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The OSHA checklist is a simple tool to begin a process of detecting and reducing MSD.


OSHA is the acronym for the Occupationnal Safety and Health Agency (the American Occupational Health agency). As part of a project to create ergonomic standards, Professor M. A. Silverstein developed a checklist to detect risks of MSD in 1997.

Its simplicity and clarity make it an interesting tool for testing MSD. The agency publishes a number according to what one wishes to study (upper body, lower body…) as well as the sector of activity (work in workshops, work in the chemical sector, in the offices…).

The principle

The principle is to ask the staff about their working conditions. The answers are then evaluated via a standard grid.

The method is based solely on interviews. However, it is possible that the answers may be “oriented”: staff who may fear the reactions of management, would be taken away not to say everything. which will skew the results. Good communication beforehand with the participation of the Doctor of the work is indispensable.

In fact, it is necessary to keep a step back from the result: a score of 4 can conceal a situation at risk if the task involves binding dorsal postures or if the hierarchy exerts a pressure that is all the more stressful on the operator for Distort the results.

1-Define the study workstation

The first step is to define the workstation or workstations we are going to study. Generally, workstations known to be at risk will be selected. The choice is important, because if you want ” mayonnaise to take “, the results will have to be convincing and visible.

2-Define the sample

The second step is to define the number of people needed to interview. Three ways allow us to identify this number:

  • If the workstation contains a maximum of 5 people, we will take the 5.
  • If we have more than 5 people for a workstation, good practice recommends the following formula by taking the upper round:

Sample size = 5 + 0.1 * (Number of people – 5)

3-Conduct interviews

Each interview must be in a room with no outside disturbance. Preferably, it is the work Doctor who animates the interviews. But with a minimum of training, another person can do it if that is not possible otherwise.

The challenge here is to ensure that the person responds spontaneously and honestly to the questions. If necessary, a shift on the workstation can be done so that the facilitator can be aware of the situation and appreciate the assessment.


By summing the results of the grid, we will get a score that we compare to the following grid:

If a risk situation arises for MSD, the intervention of a doctor or ergonomist is necessary. It will then go to the next analysis step using other tools like the Rula or even the Niosh equation to identify the causes of the problems and solve them.


E. Tai (2001) – Osha Compliance Management: A guide for long term health care facilities

J. R. Grubbs, S. M. Nelson (2007) – Safety made Easy, a checklist approach to Osha compliance


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