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Rapid Upper Limb Assessment

Unit VII: Course Project Part 2

Gilbert Delatorre

Waldorf University

The last assignment had me discuss the ergonomic concerns of my workplace. I identified three main areas where I work in the classroom, at my desk, and working on the flight line. My classroom doesn’t create much of an ergonomic problem. I average about 500-900 teaching hours per year. Since I have the option to walk around and take a break every hour. I feel that this work center is safe. My office could pose some ergonomic issues. For this assignment, I will focus on flight line ergonomics. I believe this is the area that has the highest probability of injury. I will be conducting RULA and REBA assessments. 

The Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) is directed towards estimating the risks of work-related disorders in the upper limbs. (Stack, Ostrom, & Wilhelmsen, 2016) The assessment can be done quickly and to get a systematic view of the worker. The measurements can be done post and pre corrections. (Stack, Ostrom, & Wilhelmsen, 2016) The score from the assessment will indicate the probability of injury. This assessment will be on picking up a tool box and getting into a vehicle. The 15 step assessment described below was pulled from the text. (Stack, Ostrom, & Wilhelmsen, 2016)

  1. Locate upper arm position and score the position of the upper arm. I rate this one at a +2
  2. Locate the lower arm position and score the position of the lower arm. I score this at +2
  3. Locate the wrist position and score the wrist position. I score this at a +2
  4. Determine the wrist score. Wrist score was a 2
  5. Look up posture score. Score from the table was a 3
  6. Add muscle use score. I score this at 1 because it’s a static movement. 
  7. Add force/load score. I rated this at a +3 due to the weight of the toolbox
  8. Find the row in Table c. I identified row 7
  9. Locate and score the neck position and enter into the box. I rate this one at a +3 because I have to look down to pick up the box.
  10. Locate the trunk position and score. I rate this one at a +4 no adjustment in the waist
  11. Determine the score for supporting the legs. +1 for supported legs
  12. Score in table C. score here is a 7
  13. Add muscle use score. +1 again it is a static movement
  14. Add force/load score. +3 due to the weight of the toolbox
  15. Add values from 12-14 to obtain neck, trunk, score. An overall score of 7

Once the numbers have been totaled, a score will dictate which action group the work position belongs. Depending on the severity. The worksite may have to be evaluated immediately. The actions groups range from 1-4. One being the best and four being high risk. The scores from the assessment put this task in the action level 4 group. Which translates into being a terrible ergonomic position with a high risk of injury. Which I agree with. Picking up a heavy toolbox and getting into a van has a high risk of a lower back injury. 

A Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA) is similar a RULA. The 15 step process is roughly the same. However, a REBA scores the entire body position, not just the upper limbs. This assessment also provides a table on weight limits for both male and female. (Stack, Ostrom, & Wilhelmsen, 2016) I believe if I were to do a REBA on lifting the toolbox, the results would be in the high-risk category. I attribute this to the weight of the toolbox and the awkward movement to get into a truck.

According to the RULA, placing and removing the toolbox in the truck is an immediate ergonomic risk. I recommend the toolkits be replaced with something with wheels to make transporting the box easier. I recommend this movement be a two-person lift. I’m not sure if the box meets the minimum weight requirement for a two-person lift. I think acceptation should be made. Making culture change will be the hard part. Maintenance personnel are known to be stubborn when it comes to change. 

I was surprised to find that there are no OSHA regulations for ergonomics. I think for now trying to enforce a regulation would be difficult. I do appreciate that OSHA has created programs and provided recommendations for employers to prevent ergonomic injuries. I think their slogan of “fitting a job to person” (OSHA,nd) is a good start to changing the culture. Getting employers to recognize the importance of ergonomics will save money in the long run and help their employees happy and high moral. 

References:

Stack, T., Ostrom, L. T., & Wilhelmsen, C. A. (2016). Occupational ergonomics: A practical approach. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley

Occupational Safety & Health Administration. (n.d.). Prevention of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/

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