The Bottom Line: Updates to the Exposure Levels for the NIOSH Lifting Index
Posted on July 12, 2022 | in Ergonomics
To help practitioners determine if a lifting or lowering task in the workplace is acceptable, Bob Fox from General Motors and Jack Lu from NIOSH (and others), conducted an extensive review of high-quality epidemiological studies to better understand the relationship between the NIOSH LI results and low-back health outcomes. As a result, updates were made to the NIOSH Lifting Index. Certified ergonomist Blake McGowan explains them in this month’s Bottom Line video.
Updates to the exposure limits and risk implications for the NIOSH lifting index have been under consideration for several years. Recently, in 2019, Bob Fox from General Motors, Jack Lew from NIOSH, and others conducted a systematic review of high-quality epidemiological studies to better understand the relationship between the NIOSH lifting index results and low back health outcomes. As a result, they proposed the following updates to the exposure limits and risk implications to help practitioners better predict low back health outcomes during lifting and lowering tasks in the workplace.
The researchers proposed the following items: First, they recommend five exposure levels compared to three in the past. Second, an exposure level of less than 1.5 is now associated with low risk. Third, however, consider lower the lifting index to values of one or less. Fourth, an exposure level of two or more is associated with high risk. Lastly, they updated the recommended actions for each exposure limit.
So, what does this mean? What’s the bottom line? The bottom line is that there are updates to the exposure limits and risk implications for the NIOSH lifting index to help practitioners better determine the acceptability of a lifting or lowering task in the workplace.