A weblog dedicated to Ergonomics education, dicussion and debate. This emerging field has the power to transform industry, business and the lives of ordinary people for the better. The Industrial Athlete intends to encourage and document our profession's vision of an ergonomically-friendly future!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Ergonomist's Toolbox: The NIOSH Equation

This week, I have looked back upon the posts of weeks past, and since there is little distinguishing previous Sunday Spotlights, and mid-week posts such as the one on hand tools just recently, I have decided to discontinue that series.

However, I would like to introduce a new series of posts to take Spotlight's place: The Ergonomist's Toolbox. These posts will focus on online web resources that ergonomists and human factors professionals can use to help them to complete their work tasks.

One task common to ergonomists involves establishing the level of risk posed to workers by the materials that they lift and lower on a daily basis. The tool most commonly used to assess manual material handling risk is the NIOSH equation. Some professionals use tables to calculate the Recommended Weight Limit (RWL) and the Lifting Index (LI); this can be tedious and time-consuming.

Fortunately, some altruistic people out there in the ergonomics community have created tools that only require the input of relevant values, computing the desired statistics in seconds:

http://www.ohcow.on.ca/downloads/niosh91.exe -- A simple, yet effective NIOSH equation program. Highly recommended.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/94-110.html -- Detailed, in-depth information on the particulars of the equation from the people who created it.

http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/niosh/assessing.html -- The "Coles Notes" version of the previous link, simplifying the explanation of the equation for those put off by jargon.

If there are any lurkers out there with any other resources they'd like to suggest, please feel free to comment. If you have any feedback on this blog thus far, also feel free to comment as well!


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