Barbara Faville

Project title: Validation of Five Checklists Used to Assess Risk Factors Associated with Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Upper Extremities

Degree: MS | Program: Industrial Hygiene & Safety (IH&S) - No longer offered | Project type: Thesis/Dissertation
Completed in: 2000 | Faculty advisor: Michael S Morgan


Pen and paper assessment methods or checklists are used to evaluate jobs, assess exposure, and identify risks that have the potential to cause injuries to the neuro-musculoskeletal systems in the body. Assessment methods are becoming increasingly important as regulatory agencies introduce regulations to control musculoskeletal injuries and greater emphasis is placed by industry to identify and mitigate risk factors that cause these types of injuries. Further, industry and others want reliable methods for determining where valuable resources should be spent in the control of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) risk factors.

A recent published literature review found evidence to associate risk factors such as force, posture, repetition and vibration with the development of musculoskeletal disorders (NIOSH, 1997). The strength of the evidence varied from weak to strong when specific risk factors are combined.

Although there are, as yet, no validated thresholds for determining what poster, force, or repetition rate will lead to an injury, it is fairly well established that more extreme postures, and great forces and repetition are more likely to cause an injury. There is also a higher risk when these risk factors are combined.

For practicing ergonomists, vocational rehabilitation counselors, and other safety and health professional working in field situations, pen and paper checklists have become the vehicle of choice for evaluating industrial and office jobs to identify the risk factors present in a job or task process. Checklists are extremely portable, unobtrusive, and easy to use compared with other methods (instrumentation, surveys and questionnaires). Checklists also provide standardized criteria and structure to job assessments. Unfortunately, very little research has been conducted to validate the effectiveness or accuracy of checklist rating methods (Leskinen, 1997).

Taken from the beginning of thesis.