Risk Factors

Definition - What does Risk Factors mean?

A risk factor, as it relates to ergonomics, is something that increases the changes of a negative result. For instance, a sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for the development of heart disease. In ergonomics, the term risk factors often refers to those factors that are likely to contribute to the development of musculoskeletal disorders.

WorkplaceTesting explains Risk Factors

Specialists in ergonomics have identified several risk factors that may contribute to the development of work related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). These primary risk factors include force (intensity), posture, repetition (frequency), and duration.

However, ergonomic risk factors may include anything that places a biomechanical stress on the body. Risk factors are elements that may lead to the development of a condition, but do not always result in a negative outcome. The amount of certainty of a negative outcome often changes over time with risk factors. Risk factors may have a cumulative effect with increased exposure, making it more likely that an individual will experience the predicted negative outcome the more often a specific risk factor occurs.

Workplace health and safety programs should include provisions for the identification and reduction, or elimination, of both ergonomic and other workplace risk factors.

This definition was written in the context of Ergonomics
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