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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-21

Comparing the effectiveness of three ergonomic risk assessment methods—RULA, LUBA, and NERPA—to predict the upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders

1 Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Occupational Health, School of Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran
3 Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
4 Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of Health, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Asma Zare
Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of Health, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.IJOEM_23_18

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Background: Musculoskeletal disorders are a major problem in all jobs. Several methods are available for assessing the exposure to risk factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders. This study is aimed at comparing three different ergonomic risk assessment methods—rapid upper limb assessment (RULA), loading on the upper body assessment (LUBA), and new ergonomic posture assessment (NERPA) method—to predict upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders. Materials and Methods: The study was conducted on 210 workers from three different industries including pharmaceutical, automotive, and assembly in the Isfahan province. A Nordic questionnaire was used for determining the levels of musculoskeletal disorders. Then, selected postures were evaluated with RULA, LUBA, and NERPA methods. Finally, data were analyzed with Kolmogorov–Smirnov test to check the normality distribution of data, Spearman's correlation test to investigate the correlation between the assessed levels with musculoskeletal disorders, and Wilcoxon test to identify significant differences between the values with SPSS version 16. Results: Wilcoxon test revealed a significant difference between the values related to NERPA and RULA (P < 0.001), whereas no significant relation between LUBA and RULA was shown by this test (P = 0.914). The correlation coefficients of the musculoskeletal disorders' level with RULA level, NERPA level, and LUBA level were 0.74, 0.73, and 0.69, respectively. Conclusion: Low-risk levels in NERPA, medium-risk levels in LUBA, and high-risk levels in RULA are evaluated better. The results showed that RULA was the best method for assessing musculoskeletal disorders among the three methods.


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