The ergonomic checklists

A checklist is useful for somebody who does not know where to start. For the manager, often there is not enough time to consider the finer points when completing an investigation.

The checklists will serve to remind you of various aspects of work where ergonomics can be of assistance.

On every point there is a financial gain to the organization if the requirement is met. In many instances the answers and advantages of having things right are obvious; in other instances the point may seem less important. This is probably because of lack of knowledge and the reader would do well to seek further information by reading up on those points which he or she is not familiar with.

The list is not complete but covers most circumstances. Most industrial disasters today are the result of human error, either in setting up the workplace or in its running; these can be mostly prevented by the proper application of ergonomics by the management services department at the appropriate time.

This checklist has been adapted from that published by the International Ergonomics Association in 1965-70 (still relevant today!)

Organization of work

  • Is the work formed in shifts; if so what system is used? If rotating, what are the extra psychological and physiological loads imposed upon the worker? Are there any social implications?
  • What are the actual hours of work? Are there any customs and practices that need close scrutiny?
  • What is the average overtime? Is overtime income built into the job? Should this be recognized?
  • What formal meal and refreshment rates are provided; are they organized effectively?
  • Is the task paced? Is the pacing necessary and/or effective?

Environmental load

  • Are any conditions legally stressful? Are all recommendations under health and safety complied with?
  • Do you know the air temperature, humidity, radiation and air movement? What are the limits in summer and winter?
  • How are preventative measures used to mitigate adverse climatic conditions and do they impede performance?
  • Is the worker exposed to rapid environmental changes during the course of his or her single shift?
  • What is the noise level; does it interfere with performance; what risk is there of hearing loss?
  • If noise level is high, how should preventative measures be taken; are hearing losses of workers screened on recruitment?
  • Are there any other potential environmental hazards, e.g. dust, chemical agents, ultra-violet light, ionizing radiation? In cases of doubt has specialist advice been obtained in writing?
  • To that extent should personal protective devices be provided; is the worker adequately protected from adverse weather as well as from hazardous substances?

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