Completing an ergonomics risk assessment involves identifying and addressing the potential ergonomic risks that could lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Here’s a step-by-step process you can follow:
1. Identify Potential Hazards:
Start by observing the physical tasks your employees perform. Look for potential risk factors such as awkward postures, repetitive motions, forceful exertions, pressure points, vibration, and activities that require heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling.
2. Gather Detailed Information:
Next, gather more detailed information about the tasks that could pose a risk. How long are employees performing the task? What tools or equipment are they using? How is the work environment structured?
3. Evaluate the Risk:
Use an ergonomic assessment tool to evaluate the level of risk. There are many validated tools available for this purpose, including the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA), the Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA), Manual Handling Assessment Charts (MAC), Assessment of Repetitive Tasks (ART), and the Risk Assessment of Pushing and Pulling (RAPP Tool) among others. Each tool has its own methodology, but generally, they involve scoring different risk factors to arrive at a total risk score. You can read more about ergonomics risk assessment tools on this link .
4. Identify Solutions:
Once you’ve identified high-risk tasks, work on finding solutions to reduce these risks. This could involve changes in equipment (such as adjustable chairs or workstations), changes in work practices (like job rotation or frequent breaks), or changes in the work environment (like better lighting or reduced noise).
5. Implement Changes:
Put the identified solutions into place. This could involve purchasing new equipment, rearranging workspaces, or providing training on new work practices.
After changes have been made, follow up to see if they have effectively reduced the risk. You can do this by re-evaluating the task using the same ergonomic assessment tool, observing employees, or talking with them about their experiences.
Remember that an ergonomics risk assessment is not a one-time process. It should be repeated periodically and whenever there are significant changes to tasks, equipment, or work environments.
While these steps provide a general overview, the specifics can vary widely depending on the workplace and the nature of the work. It can be helpful to involve a professional chartered ergonomist or occupational health specialist, especially for complex situations.
Need help with your MSD/RSI/Ergonomic Risk Assessment and overall MSD prevention and ergonomics improvement process? Contact Morgan Maxwell today to speak with a Chartered Ergonomist. We can help you identify the right ergonomic risk assessment, checklist, tool, or evaluation for the job. If you’re unsure whether you need a Chartered Ergonomist’s expertise, see our blog post first: What is a Chartered Ergonomist?, and drop us a line with any questions.