The aim of these tools is to analyse the risk factors that may lead to overload the operator and eventually to occupational diseases.

The need to identify the degree of exposition to biomechanical load has led at the beginning of the new millennium to the development of specific ergonomic risk screening tools; aim of these tools is to analyse the risk factors that may lead to overload the operator and eventually to occupational diseases. As always, the final goal is  the redesign of the work system so that the any risk can be minimized and the performance eased.

The basis of every ergonomic risk screening tool is to estimate the correlation between the task ergonomic characteristics (force, frequency, postures, etc.) and the probability to cause an occupational disease. The main difficulty is to establish how the different factors interact and lead to work related troubles or diseases.

Certainly the best approach is the prevention of the risk in the design phase of the work system (preventive ergonomics); if the product and/or the process is already defined, changes may be too costly and less efficient (corrective ergonomics).

For a quantitative ergonomic risk evaluation of a specific working sequence, generally two evaluation levels are used:

First level tools: risk screening tools which require a quick checklist.

Second level tools: risk evaluation tools which require a detailed analysis with index calculations. They are applied where a possible risk has been already detected by a 1st level system and the “risk generator” is not yet well identified.

The aim of First level tools is to get a very quick mapping of the different risk areas and to concentrate all the efforts on a rapid redesign. With the Second level tools specific loads are analyzed in detail, since the first level corresponding tool was insufficient to identify the origin of the risk.

Though the EAWS® is presented as First level tool, it is quite analytical and it always identify the origin of the risk.

In the following table the risk areas, the correlated standards and the most common ergonomic tools are summarized.

The EAWS® project

The needs to comply with the standards pushed the companies to have at their disposal a 1st level ergonomic analysis system to evaluate the biomechanical load in its components (postures, forces, etc.) for the whole body. The EAWS® meets these requirements. During its development in particular the following design criteria were taken into account:

The tool had to be accepted and considered exhaustive by:

  • Company
  • Workers
  • Unions
  • Authorities

Applicator deviations – e.g. the gap between the analysis results of different applicators – had to be minimized, rendering the identification and measuring of technical actions, awkward postures and forces at maximum objective.

The tool should have the capability to be used during the planning of the product/process as well as in the production process.

The main aims of the development of the EAWS® system were:

  • Compliance with labor legislation (national and international), e.g.:
    EU Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC, former 98/37/EU, 89/392/EEC)
    EU Framework Directive (89/391/EEC)
  • Allow to document and evaluate the working conditions, taking into account the operator work load as it is described by the existing ISO/CEN standards
  • Ensuring ergonomic working conditions
  • Developing an extension of the Automotive Assembly Worksheet (AAWS) for repetitive loads on the upper limbs in accordance with EN 1005-5 and the corresponding ISO standard 11228-3.
  • Making this tool usable in any kind of production system, from mass production to one of a kind production
  • Developing a free tool without any kind of copyright
  • Linking EAWS® to MTM:
  • MTM-2®: mass production systems
  • UAS: batch production systems MEK: one of a kind production systems

Project development history

EAWS® is originally an extension of the Automotive Assembly Worksheet (AAWS) developed by the IAD (Institut of Ergonomics at the Darmstadt University of Technology) on the basis of the “New Production Worksheet”, initiated 1997 by General Motors Europe (GME), and the “DesignCheck”, realized at the same time at Porsche. The development of the EAWS® was carried out between 2006 and 2008, by occupational health, biomechanical and industrial engineering international experts from all over the world, coordinated by the IMD (International MTM Directorate).

The field test was run in multinational companies that allowed the team to analyze relevant processes that represented different production contests. In this way all the necessary tests were performed before the last release of the tool (Field Application Group).

In addition, software companies were involved during EAWS® development in order to implement and develop specific software solutions based on EAWS® structure (Engineering Application Group).

IMD and national MTM Associations, together with the experts that worked with the team, gave all the tests results to the reference teams that represent the EAWS® users main process partners (Reference Groups). The general project organization during the development phase was the following:

EAWS project development organization

Field Application Group


MTM Italia

  • I. Lavatelli, International MTM Instructor (PwC)
  • A. Tassinari, International MTM Instructor (PwC)
  • C. Rubano, MTM Instructor (PwC)

FIAT auto, Mirafiori Torino Plant

  • Ergonomy: S. Torrisi and S. Spada
  • Planning & Control: L. Galante, R. Bonetti, M. Capoccia, M. Vitello

BOSCH Diesel Technologies and Breaking Systems (BA)

  • Industrial Engineering : M. Mancino and V. Nicassio

WE: Whirlpool Europe (Home Appliances), Amiens plant, France

  • R. Delrue

IVECO: commercial vehicles, Suzzara plant

  • H&S: S. Cencetti,
  • Ergonomy: F. Leoni
  • Work Analysis: G. Condò?


