Ergonomics is the study of the interaction between human beings, their work, the tools they use, and the environment in which they function. The goal of ergonomics is to work towards a safe & healthful work environment free from recognized hazards by fitting the job to the person rather than making the person fit the job. The Oregon OSHA (OR-OSHA) document Easy Ergonomics: A Practical Approach for Improving the Workplace provides an introduction to ergonomics, describes the benefits and factors that may contribute to work task problems, provides examples of ergonomic improvements, a problem-solving exercise, and other ergonomics-related resources.

How do I...?

Request an ergonomic assessment of my workstation?

Below is a series of short SAIF videos that cover common office ergonomic concerns. At a minimum, use the videos and SAIF’s Workstation Self-Assessment to guide you through a self-assessment of your workstation. Many people have found this information sufficient enough to make the necessary changes to find the relief they are seeking. However, if you still have concerns or questions, EH&S offers ergonomic assessments. While it is preferable to schedule these assessments / training sessions for a group so that you can help each other stay on-track with the improvements you make, individual assessments are available. To schedule an individual or group assessment, please submit your request to the Occupational Safety Officer.

SAIF Videos

Play All (12:12)
Office ergonomics: Simple solutions (0:45)
Posture is important (0:40)
Adjust your chair (1:26)
Adjust your keyboard and mouse (1:23)
Adjust your monitor (1:22)
Using the phone: working in the “zone” (1:03)
Thinking on your feet (1:11)
Working on the go (1:12)
Cost-saving solutions (0:55)
Exercise balls, treadmill desks, and other alternative ideas (1:16)

OR-OSHA - Evaluating your Computer Workstation
WA State Dept. of Labor and Industries - Office Ergonomics: Practical Solutions for a Safer Workplace

Training

EH&S, in partnership with SAIF Corp., offers Safety in Motion® (SIM4®) training free to all campus employees. SIM4® techniques are proven to reduce physical stress and strain, boost balance and strength, and improve productivity. Participants learn to make simple, practical changes in the way they reach, lift, carry, push, or pull. These changes make most tasks both easier and safer, on or off the job, and improve our quality of life.

Since 2013, EH&S has provided Office Ergonomics and Safety in Motion® training during Finance and Administration’s annual Training Days Conference.

In addition, there are over 20 Safety in Motion® certified instructors throughout the main campus who can provide your group with training. Contact EH&S to learn more.

Additional Resources

Office Ergonomics

SAIF Documents

Workstation Self-Assessment
Workstation Comfort
Neutral Posture Poster
Workstation Leverage Zones
The Value of Warm-up Exercises
Strengthen and Lengthen
Stand Up for Health

Laboratory Ergonomics
Federal OSHA’s Laboratory Safety Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders provides general laboratory ergonomic guidance to help address the potential risk for repetitive motion injuries associated with routine procedures such as pipetting, working at microscopes, operating microtomes, and using cell counters, among other things.

Vehicle Use
Whether at work or home, sitting for long hours gripping the steering wheel can contribute to back pain, and road vibration can make matters worse. Having to step up to get into large vehicles and equipment has additional ergonomic considerations. The following links provide steps you can take to reduce your chances of suffering from driving and other vehicle - related problems.

SAIFSafe Vehicle Entry and Exit
Loughborough University, UKVehicle Ergonomics: Best Practice Guide

Equipment Selection
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) booklet, is 20-page booklet, Easy Ergonomics: A Guide to Selecting Non-Powered Hand Tools provides guidance on selecting ergonomically-designed, non-powered hand tools. A checklist is provided to help compare similar tools, so that you can select the tool that will work best for your situation.

Space Design
Allsteel Inc.’s Ergonomics and Design: A Reference Guide discusses the relationship between ergonomics and design, including anthropometric measurements, common workplace postures, common workplace motions, office furniture guidelines for fit and function, and universal design considerations.

Material Handling
The Cal-OSHA sponsored Ergonomic Guidelines for Manual Material Handling booklet will help you to recognize high-risk work tasks and choose effective options for reducing their physical demands.

The CDC / NIOSH booklet Simple Solutions: Ergonomics for Construction Workers provides simple solutions for floor and ground-level work; overhead work; lifting, holding, and handling materials; and hand-intensive work.

OR-OSHA’s interactive app, How much can you safely lift?, calculates the maximum safe lifting weight.