What is the RULA?
The Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) is an industry standard tool that can be used to quickly evaluate a worker’s individual exposure to ergonomic risk factors in the context of work tasks. It is used to assess posture, force/load, and repetition for the upper extremity, neck, and trunk for a given position. The total score can be used to determine the urgency for further investigation and implementation of ergonomic modifications to reduce risk for musculoskeletal discomfort. The RULA captures a snapshot in time of an individual worker’s position, which is important to consider when making recommendations that can impact workers in a shared workspace and across shifts. It also needs to be performed on each upper extremity separately to identify the true risk for a given position.
The RULA specifically looks at upper arm, lower arm, neck, trunk, and wrist position, wrist twist, lower extremity support, static and repeated muscle use, and force/load. Each of these categories is individually scored. Individual scores are then used to determine overall posture and total scores. A lower total score is indicative of decreased ergonomic risk. See table below for scoring.
|1 or 2||Acceptable posture|
|3 or 4||Further investigation, change may be needed|
|5 or 6||Further investigation, change soon|
|7||Investigate and implement change|
At iWorks Health our onsite providers routinely complete ergonomic screens and consultations to help employers identify and reduce ergonomic risk factors for their workers. We frequently use the RULA to help identify opportunities to reduce ergonomic risk, in turn reducing musculoskeletal discomfort, work injuries, and recordables. Our Occupational Therapists are Certified Industrial Ergonomic Evaluators and have experience helping employers problem solve a variety of ergonomic concerns and challenges. Through an in-depth Ergonomic Consultation our team can provide unique solutions and recommendations to improve worker comfort, efficiency, and productivity.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Is your company managing a high number of recordables or work injuries in a specific work area or on a particular manufacturing line?
- Have you been tasked to increase productivity with the same number of workers?
- Do you need help determining a rotation schedule to decrease reports of worker soreness?
- Do you need equipment recommendations to improve workstation set-up?