While it is a very useful system for job analysis, even for jobs which include a number of lifting tasks, the NIOSH Lifting Equation can be very complicated to use. And unfortunately the complexity of the equation increases as the job itself becomes more complex, making it difficult to use in those jobs for which it would be most helpful. Even using a calculator, the math involved is tedious and prone to error. We have found (through informal survey, not a scientific study) that one of the most (if not the most) significant hindrances to use of the NIOSH Lifting Equation is the complicated mathematics it requires.
Our program, HeavyLiftingII, vastly simplifies the analysis of lifting jobs. The user need only to make a number of very basic measurements (weight, height, distance, and time) and the program will do all the arithmetic. The program provides not only the Composite Lifting Index (a relative value for the risk of low back problems) but also many other useful data items including recommended weight limits and "multipliers" which help to identify the most problematic aspects of the job tasks.
Some authors have criticized the NIOSH Lifting Equation as being too "conservative", i.e., too likely to brand a given job as ergonomically unfavorable. We do not see this as a problem but as a benefit; if the job appears "safe" using this system it is very likely that it will also be "safe" using any other analysis tool. Also, the numerical output can be used as a relative scale for comparing one job to another or comparing job characteristics before and after ergonomic remediation.
In addition to calculating the Lifting Equation, the program provides a database for storage of jobs and their tasks for later perusal.
The shareware version of this program does not include a report printing function (this is currently in the works for later release). However, the database is a standard "Access" type file (.mdb file). Users who have Microsoft Access on their systems could easily set it up to print whatever reports they want.
For more specific instructions of the use of the program itself, Instructions are available for your review (you will need the Acrobat reader to open this .pdf file).
The user interface includes a main "worksheet" and a tree view that shows all jobs in the database.
To download HeavyLiftingII, go to our Download Page.
If you are unfamiliar with the NIOSH Lifting Equation, you should peruse the "Applications Manual for the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation."