Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find frequently asked questions about using the physical load assessment tools on this website. Do you have other questions about the instruments or about other information on this website? Please feel free to contact us.
Musculoskeletal complaints are responsible for one-third of the reported cases of absenteeism and disability. Physical load forms the core of the problem, and is one of the main factors hindering sustained healthy, productive work. The costs for industry and government are high. It is manifestly important, therefore, to gain a clear insight into the factors leading to (undue) physical load and the possible risks associated with it. Physical load may be caused by heavy or repetitive work in the building trade or industry, or static loads on people who spend many hours each day behind a computer or whose work involves prolonged unfavourable working postures. Activities involving substantial physical load include lifting and carrying, pushing and pulling, hand and arm tasks, work associated with unfavourable working postures and working with vibratory tools.
Excessive or insufficient physical load may lead to musculoskeletal complaints (complaints of the muscles, tendons and/or joints). This is bad for the employee concerned, but also for the company where he or she works. You can use the assessment tools described here to determine the risks associated with physical load in a given work situation, and to take appropriate measures that will help to limit musculoskeletal complaints in your employees and to promote sustained healthy, productive work in your organization.
No, Dutch legislation still obliges you to carry out an RI&E and to draw up a plan of approach if the results of the RI&E indicate the need for this. If your RI&E indicates that there may be some physical-load-related problems in your company, you can use the physical load checklist to pinpoint the precise risks involved. Some RI&Es are quite superficial; in that case, you can also use the checklist to get a clearer picture of the risks your employees face. If your RI&E clearly indicates the presence of specific problems, for example in the field of hand-arm tasks or unfavourable working postures, you can use the appropriate level II tools to determine the problems involved more precisely and thus to take the right preventive measures.
When the checklist indicates the presence of risks, further steps for identifying the underlying risk factors are proposed. When HARM or WRAP gives a ‘red’ alert, the underlying risks can be deduced from the results survey; sample solutions for various cases are also given at the bottom of the results screen. It may be possible to adapt these solutions to deal with your specific situation. You can also consult the Health & Safety catalogue (arbocatalogus in Dutch) of your company or branch of industry for measures you might be able to use to deal with your physical load problems.
You need to log on before you can use the assessment tools. If you have never used the tools before, the first step is to register. To do this, click on Register account and fill in the information requested in the various boxes. On submission of your data you will receive a confirmation e-mail and you can activate your account. Your personal data are transmitted by a secure link during the creation of your account. As soon as you have logged on, you can use the various assessment tools and your assessment results will be stored so that you can consult them on a subsequent visit. Your assessment results are stored in a database to which only you and TNO have access.
Your personal data are transmitted by a secure link during the creation of your account. Your assessment results are stored in a database to which only you and TNO have access. As soon as you have logged on, you can use the various assessment tools and your assessment results will be stored so that you can consult them on a subsequent visit. You can also use the results to determine the effect of a measure, by comparing the assessment results before and after the introduction of the measure.
TNO uses the database for two different purposes. Firstly to contact the assessment tool user group in order to test or evaluate new or existing tools. You will be asked during the registration process whether you wish to participate in this activity. You will not suffer any adverse consequences if you decline. Secondly, the database is used for the purpose of analysis, for example to gain a better insight into the risk factors that occur in practice. This expands our knowledge of the types of physical load that may be encountered in different branches of industry or professions. The assessment data are anonymized before analysis, so that the results cannot be traced back to a particular individual or company.
It does not cost anything to use these assessment tools. You do however have to register, so that your assessment results can be stored and compared with results you obtained in the past or will obtain in the future.
The instruments are currently available in Dutch and English. The Hand Arm Assessment Method (HARM) is also available in Swedish. If you would like to use the assessment tools in another language, please indicate this on the contact form. We will then get in touch with you to discuss the possibilities.