Ergonomics is the science of arranging the work environment to fit an individual. Fitting workplace conditions to an individual helps to make the work station more comfortable and improves both health and productivity.
Ergonomic hazards refer to workplace conditions that pose the risk of injury to the musculoskeletal system of the worker. Examples of musculoskeletal injuries include tennis elbow (an inflammation of a tendon in the elbow) and carpal tunnel syndrome (a condition affecting the hand and wrist). Ergonomic hazards may include repetitive and forceful movements, vibration, temperature extremes, and awkward postures that arise from improper work methods or improperly designed workstations, tools, and equipment.
Ergonomics looks at the type of work conducted, the tools used, and the conditions of the surrounding work environment. Examples of ergonomic changes may include:
- adjustments to a physical workstation
- adjustments to posture or technique
- adjustments to environmental factors
Ergonomics helps to make sure you are safe, comfortable, and less susceptible to work-related injuries. It is not the solution to pre-existing injuries and is not a substitute for medical consultation. Obtain the opinion of your Doctor or Healthcare Provider if you experience the symptoms of:
- pain in fingers, hands or wrists
- loss of strength or coordination
- sprain or severe strain
Additional information on ergonomics can be found at:
- Training (PDF)
- Office ergonomics
- Workstation Ergonomic Guidelines: Fitting your work station to you (PDF)
- Office Workstation Self-Evaluation (PDF)
Conducting an ergonomic assessment involves looking at your work station, the tools, the motions of the work performed, physical capabilities and limitations, and environmental conditions. The goal of is to help design and control the factors involved so you can perform your job efficiently and safely. After conducting a work station self-evaluation, contact your supervisor and EH&S with issues or questions.
- Computer shortcuts
- Back (Lifting) safety (PDF)
- Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
- Additional information (outside links) (PDF)