The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has issued a new report to help analyze worker posture, and to help prevent and control occupational musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
Assessing worker posture is one of many job analysis tools that study the link between risk factors (such as posture, repetition, and force) and the prevalence of MSDs. These tools include quantitative and semiquantitative descriptions of posture, as well as observation.
Using the latest research, the NIOSH report, Observation-Based Posture Assessment: Review of Current Practice and Recommendations for Improvement, states that posture analysis works best by partitioning:
- Trunk flexion range of motion into 4 categories of 30° increments;
- Trunk lateral bend into 3 categories of 15° increments;
- Shoulder flexion into 5 categories of 30°;
- Shoulder abduction into 5 categories of 30°;
- Elbow flexion into 4 categories of 30°.
These categories help facilitate the rapid and effective assessment of posture. Furthermore, the report offers tips on video recording guidelines and on posture analysis, which includes the use of software, visual reference and perspective cues. The NIOSH report is ideal for safety professionals, including ergonomics and risk management/loss control practitioners, who can enhance their analysis of tasks that involve pushing, pulling, carrying, and/or manual handling risk factors.
Read the overview of the NIOSH report or download a PDF of the actual report.