October 7, 2021

NIOSH Publishes Update to Revised Lifting Equation Manual

An updated version of the Applications Manual for the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation was published by NIOSH in September. The revised NIOSH lifting equation, or RNLE, is an ergonomic risk assessment tool that can be used to assess the risk of low-back disorders associated with manual lifting tasks. The manual is intended to guide users on how to use the RNLE. The 2021 manual has been reformatted to be searchable and contains improved graphics and tables. Some typographical errors from the previous version have been corrected.

The updated manual is also compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. As explained in a Synergist article about the basics of Section 508 compliance, Section 508 “states that each federal department or agency has a duty to provide federal employees with disabilities—and disabled members of the public seeking federally-provided services—complete access to and use of online information, comparable to that accessible to individuals without disabilities.”

The RNLE is also available as a mobile app, NLE Calc, which is intended to help workers in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, and retail stay safe when manually lifting objects on the job. Workers can enter data about a lifting task into the app, which will provide recommendations to help them optimize the task or perform it differently to prevent injury. Examples of these recommendations include bringing the load closer to the body, avoiding twisting while lifting, and raising the load to waist height before lifting.

Both the updated manual and the NLE Calc app can be found via NIOSH’s website.

Related: A feature article published in the December 2020 issue of The Synergist explores the basics of Section 508 compliance.