NR17 – Ergonomics

(MTP Ordinance No. 4.219, of December 20, 2022)


17.1 Objective
17.2 Scope
17.3 Evaluation of work situations
17.4 Organization of Work
17.5 Lifting, carrying and unloading loads individually
17.6 Workstation furniture
17.7 Working with machinery, equipment and hand tools
17.8 Comfort conditions
Annex I – Checkout operators
Annex II – Teleservice / Telemarketing

17.1 Objective

17.1.1 The purpose of this Regulatory Standard (NR) is to establish the guidelines and requirements that enable the adaptation of working conditions to the psychophysiological characteristics of employees to provide comfort, safety, health, and efficient performance at work. Working conditions include aspects related to lifting, transporting, and unloading materials, workstation furniture, working with machinery, equipment and hand tools, workplace comfort conditions and the organization of work itself.

17.2 Scope

17.2.1 This standard applies to all work situations related to the conditions specified in item, in organizations and public bodies of direct and indirect administration, as well as legislative, judicial, and public prosecution bodies whose employees are subject to the Consolidation of Labor Laws (Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho – CLT).

17.2.2 In accordance with the law, the provisions of this NR17 apply to other legal relationships.

17.3 Evaluation of Work Situations

17.3.1 The organization shall carry out a preliminary ergonomic assessment of work situations which, due to the nature and content of the activities required, need to be adapted to the psychophysiological characteristics of the workers to support the implementation of the necessary prevention and adaptation measures provided for in this NR17. The preliminary ergonomic assessments may be carried out using qualitative, semi-quantitative or quantitative approaches or a combination of these, depending on the risk and legal requirements, to identify hazards and provide information for planning the necessary preventive measures. The preliminary ergonomic assessment can be included in the stages of the hazard identification and risk assessment process described in item 1.5.4 of NR01 – General Provisions and Occupational Risk Management. The preliminary ergonomic assessments shall be recorded by the organization.

17.3.2 The organization shall carry out an ergonomic work analysis, when:

a) the need for a more detailed assessment of the situation is identified,

b) shortcomings or inadequacies of the measures adopted are identified,

c) suggested by the Occupational Health Surveillance Program (Programa de Controle Médico de Saúde Ocupacional – PCMSO) and paragraph (c) of item of NR01, or

d) identified as a cause related to working conditions in the analysis of occupational accidents and diseases under the Risk Management Program (Programa de Gerenciamento de Riscos – PGR).

17.3.3 The ergonomic work analysis (EWA) shall address working conditions as specified in this NR17, including the following stages:

a) analysis of the need and, if necessary, reformulation of the problem,

b) analysis of the functioning of the organization, processes, work situations and activities,

c) description and justification of the definition of appropriate methods, techniques and tools for the analysis and their application, not limited to the use of specific methods, techniques, and tools,

d) establishment of a diagnosis,

e) recommendations for the work situations analyzed, and

f) reporting the results, validating, and revising the interventions carried out, if necessary, with the participation of the workers.

17.3.4 Micro-enterprises (ME) and small enterprises (EPP) classified as risk levels 1 and 2 and individual micro-entrepreneurs (MEI) are not required to perform the EWA but shall comply with all other requirements of this NR17, as applicable. MEs or EPPs classified as risk levels 1 and 2 shall perform the EWA when the situations specified in paragraphs (c) and (d) of item 17.3.2 are observed.

17.3.5 The risk inventory of the RMP shall include:

a) the results of the preliminary ergonomic assessment, and

b) the revision, if any, of the hazard identification and risk assessment as indicated by the EWA.

17.3.6 Action plans shall be developed in accordance with the RMP, for:

a) the preventive measures and adaptations resulting from the preliminary ergonomic assessment, in accordance with the provisions of this NR17, and

b) the recommendations of the EWA.

17.3.7 The EWA report, when completed, shall be kept by the organization for a period of 20 (twenty) years.

17.3.8 The organization shall ensure that employees are consulted during the preliminary ergonomic assessment process and in the EWA.

17.4 Organization of work

17.4.1 For the purposes of this NR17, the organization of work shall take into account:

a) production standards,

b) mode of operation, if applicable,

c) time requirements,

d) pace of work,

e) the content of tasks and the tools and technical means available, and

f) cognitive aspects that could affect the safety and health of workers.

17.4.2 In the case of activities involving static or dynamic muscular overloads in the trunk, neck, head, upper limbs and lower limbs, technical, organizational and/or administrative measures shall be taken to eliminate or reduce these overloads, based on the preliminary ergonomic assessment or EWA.

