Alberto Ferreras Remesal, Alicia Piedrabuena Cuesta, Purificación Castelló Mercé, Carlos Chirivella Moreno, Raquel Marzo Roselló, Alfonso Oltra Pastor, Raquel Ruiz Folgado, Mercedes Sanchis Almenara
Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV). Universitat Politècnica de València. Edificio 9C. Camino de Vera s/n (46022) Valencia (Spain)
The ErgoCheck module of the Ego/IBV program allows in a qualitative and simple way, the initial identification of the ergonomic and psychosocial risk factors that exist in a company, workstation or task.
An ErgoCheck analysis facilitates initial detection, which leads to detailed assessments, offering initial recommendations to address corrective measures.
One of the greatest difficulties inherent in ergonomic evaluations is deciding which are the ergonomic risk factors most affect workers at a workstation. There is also a demand for global tools that make it possible to identify the main situations that may give rise to ergonomic problems in companies or work stations, in order to assess the level of risk and propose action measures. In addition to providing an initial risk map, these global tools allow health and safety technicians to establish basic proposals for improvement and to optimize the performance of quantitative risk assessments only at those situations where necessary.
To meet these needs, IBV researchers have developed a new module of the Ergo/IBV application for ergonomic and psychosocial risk assessment (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Main screen of the Ergo/IBV application,
which allows access to the ErgoCheck module (left upper corner)
The ErgoCheck module allows in a qualitative and simple way, the initial identification of the ergonomic and psychosocial risk factors that exist in a company, workstation or task.
The implementation of this module can be used to achieve one or more of the following objectives:
♦ Obtain a map of potential ergonomic problems (in a company, section, workstation…) that allows comparisons, leads to detailed assessments, and provides initial recommendations for the improvement of existing conditions.
♦ Perform an initial identification of risks (or a basic assessment) prior to an advanced level assessment (if risk factors are detected during the initial identification, the advanced level will be active). The use of ErgoCheck enables direct access to advanced level modules depending on the risk factors detected.
♦ Carry out a comprehensive evaluation of a workstation or task. To do this, you must perform an initial assessment with ErgoCheck and, on the basis of the recommendations offered by the tool, make detailed assessments with the relevant modules. ErgoIBV will group all of these assessments (initial and detailed) in a single case study.
The module has been developed by adapting various existing checklists and is based on the experience of research staff in the ergonomics and occupational health department of the IBV. The IBV has extensive experience in the identification of ergonomic risk factors in a multitude of fields and businesses, and is aware of how important it is to thoroughly identify and collect ergonomic risk factor data, which is paramount for subsequently carrying out a rigorous ergonomic risk assessment.
Figure 2. Initial screen of the ErgoCheck module.
The module includes a checklist that is structured on two levels (Figure 2):
♦ Initial level (Level I: Initial identification) includes 12 basic questions to identify potential ergonomic and psychosocial risk situations.
♦ Intermediate level (Level II: Detailed check) includes up to 64 questions grouped into 9 blocks:
- Sensitive workers
- Psychosocial aspects
- Envir onmental Conditions
- Manual material handling
- Display screens
- Design of spaces
- Design of elements/equipment
At this level II, the only blocks and questions that are activated are those where any item has been marked at level I.
Once the analysis of the workstation or the task has been carried out, the module provides the following results (Figure 3):
♦ A summary of the marked items, which can be considered as a potential psychosocial or ergonomic risk.
♦ General recommendations to facilitate the correction of the ergonomic problem detected.
♦ Quantitative methods, present in ErgoIBV, that are recommended to assess the situation, depending on the results obtained.
All this information can be incorporated into a detailed report.
Figure 3. Report of the ErgoCheck module. Example.
In addition, the results of the analysis can be exported to be used as job requirements in the NedLabor/IBV software1.
1 NedLabor/IBV is a computer program for the implementation of a method for assessing work capacity that makes it possible to objectify the existence or non-existence of mismatches between the physical requirements of a job and the physical abilities of the worker.
This software has been designed to help the specialist to objectively determine whether a patient can return to work after a period of Temporary Incapacity due to an injury to the musculoskeletal system.
More information in "NedLabor/IBV an application to assess the working capacity of workers. Journal of Biomechanics , 62, pp.18 -25. ISSSN 2444-037X (2015).
This new module allows the user to make risk maps (of a company, workstation, or task) and it serves as a basis for a full analysis that includes assessments run with other ErgoIBV modules. In this sense, the latest ErgoIBV update includes a new grouping of the analyses in case studies. Each case study may contain several analyses. From the actual ErgoCheck module itself, you can create new analyses that will be grouped in the same case study.