The NIOSH program for evaluating biomechanical hazards in the workplace.
J Saf Res 1985 Jun; 16(2):49-60
The NIOSH program for evaluating biomechanical hazards in the workplace was discussed. The Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance (HETA) program was described. The HETA program was originally authorized by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Although the program was intended originally only for investigating toxic substances in the workplace, it has been broadened to include physical and biomechanical hazards. Sources of requests for biomechanical hazard evaluations were described. Through 1984, NIOSH has responded to 20 requests for evaluation of musculoskeletal disorders stemming from biomechanical hazards. Of these, 16 were received from companies engaged in light to medium manufacturing involving repetitive tasks, two were received from food handling and processing companies, one from a company that transports and stores bulk commodities, and one from a service and installation company. Trends in the number of requests for biomechanical evaluations were discussed. Procedures for conducting a biomechanical HETA were reviewed. Developing recommendations for interventions was considered. Such recommendations are prescriptive statements that define a course of action for preventing or reducing biomechanical trauma and involve two basic approaches, utilizing administrative and engineering controls. Examples of interventions to reduce musculoskeletal injuries were given. A number of indirect effects have suggested that NIOSH has achieved some success in achieving prevention and control of musculoskeletal injuries. The program has created and reinforced an awareness of the problems and the need for creative solutions.
NIOSH-Author; Ergonomics; Occupational-health; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Industrial-hazards; Biomechanics; Workplace-studies
Journal of Safety Research