Conducting a Basic Ergonomic Survey-June 2011

Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety 

June 2011

IN THIS ISSUE: Conducting a Basic Ergonomic Survey

Ergonomic surveys are a key component in providing a safe workplace environment.  By following the few simple steps of a basic ergonomic survey, injuries and accidents can be prevented.  Keep in mind that these suggestions offer only a portion of a complete ergonomic analysis, and a trained safety professional can provide more in-depth analyses.

STEP 1: Define the purpose of the survey. Review past accidents to pinpoint problems. Speak to supervisors and employee about injuries, first aid cases, and past incidents. Ask about tasks that put stress on the body and if employees know a better way to do the job.

STEP 2: List potential stressors.  Make a detailed list of typical work tasks for each job.  Then, determine the musculoskeletal stressors for each task.  The “Caution Zone Checklist,” created by Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (WIHSA) highlights these common stressors:

  • Awkward Posture
  • Highly Repetitive Motion
  • Repeated Impact
  • Heavy, Frequent of Awkward Lifting

STEP 3: Make changes. Once potential stressors have been listed, note whether these have caused or may cause a problem for employees.  For significant stressors, one or more of the following changes may be made:

  • Eliminate or redesign the process.
  • Change machinery or equipment.
  • Add lift carts or hoists.
  • Provide work stations that adjust in height and fit the employees using them.
  • Limit the time employees are exposed to stressors.
  • Use ergonomically designed tools. 
  • Provide proper training.

STEP 4: Monitor effectiveness.  Once an ergonomic survey is completed, all changes should be closely monitored to ensure effectiveness.  Perform ergonomic surveys consistently, and involve the safety committee in expanding the survey to meet employee needs. 

 For more information on this topic and to discuss your company’s safety and industrial hygiene needs call OccuSafe at (214) 662-6005 or (303) 219-6973 or visit us at

OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate andcontrol hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.

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