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Identifying High Risk Jobs for WMSDs

Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) — Research for Safe Work

In 2010, the SHARP Program began a five-year study exploring the physical and organizational factors that may contribute to work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) in six major industry sectors across the State of Washington. Through interviews with company managers, employee representatives, and injured workers, researchers gained insight into the organizational climate, the nature of existing safety programs, and the context within which WMSDs occur. During site visits to workplaces, SHARP researchers assessed physical risk factors for hundreds of jobs using a combination of well-researched evaluation instruments.

Based on results from this project, SHARP has produced a summary report and physical job evaluation checklist for each industry sector. These materials have been produced for use by employers, safety managers, employees, and others in the occupational health and safety field.

Summary Reports

Industry-Specific Physical Job Evaluation Checklist

In an effort to help increase general awareness of the physical factors that contribute to WMSDs, SHARP researchers developed a Physical Job Evaluation Checklist tailored especially for workers in each of 6 industry sectors. These industries are:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Healthcare and Social Assistance
  • Manufacturing
  • Services
  • Wholesale and Retail Trade

This checklist can quickly assess levels of risk of injury (minimal, moderate, or high) for the back, shoulder, hand/wrist, and knee in a given job. The Physical Job Evaluation Checklist was developed from observations of work activities performed and the evaluation of WMSD risk is based on those observations.

The purpose of the Physical Job Evaluation Checklist is:

  1. To help identify aspects of the job that pose a risk for back, shoulder, hand/wrist and knee injury.
  2. To help prioritize injury prevention efforts by identifying the jobs or the aspects of the job that pose the greatest risk of injury.

    Download SHARP's Physical Job Evaluation Checklist (Excel file .xslm 4 MB - Currently, the checklist is only available for Windows operating systems. Running this Excel file in other operating system will create errors. Additionally, this file cannot be opened with any other spreadsheet programs.)

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