What is an Ergonomic Assessment – Ergonomics assessment is a process of evaluating the risk of musculoskeletal disorders due to a mismatch between workstation design and the employee while carrying out his/her responsibility.
What is an Ergonomic Assessment
Ergonomic practice is very important to ensure that employees are safe and productive at work. When an employees adopting poor ergonomic work practice it can lead to the development of musculoskeletal disorders.
It is estimated that 364 million adult workers in the workplace have experienced a loss of productivity due to a musculoskeletal disorder; this is the highest rate of occurrence among chronic health conditions, surpassing chronic hypertension and heart disease.
N/B: Repetitive activities, such as bending, straightening, straightening, lifting, pulling, and sitting for extended periods of time can all contribute to or worsen the condition.
Steps to Conduct Ergonomic Assessment
- Review existing data: Review existing data and past ergonomic assessments by consulting records and databases within your organization or conduct a thorough analysis of the available information.
- Establish ergonomic assessment method: Based on the result from the review of existing data, you can then develop an ergonomic assessment method that will fit your organization. The method would include:
Establishing an ergonomic assessment method involves a systematic approach to evaluating and improving the design of workspaces, equipment, and tasks to ensure they are conducive to human comfort, safety, and productivity. Here are the steps to establish an ergonomic assessment method:
- Define Objectives and Scope: Clearly define the objectives of the ergonomic assessment. Determine what aspects of the workplace or tasks you want to evaluate, such as workstation design, tools, work processes, or employee posture.
- Assemble a Team: Form a team of individuals with expertise in ergonomics, such as ergonomists, occupational health and safety professionals, and employees who understand the work processes.
- Gather Information: Collect relevant information about the workplace, including job descriptions, workstations, equipment, and any existing ergonomic issues or injuries.
- Identify Hazards and Risk Factors: Identify potential ergonomic hazards and risk factors that could lead to discomfort, fatigue, or MSDs. This could include, awkward postures, repetitive motions, excessive force requirements, poor lighting, and improper equipment design.
- Select Assessment Tools: Choose appropriate assessment tools and methods to gather data. This may include observation, surveys, interviews, and ergonomic assessment software.
- Conduct Ergonomic Assessments: Conduct on-site assessments of workstations and tasks and Collect data on factors such as posture, frequency of movements, and force exertion.
- Analyze Data: Analyze the collected data to identify areas where ergonomic improvements are needed and prioritize issues based on severity and the potential for preventing injuries or discomfort.
- Develop Recommendations
- Implement Changes
- Monitor and Evaluate: Continuously monitor the effectiveness of the ergonomic changes and conduct follow-up assessments to evaluate improvements and address any new issues that may arise.
- Document and Communicate: Maintain detailed records of the assessment process, findings, and implemented changes; also communicate the results and recommendations to employees and management.
- Ongoing Review: Establish a periodic review process to ensure that ergonomic assessments and improvements remain effective over time.
- Plan to implement mitigation: Craft a plan to implement the the method drawn out
Why we need Ergonomic Assessment
Here are some salient reasons why we need ergonomic assessment:
- Reduce errors and workers comp costs
- Increase total productivity and individual productivity
- Decrease absenteeism and lost workdays
- Cut the need for professional care
Ergonomic Assessment Tools
According to VelocityEHS here are some ergonomic tools you can use for ergonomic assessment.
Ergonomics teams often rely on observational MSD risk assessment methods to assess MSD risks. There are numerous techniques that assessors apply during an observational-based ergonomics assessment, and differing levels of familiarity and expertise can introduce significant variability in measurements and other assessment data. As a result, assessment scores are often inaccurate and unreliable. In some instances, organizations use sensors and multiple cameras to track body movements during a job task. The data is more accurate than using traditional, observation methods, but the cost of special equipment to collect the data is often cost prohibitive for many companies.
For accurate ergonomics assessments that are easier to perform and require very little equipment, many organizations are turning toAI-powered technology like the sensorless motion-capture Advanced Assessment Tool in VelocityEHS Ergonomics . This technology can eliminate human error and variability in ergonomics assessments, reduces the time it takes to perform assessments, and only requires a camera on a mobile device to gather data. This results in objective, accurate data for your assessment and a more effective analysis of MSD risk in the job task being assessed.
Manual, practical tools are helpful for gathering key measurements for an ergonomics assessment. This includes something as basic as a tape measure to record surface heights, hand working heights and horizontal reaches. More specialized tools are used to measure different kinds of forces, listed below and paired with the type of force they are made to measure:
- Pinch Grip: Pinch grip dynamometer
- Finger Press: Force gauge
- Power Grip: Hand dynamometer
- Product/Tool Weight: Scale
- Pushing: Force gauge
- Pulling: Force gauge