# Determining Ergonomic Safety: RULA and REBA Analysis, OSHA Standards

## Introduction

A challenging condition of the work environment may cause temporary pain or long-term disability. Also, a poorly constructed work environment will lead to lower efficiency work, and a decrease in production, which will result in the company losing profit and an increase in workers' compensation due to work-related injuries. Because of the adverse working condition, an employee will be most likely to leave their work area and loiter. Thus, it will lead to a decrease in production, making sure that employee is working in as comfortably as possible, yet, maximizing productivity time. To determine the ergonomic solution, I will examine the work area using RULA and REBA and compare these findings to the table in the book. Based on the examination, I will then use the information to help find the area where we can improve the employee workstation. Then I will look at OSHA's suggested safety standards and see what's required and determine if we can further enhance safety standards at the workstation.

## Ergonomic RULA and REBA Analysis

The area where I am going to assess will be the building block of a unit. The unit is approximately 36 by 60 feet wide and is held up by a large square concrete slab approximately six feet off the ground. Beneath the unit, an employee is welding on the overhead of the unit. Inspecting the employee at the CSA work area and his welding posture, I compile some data using the table RULA and REBA to determine ergonomic risk within the CSA work area. Upon inspection, the employee is in a standing position, welding on an overhead unit of a ship. Using the RULA table, we will inspect the employee's three positions, the upper arm, lower, and wrist to identify the RULA assessment score. Starting at the upper arm is in a 90+ degree position, a +4 to the RULA, including +1 for the raised shoulder position. On lower arm position of 100+ degrees, puts the worker in +2. Lastly, the wrist position is formed into a fist of +1 and a wrist twisted in midline +1. When calculating the result from the RULA table, the final score was 4, which puts the employee in an action level 2. A level 2 indicated the worker has potentially at risk of injury due to their welding posture, and the action required to be corrected. Then I proceed to assess the employee's REBA neck, trunk, and legs posture. The employee's neck posture is at 10-20 degrees, which puts it in a +2. The neck was also slightly bent for viewing clarity, adding +1, which will total +3 for the neck posture. Next, we look at the trunk posture of the employee. The result was +2 for the extension of the trunk. Furthermore, both legs are on the ground, a +1. Bring the final total REBA score of 4 with the level action of 2 to bring the risk level medium and require attention to correct the problem.

My two suggestions to improve the employee posture, include eliminating the need for overhead weld is the use of an adjustable sitting position, and prefabricating to eliminate the need to weld overhead, and implementing administration control. A sitting position that will allow the employee to reduce the extension of back posture, and neck and reduce leg fatigue from prolonged standing. The adjustable seat to accommodating the employee height without the overextension of the neck when welding. The next improvement is to prefabricate and pre-weld all units. Prefabrication should be done in the shop where welding robot weld is available to eliminate overhead weld. Lastly, implement an administration control by suggesting a work and break the cycle. By making sure employees take breaks in between work to keep their muscles rest and blood circulating properly, reduces the body strain.

## OSHA Ergonomic Safety Standards

Under OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health), although no standard guideline that tailors to industry ergonomics, it is up to the employer under the OSHA General Duty Clause to obligated prevent any known hazards, including ergonomic hazards free from accidents and injuries. The company has to ensure that all employees are placed in a position that could cause harm due to improper ergonomics. However, In a case, if the employer does violate OSHA terms. OSHA general duty clause could issue a citation and fine for the penalty. OSHA will use data collected by using target workplace inspection, OSHA From 300 logs, referrals, and MSD-related complaints to investigate the environment of the workplace. Although there is no specific issue in OSHA standards stating any ergonomic measure, it is the employer's responsibility to present proper procedures training, and protective equipment to ensure that workers can work without any pain or discomfort. It is also critical that the worksite is regularly evaluated and makes ergonomically changes suitable for the employee's needs and introduces innovative equipment that will eliminate injury due to ergonomics.

## Conclusion

In a construction environment, it is obvious that general labor is involved. Employees are always in motion when it comes to labor work, such as lifting and bending and forcing an object to move. However, these motions come with a risk of injury to the body over time if we ignore the ergonomic practice. We should ask ourselves, how can we produce high-quality work if the workplace environment inhibits us? The employer must value employee health by making ergonomics as their prior and their goal to design a workplace that is the capability to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

## Reference

1. Department of Labor logo UNITED STATESDEPARTMENT OF LABOR. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/oshact/section_9
2. Stack, T., Ostrom, L. T., & Wilhelmsen, C. A. (2016). Occupational ergonomics: a practical approach. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
07 July 2022

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