Methods for ergonomic risk assessment: a comparison study
Ergonomic risk assessment in work activities is generally conducted using systematic observation methods. Such methods are very popular among safety professional as they are easier to use, less expensive and more flexible than direct measures, so that they are considered as most suitable to field data gathering.
Many research institutes and public authorities operating in the field of workers health and safety protection deliver and update their own methods for ergonomic risk assessment, so that the selection and correct application of such methods requires high skilled professionals in order to ensure evaluation results that reflect the specific working context under assessment.
This paper is aimed at discussing first results of the a comparison study of 25 methods for ergonomic risk assessment from technical and scientific literature, that have been analysed in order to understand their sensitivity in relation to the possible relevant variables in task execution.
This analysis is part of AERMES App for Ergonomic Risk MEthods Selection project, a project carried out by ContARP Campania and Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca â€œR. dâ€™Ambrosioâ€ LUPT established at UniversitÃ Federico II di Napoli. AERMES project will bring to professionals main methods for risk assessment in the field of manual handling and repetitive movements that are well acknowledged by international technical and scientific context but are rarely applied in the Italian context. AERMES project will provide professionals with a guide to select the risk assessment method most fitting the job and job context they have to investigate. As consequence, professionals will improve their capability to detect situations that increase the probability of musculoskeletal disease occurrence in labour intensive and not standardised jobs and will be supported in defining technical and organizational improvements to reduce workers exposure to musculoskeletal disease risk.
AIHA Ergonomic Committee, Ergonomic Assessment Toolkit. American Industrial Hygiene Association. https://www.aiha.org/get-involved/VolunteerGroups/Documents/ERGOVG-Toolkit_rev2011.pdf
Armstrong T.J., Buckle P., Fine L.J., Hagberg M., Jonsson B., Kilbom A., Kuorinka I.A., Silverstein B.A., Sjogaard G., Viikari-Juntura E.R. A conceptual model for work-related neck and upper limb musculoskeletal disorders. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 19, 73â€“84, 1993.
Bongers P, de Winter C, Kompier M, Hildebrandt V. Psychosocial factors at work and musculoskeletal disease. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 19, 297â€“312, 1993.
Chiasson M.E., Imbeau D, Aubry K., Delisle A., Comparing the results of eight methods used to evaluate risk factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 42 (5), 478-488, 2012.
David G. C. Ergonomic methods for assessing exposure to risk factors for work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Occupational Medicine, 55, 190â€“199, 2005.
Devereux J, Vlachonikolis I, Buckle P. Epidemiological study to investigate potential interaction between physical and psychosocial factors at work that may increase the risk of symptoms of musculoskeletal disorder of the neck and upper limb. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59, 269â€“277, 2002.
Devereux J, Vlachonikolis I, Buckle P. Interactions between physical and psychosocial work risk factors increase the risk of back disorders: an epidemiological study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56, 43â€“53, 1999.
Kjellberg K., Lindberg P., Nyman T., Palm P., Rhen I. M., Eliassond K., Carlsson R, Balliu N., Forsman M., Comparisons of six observational methods for risk assessment of repetitive work -results from a consensus assessment, Proceedings 19th Triennial Congress of the IEA, Melbourne 9-14 August 2015, 2015
Li G, Buckle P. Current techniques for assessing physical exposure to work-related musculoskeletal risks, with emphasis on posture-based methods. Ergonomics, 42, 674â€“695, 1999.
Magosso D., Cipolla G., Dal Vecchio L., De Marzo N., Dolci S., Gobbi M., Martin V., Occari P., Tessadri G., Zanon P. Metodi per la valutazione del rischio da sovraccarico biomeccanico degli arti superiori, ULSS 17 Veneto, 2008
Malchaire J., Gauthy R., Piette A., Strambi F., A classification of methods for assessing and/or preventing the risks of musculoskeletal disorders, European Trade Union Institute, 2011, Bruxelles
Marras W.S., Granat, K.P., Davis, K.G., Allread W.G., Jorgensen, M.J., The effects of case weight, case size, and handle coupling on spine loading and risk of low back disorders in order selecting, Final Project Report for the Food Marketing Institute, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH., 1995
Neumann W.P., Inventory of Human Factors Tools and Methods A Work-System Design Perspective, Ryerson University, 2007.
Pehkonen I., Evaluation and Control of Physical Load Factors at Work, Evaluation and Control of Physical Load Factors at Work, 2010 http://epublications.uef.fi/pub/urn_isbn_978-952-61-0084-5/urn_isbn_978-952-61-0084-5.pdf
Takala E.P., Pehkonen I., Forsman M., Hansson G.A., Mathiassen S.E., Neumann,W.P., SjÃ¸gaard G., Veiersted K.B., Westgaard R.H., Winkel J. Systematic evaluation of observational methods assessing biomechanical exposures at work. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 36 (1), 3-24, 2010.
U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Ergonomics: The Study of Work , Washington DC 2000 https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3125.pdf
van der Beek A, Frings-Dressen M. Assessment of mechanical exposure in ergonomic epidemiology. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 55, 291â€“299, 1998.
Waters T.R., Putz-Anderson V., Baron S. Methods for assessing the physical demands of manual lifting: a review and case study from warehousing. American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, 59 (12), 871-881, 1998.
Winkel J, Mathiassen S. Assessment of physical work in epidemiology studies: concepts, issues and operational considerations. Ergonomics, 37, 979â€“988, 1994.