Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) are a major occupational health problem in Europe, affecting over 40 million workers. Current EU legislation includes some ergonomic provisions related to MSD prevention, but does not adequately address specifically Upper Limb Disorder-related MSD risks. In neither case - equipment use or design - have any specific common methodologies to estimate or evaluate risks for MSD been framed at European level.

The ETUI Health and Safety department (formerly TUTB) has always argued that ergonomic aspects cannot be divorced from product design and use. Ergonomics is one thing that cannot be tacked on after a machine has been built - it must be designed in right from the start.

This guide offers a collection of estimation methods selected from a range of sources that we believe may prove helpful in estimating MSD risk factors in machinery design. It does not claim to be a "quick-fix" problem solver for evaluating every risk factor. With this guide, we aim to feed knowledge from the actual use of machines back to designers' and manufacturers' drawing boards. We mean to factor the end users' perspectives into the design process by showing how workplace knowledge can be chanelled into the conceptual of machinery design.

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