here.

6. Liberty Mutual Manual Material Handling Tables (SNOOK Tables)

You can use this ergonomic assessment tool for the assessment of lifting, lowering, pushing, and carrying works.

Liberty Mutual Manual Material Handling Tables are based on the research of Dr. Stover Snook, and Vincent Ciriello at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for safety.

These tables are highly recommended for assessing both the male and female demography percentage able to perform manual material handling tasks without over physical exertion.

The objective of designing these tables was to control the cost related to manual handling works.

It helps the users identify risk factors associated with the manual handling tasks and make proper decisions while implementing cost-effective ergonomic solutions that offer a considerable level of control, and thereby come up with solid solutions.

You’d need to attain training shortly if you like to use this tool for effectively utilizing the tables; knowing biomechanical, physiological, and psychophysical workload criteria is the best before using this tool.

It can come up with solutions for any sorts of injuries related to bending, twisting, reaching, one hand lift, two hands lift, hand folds, catching, or throwing items. 

7.  Hand-Arm Vibration Calculator (HAV) 

You must have used a grinder or drill in your home; do you have any idea if you are exposed to the risk of constant high vibration?

Whether it be at home or any workplace, the constant hand-arm vibration is injurious to health.

Hand-Arm Vibration Calculator is introduced for your safety at the workplace; it calculates the standard of vibration transmitted from work activities to the hand of the workers. 

According to the findings of the multiple types of research on hand-arm vibration, continuous and long term exposure to the vibration causes adverse health impacts even permanently. 

The constant exposure to vibration can cause partial whiteness in your fingers, numbness, pain, and your fingers turning pale.

Therefore, you need to calculate the level of vibration you’re exposed to while working with vibration generating instruments, and it’s a Hand-Arm Vibration Calculator that can measure the level of risk you’re into making you cautious.

Using the Hand-Arm Vibration Calculator is a simple method: determine the vibration magnitude, determine exposure duration, enter data into the calculator and your results are right with you.

The points-based system used by this calculator gives you up to 100 points before you reach the exposure action value and 400 points to the exposure limit value.

400 points are your maximum exposure limit and 100 points are your minimum limit value.

The lower your points, the better you’re. 

You must be thinking of purchasing a low vibration producing tool, that can’t give you all the comforts such as optimal ergonomic design, fast job, grip comfort, and so on.

Have you been well informed now, use the guide for more information?

Why We Recommend Hand-Arm Vibration Calculator for You:

  • You’re exposed to hand-arm vibration risk not only at your workplace but also at your home
  • It can calculate the level of risk of vibration your hands or arms are exposed to
  • It can save your hands and fingers from numbness, pain, and from being white by identifying the risks before you get harmed
  • It helps you to make your workplace healthier

8.  Job Strain Index

The Job Strain index is found by Dr. Moore and Dr. A. Garg. 

The Strain Index is an ergonomic evaluation tool that is employed to assess a job’s level of risk for developing a disorder of the hand, wrist, forearm, or elbow. 

It’s a method for assuming the risk of injury to your hands and wrists based on the evaluation of force, frequency, posture, and period.

It provides you with a systematic evaluation of your hands and wrist postural risks to particular sorts of tasks within a work. 

The Strain Index analyses six task variables namely intensity of exertion, duration of exertion, exertions per minute, hand/ wrist posture, speed of work, and duration of task per day and brings you with the appropriate improvements.

The value called multiplier is given to the task variables, and the product of six task variable multipliers produces the Strain Index Score.

The score determines the level of risk in the task within a work.

The goal of the Strain Index is to assess the risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder in a hand intensive job.

You must be careful that the Job Strain Index does not calculate the level of vibration you’re exposed to, you need a hand-arm vibration calculator for that. 

9. WISHA Hazard Zone Checklist

There’re several tools available to assess the ergonomic issues in your workplace, but the checklist-style assessment tools are significant as you can use them directly without any sort of training and special guidance, but with simple practice.

WISHA Hazard Zone Checklist is a simple copy and pen and rapid checklist that assists you to evaluate the potential hazards associated with your workplace.

It’s beneficial for you since you can get a complete survey of all possible hazards of your workplace identifying the hazard zones that incorporate all sorts of risk factors.

This checklist uses verbal clues to guide the users through a thorough evaluation process.

 By evaluating the working environment through the WISHA Hazard Zone Checklist, you can identify existing hazards, anticipate the potential hazards, and prevent your workers and your industry from harmful occurrences. 

It’s a pretty simple method to identify hazards before they occur and harm your industry. 

It focuses on the correspondence between the workers, the task, the tools, and the working environment and makes you take certain actions to reduce the risky circumstances. 

10. Washington State Ergonomic and MSD Risk Assessment Checklist

Risks can be anywhere and in whatever job, but the risks associated with musculoskeletal disorders are very often reported. 

Such risks can lower down the quality and production of your industry or the business.

So, you’re right here to identify such risks with the Washington State Ergonomic and MSD Risk Assessment Checklist that evaluates the potential risks that the workers of your business may be frequently exposed to.

This ergonomic assessment tool evaluates the ergonomic risk factors such as awkward postures, highly repetitive motions, high hand force, repeated impacts, lifting, and hand-arm vibration. 

It’s also used as a screening tool.

It’s simple and easy to use with some practice; otherwise, you can take training shortly.

If this tool shows you no positive findings identified, your workplace or the job you’re doing is considered safe and healthy.

However, when a moderate level of risk is shown, the job or task or the working environment is to be evaluated by using a hazard zone checklist to improve the condition of the job or working environment.

By deploying this screening tool, you can determine if a typical work activity exposes your workers with a musculoskeletal disorder, its magnitude, and duration.

Therefore, it helps you to identify the risk and improve the working environment. 

Safety is important for you and your workers and a healthy working environment is what you require for the better performance of your industry or business, so why delay, adopt the tools, and feel safe. 

Final Thoughts

So, these are the 10 most recommended ergonomic evaluation tools that you may use to assure the safety of your working environment. 

Reading all the descriptions above, you must have understood that your job involves frequent motion, your workers feel pain, discomfort, get tired, feel unsafe, and so on.

If so, you must have thought of using the best ergonomic evaluation tool that assesses and identifies all the discomforts associated with your worker, you, or your working environment, that’s good, you’re on the right track. 

Because, naturally, many of our works are highly repetitive, they require force, and distinct postures and we tend to repeat them daily or let’s say hourly and we don’t assess our working environment with the proper ergonomic evaluation tools, but we expect the best results.

That’s not going to work, you have to use appropriate ergonomic evaluation tools to identify the potential hazards or the risks that your workers are going to face and to improve your working environment as soon as possible for achieving your goal and getting the best results out of all your hard work and dedication. 

The frequent exposure of your workers to the ergonomic risk factors leads to poor work practices, poor health profile, and no familiarity over time and ultimately to the musculoskeletal disorder. 

Hence, you’re highly recommended to deploy any of the above discussed ergonomic evaluation tools that would help you out with identifying all the possible risks of your working environment before they occur and harm the productivity of your industry or business. 

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