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RULA method

The RULA method was designed to allow the analysis of biomechanical/postural stresses on a worker’s upper limbs.

This method is used to detect the risk of developing MSDs. It allows an assessment based on the joint angles when carrying out tasks requiring the upper part of the body.


RULA method PDF
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Rula PDF

Automate your ergonomic analyses with Nawo Live, with access to multiple methods and ergonomic standards.


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The RULA method (Rapid Upper Limb Assessment) method mainly assesses the upper limbs  (shoulders, elbows, wrists) but also the neck and trunk. It applies to tasks during which the operator mainly uses his upper limbs, with or without movement. The postures are mainly studied by taking into consideration adjustments relating to the force applied and the repetitiveness of the gesture.

This grid complies with European directive 90/270/CEE. It makes it possible to highlight the postural risk linked to the work cycle observed and to issue a postural risk score.

Validated by several studies, the RULA method is used by many Health and Safety professionals around the world.

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Restrictions and limitations

This method is not recommended for evaluating manual handling tasks.

The RULA method mainly assesses posture but takes into consideration parameters related to strength, repetitiveness or muscle activity, however it mainly focuses on the analysis of working postures.

It does not take into account the duration of the activity, the recovery period, or the vibrations.

Separate assessment of the right and left side of the body is essential when using RULA. There is no set method for combining the two scores to get an overall whole-body score.

The cumulative effects of all activities performed in the course of a job or task are not taken into account.


Step 1 – Analysis of the request

Analysis of the request and development of the criteria for choosing the work situations to be observed.

Step 2 – Observation of the workstations

Observation of all the elements of the workstation (the gestures of the operator, the tools used).

Identification of possible interactions between the different elements.

Selection of the posture to be evaluated.

Step 3 – Activity

Assessment of critical postures using RULA-type postural assessment methods to estimate their risk levels.

Step 4 – Processing the results of the analysis

Analysis of the postural data making it possible to draw up the list of priorities and to seek solutions and proposals for improvement.

Step 5 – Formulation of improvements

Formulation of improvements based on the results of the analysis and implementation of corrective measures taking into account the identified risks.

Step 6 – Reassessment of the work situation

A new assessment of the workstation makes it possible to study the impact, and benefits, of the corrective measures on the postural risk.

The stages of evaluation of the Rula method

The Rula method is applied through a two-step analysis: initially, an examination of the upper limbs, followed by an assessment of the neck and trunk.

The required sequence of steps is as follows:


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Apply the RULA method with Nawo Live

Nawo Live is your physical activity risk assessment tool for identifying risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

In Nawo Live, automate and evaluate all biomechanical risk factors using reference methods (RULA, REBA, NIOSH, etc.).

Nawo Live guarantees you a reliability of the measurements acquired by our systems, including :

  • Automation of MSD risk factor calculations
  • Reliability of acquired data
  • Time saved by analysing thousands of postures
  • Exportable statistics in Excel format providing decision support