Checklist physical load

Why has this checklist been developed?

High physical workloads may lead to the occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders such as low back pain, neck or shoulder pain, knee or ankle pain, and may even result in absenteeism from work. In order to prevent such musculoskeletal disorders, it is necessary to inventory the risk factors that are present at the workplace. Several risk assessment tools have been developed to measure workers’ exposure to risk factors for various dimensions of physical workload. However, the use of such risk assessment tools is time-consuming. In some cases, it is not necessary to assess all aspects of the physical workload.

This checklist has been developed to assist in such risk assessment procedures. It enables you to gain a quick insight into the possible physical-workload-related risks accompanying a given task. Filling out the checklist will yield an overview of the results for each dimension of the physical workload. If a given dimension of the physical workload does not lead to any risk factors, no further action is required. If a risk factor is indicated for a given dimension, you will be referred to a follow-up assessment tool, which will allow you to estimate the risk level involved and will indicate possible ways of reducing the risk. Other tried and tested assessment tools may be found by referring to the Health & Safety guide for your branch of industry (known as the arbocatalogus in Dutch).

Read more about the development of a stage I risk filter for physical work load (PDF)

For whom has the checklist been developed?

Potential users of the checklist are persons who are involved in a company’s Health & Safety management, such as Health & Safety experts, ergonomists, Health & Safety officers and (in smaller companies) even directors.

How to use the checklist

Instructions about how to interpret the questions are provided in the checklist. No prior knowledge of risk factors or physical workload is needed to use the checklist. The results page for each dimension of the physical workload provides an overview of the expected risks. If necessary, this overview will refer you to specific follow-up assessment tools. Specifications of such tools can be found (in Dutch) at, the Health & Safety portal of the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.

This checklist is meant to be a first step (step 0) in a risk assessment. The results produced by its use enable the user to gain an insight into the possible risks associated with a given set of tasks. The checklist does not replace a detailed risk assessment.

Can the checklist be viewed as a replacement of a risk assessment and evaluation?

No, performing a risk assessment and evaluation is still mandatory under Dutch law, as is the formulation of a risk reduction plan if called for.

If risk assessment and evaluation leads to the identification of physical-workload-related risk factors but only covers certain dimensions of the physical workload involved, this checklist may be used to identify the dimensions of the physical workload for which an in-depth risk assessment is required. If physical-workload-related risk factors for your branch of industry have already been clearly established by comprehensive risk assessment and evaluation, there is no need to use this checklist.