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G Ital Med Lav Ergon. 2001 Apr-Jun;23(2):129-42.

Exposure assessment of upper limb repetitive movements: a consensus document developed by the Technical Committee on Musculoskeletal Disorders of International Ergonomics Association (IEA) endorsed by International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH).

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TNO, Human Factors Research Institute, Department of Work Environment, P.O. Box 23, 3769 ZG, Soesterberg, The Netherlands.


This consensus document intends to supply a set of definitions, criteria and procedures useful to describe and, wherever possible, to assess the work conditions that can represent a physical overload for the upper limbs. The document is aimed at all the operators, i.e. occupational doctors but mainly technicians, who are, involved in risk exposure assessment and management. The document intends to provide methods and procedures easily applicable in the field, possibly not requiring sophisticated instrumentation and when possible based on observation procedures. The proposed methods shall be based as far as possible on knowledge and data from scientific literature: should they be contradictory or deficient, reference will be made to standards or pre-standards issued by national and international agencies and bodies, with the experience of researchers involved and common sense. In this regard, it is to be emphasized that the potential users increasingly demand an easily applicable method for description and assessment of work with repetitive movements. The group intends to give a response even if there are still uncertainties from a strictly scientific standpoint: however the group commits itself to perform subsequent validations especially of as yet unconsolidated issues. This document focuses specifically on identification of risk factors and describes some of the methods that have been developed for evaluating them. There is a rapidly developing body of literature on job analysis and not yet agreement on a single best way to analyze jobs. Professional judgement is required to select the appropriate methods. Analysis and design of jobs should to be integrated into an ongoing ergonomics program that includes management commitment, training, health surveillance, and medical case management. In summing up this report, space must be given to the check lists that are so often seen in the medical press, although this is not the occasion to propose a detailed analytical review.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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