OWAS and REBA for the assessment of WMSDs in motor manual tree felling: Which is the best approach?
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The risk to run into a Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorder (WMSD) is very high when operating in the primary sector. As a matter of fact the number of professional illnesses related to the WMSD in Italy is high. The study was carried out in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano (northeast of Italy), it consisted in the assessment of operator’s postures during felling operations, the rough the assignment of a WMSD’s index of exposure. This assessment was carried out with two different procedures: REBA and OWAS. A comparison of the results obtained from the two assessment tools was performed. In order to perform the assessment, every felling operation has been recorded with a digital camera, and it has been divided into three subtasks: pre-cutting operations, cutting operations and post-cutting operations. For each of them a frame capture every 10 second has been analysed. The assessment of the OWAS and REBA’s score shows that the OWAS standard has a general tendency to assign a lower index to exposure in comparison to REBA. This is evident both for subtask operations and for the whole felling operation. Moreover, OWAS, due to its easier technique for the assessment has shown a greater capability to assess body posture also in not clear situation because the operator was partially hide by a tree or far from the camera. In conclusion, from this study it is possible to determine that OWAS assessment is able to perform a faster and more precise and sensitive assessment than REBA.