• ULDs are conditions which affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves or other soft tissues and joints in the upper limbs such as the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and fingers. They are often called repetitive strain injuries (RSI), cumulative trauma disorder or occupational overuse syndrome

Repeating an action

  • This uses the same muscles over and over again. The more a task is repeated, the more potential for developing a ULD. Also consider the speed at which the job is carried out. Moving the whole arm at low speed may be just as much a problem as quick movements, such as using an extension tool where access is restricted.

  • Does the task involve repeated actions?

  • Break up prolonged work periods involving repetition with changes to activity instead of one break at lunchtime or mid-shift. Mechanise higher risk tasks

  • How often should the operator be rotated from the task?

Uncomfortable working positions

  • These include moving the arm to an extreme position, eg working above head height, working with a very bent elbow, or holding something in the same place for a period of time.

  • Does the task involve working in uncomfortable positions?

  • Describe what the uncomfortable position is?

  • Design workplaces and equipment with the employee in mind. Consider providing platforms, adjustable chairs and footrests, and suitable tools. Arrange the position, height and layout of the workstation so it is appropriate for the work.

  • What actions will be put in place to reduce the risk?

Using a lot of force and handling heavy objects

  • This may include using excessive force or having to overcome friction, such as undoing a bolt. Handling/carrying heavy items may have an impact. Working with equipment and tools that vibrate can increase the risk of ULDs.

  • Does the task involve using force and handling heavy objects?

  • Describe what force is used and any equipment?

  • Provide levers, lifting aids and, if possible, lightweight tools, eg using jigs and counterbalance equipment may help. Reduce the weight of items, eg reduce the size of an item (for unpacking/loading tasks). Reduce the distance an item needs to be carried, or slide the item instead of lifting it. Buy low vibration tools and maintain them properly, so they are not stiff. Distribute force, eg over the palm of the hand, not just using one finger.

  • What actions will be put in place to reduce the risk?

Carrying out a task for an extended period of time

  • Work linked to shift patterns and production with limited scope for job rotation may present problems.

  • Does the task involve extended periods of time?

  • Share a high risk among a team by rotating people between tasks (each task needs to be sufficiently different to benefit the worker). Allow employees to carry out more than one step of a process (provided the steps do not have the same risks). Introduce changes in activity or rotate tasks to reduce exposure to risks.

  • How often should the operator be rotated from the task?

  • What actions will be put in place to reduce the risk?

Poor working environment


  • Working in uncomfortable temperatures or handling hot/ cold items. Working in dim light, in shadow or glare which causes a worker to adopt an awkward position to see better.

  • Are the conditions of the working environments good ?

  • Describe any issues with the working conditions in the area?

  • Reduce/control the levels of exposure to uncomfortable temperatures, eg reasonable working temperatures in workplaces inside buildings (usually at least 16 °C, or 13 °C for strenuous work, unless it is impractical to do so, eg in the food industry). Provide local heating or cooling where a comfortable temperature cannot be maintained and avoid putting workstations too near air vents. Make sure the lighting is good or provide suitable adjustable lighting such as a desk lamp. Avoid reflections and glare by moving lights, providing blinds on windows, or moving workstations.

  • What actions will be put in place to reduce the risk?

How the work is organised

  • A lack of control over the work rate or any excessive task demands, can have an impact.

  • Is the task controlled ?

  • Describe any issues with the organisation of the task?

  • Reduce/control the levels of exposure to uncomfortable temperatures, eg reasonable working temperatures in workplaces inside buildings (usually at least 16 °C, or 13 °C for strenuous work, unless it is impractical to do so, eg in the food industry). Provide local heating or cooling where a comfortable temperature cannot be maintained and avoid putting workstations too near air vents. Make sure the lighting is good or provide suitable adjustable lighting such as a desk lamp. Avoid reflections and glare by moving lights, providing blinds on windows, or moving workstations.

  • What actions will be put in place to reduce the risk?

Employee capability

  • People are different in terms of body size, age, ability, health and may have disabilities to consider when exposed to certain tasks.

  • Is the any consideration required for the operators capability ?

  • Describe any issues with the capability of the task?

  • Monitor work rates to assess the risks from excessive workload. Provide suitable training and information. Consider involving employees in decisions about their work

  • What actions will be put in place to reduce the risk?

Recommendations

  • Enter recommendations

Completion and sign off

  • Assessment completed by:

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Operator Sign off

  • I have read and understand the attached WRULD Assessment.

  • Please print your name and sign and date

  • Employee
  • Add signature

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