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Hedge, Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics

PLIBEL
Full name: Plan för Identifiering av Belastningsfaktorer: “method for the identification of musculoskeletal stress factors which may have injurious effects” Overview/purpose: The Swedish Work Environment Act stipulates that the employer shall investigate occupational injuries, draw up action plans, and organize and evaluate job modifications. Hence it is also of interest for the government’s Labour Inspectorate to study conditions and improvements in the workplace. The “method for the identification of musculoskeletal stress factors which may have injurious effects” (PLIBEL) was designed to meet such needs (Figure 1). PLIBEL has been used in several studies, in practical on-site ergonomic work, and as an educational tool. It has been presented in various parts of the world and translated into several languages (Kemmlert, 1995, 1996a, 1996b, 1997). PLIBEL is a simple checklist screening tool intended to highlight musculoskeletal risks in connection with workplace investigations. Time aspects as well as environmental and organizational considerations also have to be considered as modifying factors. The checklist was designed so that items ordinarily checked in a workplace assessment of ergonomic hazards would be listed and linked to five body regions (Figure1). Only specific work characteristics, defined and documented as ergonomic hazards in scientific papers or textbooks, are listed (Figure 2 and Figure 3). Whenever a question is irrelevant to a certain body region, and/or if documentation has not been found in the literature, it is represented by a gray field in the checklist and need not be answered. The list was made in 1986, and new references have since then been read continuously and the list updated. Mostly, these only add knowledge to the primary list, which accordingly has not been changed.

Figure 1: The PLIBEL Form .

as in the PLIBEL form. and feet are combined in the table. . References.Figure 2: Documented background for PLIBEL. are given for each risk factor in relation to body regions. Note. as numbered in the footnote. that in this presentation the distribution is by four body regions. Hips. however. knees.

refuse collectors. laundry workers (Kemmlert 1995). workers at a folding machine in a book binder. knees. trench diggers. machine superintendents.Figure 3: Documented background for modifying factors (for references. millers and distributors. stone layers. post assistants. see footnote to Figure 2) Only one — concerning hips. warehouse workers. workers in wood industry. and the lower spinal region — has the kind of new information searched for and has therefore been added to the documented background (Figure 2). MSD hazards considered: Force: Yes Posture: Yes Repetition: Yes Duration: Yes Other: no . Body parts assessed: Whole body Types of jobs/tasks: Postmen. meat cutters. cashiers. feet. Work settings: This method should be useful in any work setting.

To use PLIBEL. In cases where a more general application is desired. quotations from the list of ergonomic hazards can be used. are noted and addressed.g. The continued assessment is more difficult. who recommend that observers talk to operators to get a feel for what is important. and tasks that the worker and/or the observer look upon as particularly stressful to the musculoskeletal system. then follow the white fields to the right and check any observed risk factor(s) for the work task. which are to be performed by knowledgeable and experienced observers. the purpose of the interview with the worker that precedes the observation is to make such aspects of the task manifest.Description of method process: A workplace assessment using PLIBEL starts with an introductory interview with the employee and with a preliminary observation. the tasks that are conducted for most of the working hours. 1990). Unusual or personal ways of doing a task are also recorded. first locate the injured body region. This facilitates the assessments. To make the checklist easy to handle and applicable in many different situations. starting with the most tiresome movements and postures. the numbered area on the form is checked or a short note is made. and only questions relevant to that body region need be answered. where the crude dichotomous answers are arranged in order of importance. Drury. These can either upgrade or minimize the problem.. there are no duration criteria for a PLIBEL record. many of the unusual conditions that may constitute main hazards can be missed. For example. In fact. not mentioned in the checklist. as it requires consideration of questions a through f. A participatory approach of this kind has also been suggested by other authors (e. The issues identified as risks are arranged in order of importance. the whole list is used. The analysis of possible ergonomic hazards is done at the workplace. Usually PLIBEL is used to identify musculoskeletal injury risk factors for a specific body region. Additional evident risks. The assessments focus on representative parts of the job. The assessments should be related to the capacity of the individual observed. and only relevant risk information from the assessment is considered. . When an ergonomic hazard is observed. Modifying factors — duration and quantities of environmental or organizational factors — are then taken into consideration (Figure 1). In the concluding report. the questions are basic. and so cumbersome but short-lasting and/or rare events can also be recorded. Thus several PLIBEL forms may have to be filled in for each employee. and the result can be referred to one or more body regions. A handbook (unpublished material) has been compiled to provide the scientific background for each item and help identify the cutoff point for “yes” or “no” answers. The concluding report gives an interpretation of the ergonomic working conditions. If only “normal” subjects and work periods are chosen for assessments.

If necessary. It is simple and is designed for primary checking. It observes a part. Originally published in: Kemmlert. Different ergonomic hazards do not have an equal influence on worker injury.Equipment required: Paper. it is certainly enough to be equipped and well acquainted with the checklist. Although it is tempting to add items to the checklist. a folding rule. and certain problems can appear with more than one hazardous factor in the checklist. of the body and summarizes the actual identification of ergonomic hazards in a few sentences. PLIBEL should not be modified or used in this way. Many other methods are intended for a specific occupation or body region and can record more detailed answers. 126. PLIBEL is an initial investigative method for the workplace observer to identify ergonomic hazards.Ergonomics. or the whole. for instance weight and time. Conclusions Strenghts of the method The PLIBEL method is a general assessment method and is not intended for any specific occupations or tasks. (1995). K. these more specific methods can easily be used to supplement the PLIBEL questions. For labor inspectors and others observing many tasks every day. and a camera are sufficient for ordinary workplace observations and for initial identification of ergonomic hazards. and it can be supplemented by other measurements. For more information see: - . Appl. pencil. A method assigned for the identification of ergonomic hazards — PLIBEL. or quotations/observations from other studies. 199–211. to obtain a simple and quantitative measure of ergonomic conditions after a workplace assessment. Limitations The PLIBEL method is a general assessment method and is not intended for any specific occupations or tasks.

35–57. Med. pp. Kemmlert.Suppl. 5.References Carmines. Reliability and Validity Assessment. R.. (1983). 1–71. (1990). Drury. K. Luleå University of Technology.G. New Analytic Methods for the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Injuries: Fifteen Years of Occupational-Accident Research in Sweden. London. A New Technique for Job Analysis. Taylor & Francis. Ph. National Institute of Occupational Health. London.pp.G. K. (1998). K. and Kemmlert. and Landau. Kemmlert. Evaluation of Human Work. N.1–95.Ergonomics.A. Swedish Council for Work Life Research. (1996b). Occup. and Corlett. Sweden. E. (1997). Wilson.D. 199–211. Taylor & Francis. Appl. K.Asian Pac. Assessing ergonomic conditions in industrial operations: a field for global cooperation. (1996a). A method assigned for the identification of ergonomic hazards — PLIBEL.. 126. 67–69. On the Identification and Prevention of Ergonomic Risk Factors. (1995). . E. J. Rohmert. Serratos-Pérez. thesis. 1–34. C. 176–185. and Seller. Kemmlert. London.. pp. Prevention of occupational musculo-skeletal injuries. pp. Sage Publications. J. Newsl. Eds. Rehabil. Stockholm. Kemmlert. K.N.. 35. (1979).R. Health Saf. Scand. K. W.

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