The pushing (‘duw’) or pulling (‘trek’) of objects can require a great deal of physical force. This can sometimes lead to shoulder complaints. Therefore, it is important to make sure that loads are not too heavy and that pushing and pulling activities are not performed too frequently. It is also important to ensure that the surfaces on which objects move are in good condition and that the objects being handled are of an appropriate design, e.g. wheels are made of the right material so they run smoothly and handles are at an appropriate height. How a task is performed is also important – if a trolley is set in motion suddenly the forces can be much greater than if a force is applied gradually.
Under the Dutch Working Conditions Act (July 2017), employers must identify risks associated with the pushing and pulling of objects as part of their Risk Inventory and Evaluation (RI&E). If the RI&E is insufficient for highlighting the level of risk associated with these tasks, then the Duw & Trek Check (DUTCH) risk assesment may offer an additional approach.
DUTCH is a simple risk assessment method for determining the likelihood of injury when performing pushing and pulling tasks, without the need to measure forces.
When using DUTCH, you can check:
The method should not be used to assess the physical risk to an individual, but should be applied to the group of workers who perform the task over the day.
Important: if there are jobs in your organization that involve multiple physically demanding tasks during a day, then the DUTCH will not provide a complete picture of the physical work load for those jobs. In such cases, you should consult an expert.
The method is based on scientific evidence from the literature on the most important risk factors associated with pushing and pulling (shoulder complaints), supplemented with experts judgments. Based on a validation study the method has been improved in September 2019.
The method has been developed for the purpose of assessing tasks that involve the pushing and pulling of wheeled objects (trolleys). It is intended for assessing whole body force exertions – i.e. forces involving the use of the hands, arms, torso and legs.
The method is suitable for assessing adult workers aged between 18 and 67 yeras, across all types of industries and service sectors.
Examples of the various wheeled objects and industries in which the DUTCH risk assessment can be used include:
Users of the tool are those who are responsible for the health and safety of workers, such as health and safety coordinators, HR managers, or – in smaller companies – the managing director himself. No specific prior knowledge is needed to use the method. The method can also be used by health and safety experts, ergonomists, occupational hygienists, and safety experts.
you first need to read and answer some simple questions. To answer the questions, you need information about the tasks being performed and the workplace in which the tasks are undertaken:
The DUTCH risk assessment has been developed by TNO on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment in collaboration with a group of experts: Mark Boocock (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand), Marco Hoozemans (Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, VU Amsterdam), Paul Kuijer (Netherlands Center for Occupational Diseases, Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam), Bert Moss (Inspectorate SZW), and Hetty Vermeulen (vhp human performance). We thank Mark Boocock for his valuable work on the validation and English translation of DUTCH.