17.4.3 Preventive measures shall be taken based on the preliminary ergonomic assessment or EWA to prevent workers from having to perform their activities continuously and repetitively:

a) extreme or harmful postures of the trunk, neck, head, upper limbs and/or lower limbs,

b) sudden movement of the upper limbs,

c) excessive use of muscle strength,

d) frequency of movements of the upper or lower limbs which could compromise the worker’s health and safety,

e) exposure to vibrations, under the terms of Annex I of NR09 Assessment and Control of Occupational Exposure to Physical, Chemical and Biological Agents, or

f) cognitive demands which could affect the health and safety of workers. Preventive measures shall include two or more of the following alternatives:

a) breaks to allow workers to recover psychophysiologically, which shall be counted as actual working time,

b) alternation of activities with other tasks which allow a change in posture, muscle groups used or pace of work,

c) changes in the way the task is carried out or organized, and

d) other applicable engineering measures recommended in the preliminary ergonomic assessment or EWA. If it is not possible to adopt the alternatives provided for in paragraphs (c) and (d) of item, breaks and alternation of activities provided for in paragraphs (a) and (b) of item shall be adopted. For breaks to allow workers to rest and recover psychophysiologically, the following minimum requirements shall be met:

a) the introduction of breaks shall not involve an increase in individual work rates,

b) breaks shall be taken away from the workstation. Workers shall be able to leave their workstations to meet their physiological needs in accordance with item 24.9.8 of NR24 – Sanitary and Comfort Conditions in the Workplaces, whether they are taking breaks or not.

17.4.4 Any performance appraisal system for the purposes of pay and benefits of any kind shall take into account the effects on workers’ health.

17.4.5 The design or workplaces shall take into account organizational and environmental factors, the nature of tasks and activities, and shall facilitate changes of posture.

17.4.6 The dimensions of the working and circulation areas necessary for the performance of the task shall be sufficient to allow the worker to move freely in such a way as to facilitate the work, to reduce the worker’s effort and to avoid the adoption of extreme or harmful postures.

17.4.7 Workers’ immediate supervisors shall be instructed to:

a) facilitate understanding of the duties and responsibilities of each position,

b) maintain an open dialogue so that workers can answer any questions they may have about the performance of their duties,

c) facilitate teamwork, and

d) promote fair and respectful treatment in personal relationships in the workplace. Organizations with up to 10 (ten) employees are exempt from compliance with section 17.4.7.

17.5 Lifting, handling, and unloading of loads individually

17.5.1 Manual handling of loads by a worker whose weight is likely to compromise their health or safety shall not be required or permitted. The load carried shall be reduced in the case of female workers and minors in activities permitted by law.

17.5.2 When lifting, handling, and carrying loads individually and on a temporary basis, the following requirements shall be met:

a) on the basis of the preliminary ergonomic assessment or the EWA, the places where loads are picked up and put down shall be organized in such a way that the loads, accesses, movement areas, picking up and putting down heights do not force the worker to perform excessive bending, extension and rotation of the trunk and other forced and harmful positioning and movements of the segments of the body, and

b) loads and equipment shall be placed as close as possible to the worker, with sufficient space for the worker’s feet, so that they are easy to reach and do not impede movement or cause other risks. Non-occasional lifting of loads that could compromise the worker’s health and safety is prohibited when the horizontal reach of the handle is greater than 60 cm (sixty centimeters) from the body.

17.5.3 When transporting or unloading materials by pushing or pulling carts, wheelbarrows or other mechanical devices, the load, frequency, grip, and distance travelled shall be taken into account so as not to compromise the health and safety of the worker.

17.5.4 One or more of the following preventive measures shall be taken in the manual handling and transport of loads:

a) the use of technical aids,

b) adjust the weight and size of the load (dimensions and shape) so as not to increase the physical effort likely to compromise the safety and health of workers,

c) limit the duration, frequency and number of movements required of workers,

d) where appropriate, reduce the distances to be covered with loads, and

e) alternate with other activities or take adequate breaks between periods of no more than two hours.

17.5.5 All workers engaged in non-permanent manual handling of loads shall be instructed in the methods of lifting, loading, and unloading loads.

17.5.6 Chapter 17.5 Lifting, carrying, and unloading individual loads of this NR17 does not apply to lifting, transporting, and moving people.

17.6 Workstation furniture

17.6.1 All workstation furniture shall be adjustable in one or more of its parts to adapt it to the anthropometric characteristics of all workers involved and to the nature of the work to be performed.

17.6.2 Where work can be performed alternately standing and sitting, the workstation shall be designed or adapted to encourage alternation.

