Our SMS ergonomic analysis methodology provides practical solutions to ergonomic hazards encountered in a myriad of working conditions where cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) / repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), acute soft tissue injuries, or other ergonomic concerns are present. We are experienced in providing ergonomic evaluations ranging from the office, chemical processing, manufacturing, mining, and explosives industries. Our ergonomic capabilities can assist safety, health, and engineering professionals in resolving ergonomic-related issues.
The ergonomic analyses performed by SMS consist of three phases: process assessment, on-site analysis, and final documentation. The process assessment consists of a review of process design, equipment, previous analyses, and incident reports. The on-site analysis consists of video recording operations, measurement gathering (force, weights, reach distances, lifting heights, etc.), and performance of an Ergonomic Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (Ergonomic FMEA). The documentation phase addresses all operator and management comments and concerns.
The Ergonomic FMEA consists of identification of potential ergonomic hazards, causes, and risk reducing factors. In addition ergonomic risk indexes, that have been developed by SMS, are used to prioritize the various hazards. Risk indexes have been developed for the three major ergonomic risk factors: (1) force, (2) posture, and (3) frequency. The force index is based on the NIOSH back compressive limits and the joint strength capability limits. The posture index is based on Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) methodology. The frequency, repetition, and duration index is based on the NIOSH lifting equation, accepted frequencies, and SMS experience. A fourth index which aids in identifying other contributing factors is also used.
Each hazard scenario is ranked based upon the respective index. The indices are then used to generate and prioritize recommendations. A hazard with a less severe hazard index is given a lower priority and is not targeted with extensive and complex recommendations, while a hazard with a high risk index often has several associated recommendations that can be costly and involved.