Utility Analysis of the Application of the Variable Lifting Index (VLI)
Introduction: The Variable Lifting Index (VLI) is one of the proposal extensions for the application of the Revised NIOSH lifting equation (RNLE) in highly variable work conditions. But is it necessary to apply these complex mathematical models to identify the main risk factor to be improved?
Methods: 10 warehouse clerk workplaces from different companies of logistics sectors have been assessed using VLI. 118 OHS practitioners have been asked about the strategy usually used to assess the manual lifting risk. After applying these strategies to the analyzed workplaces, the potential to identify efficient risk reduction interventions is compared.
Result: The most frequently used strategy to assess the manual lifting risk in highly variable conditions is to analyze the most frequent posture with the average weight. This strategy has identified the most significant risk factor, as VLI identified it, only in 2 out of 10 cases analyzed.
Discussion: VLI permits to identify the most efficient intervention to reduce the exposure level in a complex and variable working conditions. The use of other strategies will identify insufficient or misleading interventions. From a practical point of view, VLI will contribute to manage occupational risk related to manual lifting loads in a more efficient manner.
KeywordsManual lifting Variable lifting index Risk assessment
I thank the OHS practitioners and companies who participated in this study. I also want to thank Sonia Tello for her help in formatting and analyzing the data.
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