17.6.3 For manual work, work surfaces shall provide good posture, vision and working conditions for the worker and shall meet the following minimum requirements:

a) dimensional characteristics which permit the positioning and movement of the parts of the body in a manner which does not compromise health and does not result in excessive joint movement or awkward working postures,

b) height and characteristics of the work surface compatible with the nature of the activity, the required distance from the eyes to the work area and the height of the seat,

c) the working area within easy reach and clearly visible to the worker,

d) for seated work, sufficient leg, and foot space at the foot end of the work surface to allow the worker to get as close as possible to the point of operation and to fully position the plantar region, with the possibility of using a footrest in accordance with item 17.6.4, and

e) for standing work, sufficient space for the feet at the base of the work surface to allow the worker to get as close as possible to the point of operation and to be able to fully position the plantar region. The work area within the maximum reach zone may be used for activities which do not compromise the worker’s health and safety, whether they are occasional or, according to the EWA, non-occasional.

17.6.4 A footrest may be used to adapt the furniture to the worker’s anthropometric dimensions whenever the worker is unable to keep the soles of his feet fully supported on the floor.

17.6.5 Pedals and other foot controls shall, in addition to meeting the requirements of 17.6.3, be positioned and sized to be easily accessible.

17.6.6 Seats at workstations shall meet the following minimum requirements:

a) height adjustable to suit the worker’s height and the nature of the task being performed,

b) accessible adjustment and control systems,

c) little or no protrusion at the base of the seat,

d) rounded front edge, and

e) backrest shaped to protect the lumbar region.

17.6.7 For activities requiring work in a standing position, seats with backrests shall be provided in locations where they can be used by workers during breaks. Seats provided for in 17.6.7 are exempted from compliance with 17.6.6.

17.7 Working with machinery, equipment, and hand tools.

17.7.1 Work with machinery and equipment shall comply with NR12 – Machinery and Equipment Safety, in addition to the other provisions of this NR17 and the aspects set out in this chapter.

17.7.2 Manufacturers of machinery and equipment shall design and construct components, such as video monitors, signals, and controls, in such a way as to enable clear and precise interaction with the operator to reduce the possibility of misinterpretation or feedback of information in accordance with item 12.9.2 of NR12. The location and positioning of the control panel and controls shall facilitate access, easy and safe operation, and visibility of process information.

17.7.3 Equipment used for electronic data processing with video terminals shall allow the worker to adapt it to the tasks to be performed. The equipment shall be sufficiently mobile to allow the screen to be adjusted to the ambient lighting, to protect it from reflections and to provide the worker with the correct viewing angles. Where a laptop computer is not used permanently at a workstation, there shall be means of adjusting the keyboard, mouse, or screen to suit the anthropometric characteristics of the worker and the nature of the tasks to be performed.

17.7.4 Equipment and hand tools that are likely to compromise the safety or health of workers due to their weight and use while performing tasks shall be provided with a support or other preventive measure based on the preliminary ergonomic assessment or EWA.

17.7.5 The design of hand tools shall take into account, in addition to the other items in this NR17, the following aspects:

a) ease of use and handling, and

b) prevent pinching of the palm of the hand or one or more fingers on sharp edges or corners.

17.7.6 The organization shall select hand tools so that the type, shape, and texture of the handle is appropriate for the task and the possible use of gloves.

17.8 Comfort conditions in the workplace

17.8.1 All workplaces and situations shall have lighting, natural or artificial, general, or supplementary, appropriate to the nature of the activity.

17.8.2 Lighting shall be so designed and installed as to avoid glare, reflections, shadows, and excessive contrasts.

17.8.3 In all indoor workplaces and situations, lighting shall be provided in accordance with the minimum lighting levels for workplaces established in Fundacentro’s Occupational Hygiene Standard No. 11 (NHO11) – Evaluation of Lighting Levels in Indoor Workplaces, version 2018.

17.8.4 In indoor workplaces where activities that require constant mental effort and attention are performed, acoustic and thermal comfort measures shall be adopted, as set out in the following sub-items. The organization shall adopt indoor noise control measures to provide acoustic comfort in the work environment. The ambient noise level shall comply with the reference values for indoor environments according to their intended use, as laid down in official technical standards. In other cases, the acceptable ambient noise level for acoustic comfort is up to 65 dB(A), equivalent continuous sound pressure level, weighted in A and in the slow (S) response circuit. The organization shall take measures to control temperature, air velocity and humidity to ensure thermal comfort in working situations, with the air temperature range parameter between 18 and 25 °C for air-conditioned environments. Measures shall be taken to control environmental ventilation to minimize the occurrence of air currents directly affecting workers.

17.8.5 Compliance with items 17.8.3 and is exempted in situations where there are specific provisions with appropriate technical justification that do not compromise the safety or health of workers.