Rapid Upper Limb Assessment

Unit VII: Course Project Part 2

Gilbert Delatorre

Waldorf University

The last assignment had me discuss the ergonomic concerns of my workplace. I identified three main areas where I work in the classroom, at my desk, and working on the flight line. My classroom doesn’t create much of an ergonomic problem. I average about 500-900 teaching hours per year. Since I have the option to walk around and take a break every hour. I feel that this work center is safe. My office could pose some ergonomic issues. For this assignment, I will focus on flight line ergonomics. I believe this is the area that has the highest probability of injury. I will be conducting RULA and REBA assessments. 

The Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) is directed towards estimating the risks of work-related disorders in the upper limbs. (Stack, Ostrom, & Wilhelmsen, 2016) The assessment can be done quickly and to get a systematic view of the worker. The measurements can be done post and pre corrections. (Stack, Ostrom, & Wilhelmsen, 2016) The score from the assessment will indicate the probability of injury. This assessment will be on picking up a tool box and getting into a vehicle. The 15 step assessment described below was pulled from the text. (Stack, Ostrom, & Wilhelmsen, 2016)

  1. Locate upper arm position and score the position of the upper arm. I rate this one at a +2
  2. Locate the lower arm position and score the position of the lower arm. I score this at +2
  3. Locate the wrist position and score the wrist position. I score this at a +2
  4. Determine the wrist score. Wrist score was a 2
  5. Look up posture score. Score from the table was a 3
  6. Add muscle use score. I score this at 1 because it’s a static movement. 
  7. Add force/load score. I rated this at a +3 due to the weight of the toolbox
  8. Find the row in Table c. I identified row 7
  9. Locate and score the neck position and enter into the box. I rate this one at a +3 because I have to look down to pick up the box.
  10. Locate the trunk position and score. I rate this one at a +4 no adjustment in the waist
  11. Determine the score for supporting the legs. +1 for supported legs
  12. Score in table C. score here is a 7
  13. Add muscle use score. +1 again it is a static movement
  14. Add force/load score. +3 due to the weight of the toolbox
  15. Add values from 12-14 to obtain neck, trunk, score. An overall score of 7

Once the numbers have been totaled, a score will dictate which action group the work position belongs. Depending on the severity. The worksite may have to be evaluated immediately. The actions groups range from 1-4. One being the best and four being high risk. The scores from the assessment put this task in the action level 4 group. Which translates into being a terrible ergonomic position with a high risk of injury. Which I agree with. Picking up a heavy toolbox and getting into a van has a high risk of a lower back injury. 

A Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA) is similar a RULA. The 15 step process is roughly the same. However, a REBA scores the entire body position, not just the upper limbs. This assessment also provides a table on weight limits for both male and female. (Stack, Ostrom, & Wilhelmsen, 2016) I believe if I were to do a REBA on lifting the toolbox, the results would be in the high-risk category. I attribute this to the weight of the toolbox and the awkward movement to get into a truck.

According to the RULA, placing and removing the toolbox in the truck is an immediate ergonomic risk. I recommend the toolkits be replaced with something with wheels to make transporting the box easier. I recommend this movement be a two-person lift. I’m not sure if the box meets the minimum weight requirement for a two-person lift. I think acceptation should be made. Making culture change will be the hard part. Maintenance personnel are known to be stubborn when it comes to change. 

I was surprised to find that there are no OSHA regulations for ergonomics. I think for now trying to enforce a regulation would be difficult. I do appreciate that OSHA has created programs and provided recommendations for employers to prevent ergonomic injuries. I think their slogan of “fitting a job to person” (OSHA,nd) is a good start to changing the culture. Getting employers to recognize the importance of ergonomics will save money in the long run and help their employees happy and high moral. 


Stack, T., Ostrom, L. T., & Wilhelmsen, C. A. (2016). Occupational ergonomics: A practical approach. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley

Occupational Safety & Health Administration. (n.d.). Prevention of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/

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