Physical Load Identification

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Teresa Álvarez Bayona, Instituto Nacional de Seguridad y Salud en el Trabajo (INSST), Spain

Introduction

Figure 1: Details of the post to be observed (translated into English)
Figure 2. Example of the checklist for forced postures
Figure 3: General scheme of the app

This e-tool is a phone app intended to provide an aid for the identification of risks associated with physical loads, specifically related to manual handling, repetitive work and adoption of static postures. The application was developed taking into account the criteria, procedures and tools recommended in international standards: ISO 11226:2000. Cor-1:2006. Ergonomics -- Evaluation of static working Postures and ISO 11228-1:2003. Ergonomics -– Manual handling. The TR 12295:2014. Ergonomics — Application document for International Standards on manual handling (ISO 11228-1, ISO 11228-2 and ISO 11228-3) and evaluation of static working postures (ISO 11226) were also taken into account.

The tool has some limitations:

  • It does NOT provide a risk assessment. It supports the risk assessment phase of identifying risk factors related to the physical load.
  • The tool is designed to identify physical load only. It is not a general ergonomic hazard identification method. Therefore, it does not cover factors such as environmental conditions, or mental load, although these are also important ergonomic aspects.
  • There are specific situations such as handling patients that are not covered.

The APP

The first two screens of the phone app serve to personalize the data with the name of the company, date, work centre and a short description of the workstation. Each workstation or worker can be analysed one by one (Figure 1).

Next, the app is used to identify the presence or absence of physical actions in each job. The app takes the user different areas of physical work load:

  • Lifting and depositing loads of more than 3 kg.
  • Transporting loads
  • Pushing and pulling (of packages, trolleys, etc.)
  • Manually placing loads
  • The exertion of significant force
  • Adopting forced or maintained postures
  • Repetitive movements
  • Repeated picking up and putting down of loads of less than 3 kg.

Depending on the actions identified, a specific checklist is opened, which directs the identification of risk factors. The user ticks the relevant risk factors in the checklist (Figure 2).

Finally, the app generates a report listing the identified risk factors and with a recommendation: to make a specific assessment or to take preventive measures.

Technical details and availability

The app, which is supported in Spanish only, can be downloaded free of charge here. More information can be obtained from the Instituto Nacional de Seguridad y Salud en el Trabajo (INSST)[1]


References

  1. INSST: informatica@insst.mites.gob.es

Contributors

Palmer