Before learning how to use ART, you should have a reasonable understanding of what upper limb disorders are and how to recognise and manage the risks.
Before starting the assessment, it is important to consider several things.
Which task should be assessed first?
In many situations, you may be asked to look at a particular task and so should begin with an ART assessment of that task. In some workplaces though there are so many repetitive tasks it is difficult to know how and where to start.
To help set priorities, you could try one of the following approaches:
- Ask a representative group of workers to review the work and identify a selection of tasks with the highest priority.
- Follow each process from start to finish and speak to workers individually. Ask them to describe what they do and describe any difficulties they have doing the work.
- Conduct a workplace survey about pain and discomfort and focus on those activities where problems are most prevalent.
Is the task suitable for assessment with ART?
ART is most suited for tasks that:
- involve actions of the upper limbs;
- repeat every few minutes, or even more frequently; and
- occur for at least 1–2 hours per day or shift.
These are typically found with 'assembly-line work' or processes with high rates of production.
ART is not intended for use in Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessments.
Who needs to be involved in the assessment?
To use ART effectively, you must consult workers doing the task. Several factors can only be assessed accurately with proper input from workers who have real experience doing the task.
Consider whether people with other areas of expertise are required for the assessment. This may include other people in the company with responsibility for designing and managing the repetitive work (such as engineers, task supervisors, and safety representatives).
At what time should the assessment be made?
It is important to consider the time in the day or shift when you do an ART assessment. It is possible workers may feel the task is more demanding or report more difficulties towards the end of the shift, or after they have been doing the task for several hours. This is often a better time to do the assessment.
If you must make the assessment at the start of the shift, or when workers just begin the task, make sure you ask how they find the work towards the end.
What equipment is needed during the assessment?
ART is intended to be used with minimal equipment.
However, to make a more accurate assessment, it might be helpful to use a video camera to film some workers doing the task. This will allow you to view the task away from the work area, look closely at workers' postures and make more accurate judgements about the time workers spend doing each element of the task.
It would also be useful to have more detailed information about the weights of any items handled and the forces applied to any objects. There are measurement tools, such as force gauges and dynamometers to take physical measures which are very helpful for collecting this type of information.