Lifting-related musculoskeletal disorders cause a third of injuries serious enough to lead to missed work. The price tag associated with those incidents is between $45 and $54 billion annually. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has launched a free app that brings the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation (RNLE) to smart phones.
RNLE is an internationally recognized standard for safe lifting. For more than 20 years, employees and safety professionals have used a NIOSH paper manual to calculate the risk of manual lifting jobs using the RNLE. The app determines a score based on data entered about the lifting task and provides recommendations to help a worker optimize the task or perform it differently in order to avoid injury.
The NLE Calc app is based on the Applications Manual for the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation and can be used to calculate the recommended weight limit (RWL) and lifting index (LI) for single or multiple lifting tasks. The LI is an index of the relative physical stress for performing a particular lifting task, while the composite LI or CLI is an index of the overall physical stress for performing multiple lifting tasks. The risk level is displayed on the app as yellow (low), orange (medium), or high (red). NIOSH recommends an LI and CLI of 1 or less for protecting workers from physical stress related to development of low back disorders.
“NLE Calc is a quick and simple way for a worker to assess their risk for injury before they manually lift an object,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, MD. “The information workers used to find in a manual is now in their back pocket and can help prevent one of the most common, and costly, work-related injuries.”