  • R. Bruder
  • K. Schaub 

Volkswagen: automotive (IAD)

  • Industrial Engineering: J. Nanasi
  • Ergonomy: B. Toledo Munoz, R. Filus 

Bosch: (IAD)

  • Bosch components
  • Bosch- Siemens home appliances
  • Bosch Rexroth tools

EAWS®: Structure and basic principles

EAWS® is an ergonomic tool for measuring the workload generated in a workstation by a given working method (motion sequence, workplace geometries, postures, equipment, parts, conditions) executed according to a given production plan (quantity and production mix) with a given work organization (shift duration, pauses).

EAWS® can also be used as a an ergonomic 1st  level risk screening tool providing an overall risk evaluation, where the risk is due to any biomechanical load. Up to a certain extent EAWS® can also be used as 2nd level analysis tool, since it is quite analytical and detailed; EAWS® gives the necessary information to redesign the work task, making the second level systems seldom necessary.

ISO 11228.2 Risk assessment model

The risk assessment model is defined more comprehensive in the International Standard ISO 11228 Part 2 (Pushing and Pulling) at page 3.

The structure of the analysis is as follows: 

Macro-Section “Whole body”:

  • Section 0: Extra Points
  • Section 1: Body Postures
  • Section 2: Action forces
  • Section 3: Manual materials handling 

Macro-Section “Upper limbs”:

  • Section 4: Upper limb load in repetitive tasks? The EAWS® sheet provides one score resulting for each Macro-Section which is exposed in a traffic light scheme (green, yellow, red) according to the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC (EN614).
Figure 16 – Overall Evaluation

Whole body and upper limbs scores are evaluated on the same scale.

EAWS® modes of use and basic structure

The EAWS® system can be used in two different modes, which differ in scope and calculation procedure:

“Instantaneous” risk mapping preliminary workstation re-design for a specific worker

For a quick ergonomic risk assessment on an observed specific worker performing the work task on the shop-floor (observational method)                         

Paper & pencil tool à two double-sided A4 sheets with interpolation

Analysis refers to observed work task and operator (deviation risk from planned method)              

Risk factors estimated by users (forces, durations, frequencies, etc…)                         

Quick workstation re-design

ergonomic risk assessment of the workstation on a generic worker performing the standard work task (MTM method)                         

Software tool: IVGA (Excel based)                         

Useful to assess the ergonomic impact of method improvement opportunities

ERGO-MTM workstation design

For a preventive and analytic ergonomic risk assessment on an anthropometric group of operators performing a work task (MTM method)

Software tool: TiCon – MTMergonomics®

Inputs needed:

MTM task analysis

Production plan for frequencies calculation

MTM codes ergonomic characterization (geometries, forces, weights, etc…) 

Production flow macro-geometries (heights) and product positions (high, low, etc…)

EAWS® basic structure

The basic EAWS® form structure is the following:


  • Header
  • Result of overall evaluation (where results of each section are reported)
  • Section 0: Extra Points
  • Comments
  • Additional information for scoring repetitive tasks (cycle time, produced units, breaks, etc.)


  • Section 1: Postures and movements


  • Section 2: Action forces
  • Section 3: Manual materials handling


  • Section 4: Upper limb load in repetitive tasks

Our Ergonomics Systems EAWS® Development

MATE, the first exoskeleton that stands the EAWS® test – the reduction of ergonomic score goes up to 30%  From today, it is possible to download from EAWS® website (www.eaws.it) the ESO-EAWS 1.3.6 Form and the “Addendum” to the user manual of the EAWS® system, entitled “Exoskeletons impacts on EAWS® evaluation”. The study has allowed to demonstrate the effectiveness of new assistive devices for manual work, observing the muscular variation in specific postures with and without any support; on the other hand, to translate into ergonomic scales quantitative instrumental measurements that are often not possible in the field. Also, in the Addendum, it is defined which EAWS® evaluation sections are influenced by Mate and so in which fields the use of exoskeleton is fundamental. The study results will be presented during a live event, whose date will be shortly available. Keep following us! #ergonomics #esoeaws #exoskeleton #eaws #mate #ergonomicanalysis