Development of a Comprehensive Human Factor and Ergonomics Checklist for Workplace Inspections Using a Macroergonomics Approach
Authors: Shalinda Shafie, Shamsul Bahri Mohd Tamrin, Ng Yee Guan, Dayana Hazwani Mohd Suadi Nata
Abstract: Lack of time and manpower as well as a fragmented inspection process are some of the challenges faced by industrial hygiene inspectors from the Malaysian Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) in carrying out their duties especially regarding industrial hygiene and ergonomics related workplace inspections. To streamline the inspection process and ensure a comprehensive assessment of the workplace, a study was carried out to develop a comprehensive Human Factors and Ergonomics (HFE) checklist. To our knowledge, there is no publicly available checklist covering all three ergonomics domains (physical, cognitive and organizational) that is designed to facilitate workplace inspection and regulatory enforcement process by industrial hygienists and inspectors.The study was divided into several phases. During the first phase, a literature review was carried out looking at existing checklists, assessment methods and industrial hygiene and ergonomics standards that fell within the scope of our study. During this phase, the applicable local regulations and current enforcement methods by inspectors were also analyzed. Based on this a draft checklist was developed. The checklist utilizes a macroergonomics approach where the different socio-technical components of the work system are assessed: the design of each task, the personnel carrying out the task, the physical environment the task is being carried out as well as the management systems and culture of the organization. To encourage a more holistic approach to assessing HFE, the checklist also borrows techniques from diverse fields outside of industrial hygiene such as human error engineering, organizational psychology, and industrial design.The second phase of the study involved multiple discussion sessions with DOSH inspectors, academics and professionals in various fields and industry to further refine the checklist so that it can be used both by inspectors carrying out workplace inspections as well industrial hygienists and safety practitioners to identify areas for improvement in their own workplaces. The checklist was also tested at by safety practitioners at 2 workplaces and by DOSH inspectors at 7 workplaces. During the tests, both regulatory inspectors and industry safety practitioners gave positive feedback on the approach and scope of the checklist. The inclusion of lesser-known elements related to cognitive ergonomics and organizational psychology were well-received even though these are not explicitly regulated by local law. However, since a macroergonomics approach was used in the checklist, there were concerns raised regarding the level of detail and time required to complete the checklist.The checklist is still being developed and the next phase of the project which will start in 2023 includes a Pilot Program where in-depth testing of the checklist will be undertaken at multiple workplaces in different industries throughout the country.
Keywords: Industrial Hygiene, Macroergonomics, Checklist, Enforcement, Workplace Inspection, Ergonomics regulatory framework
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