Our goal is to provide you with the necessary tools to perform your job, safely and productively. Good ergonomics will provide you with a healthful and safe work environment and minimize the risk of associated occupational injury or illness. Let’s look at exactly what ergonomics is and what the consequences are of poor ergonomics.
What is ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the science that deals with the relationship of the worker and his/her work environment. Good ergonomics is being able to adjust your chair, keyboard, monitor, etc. to get a neutral and relaxed position. Good ergonomics also includes work activities that are varied, with short breaks that prevent overstressing parts of your body. If your work involves frequent awkward positions (your body or limbs), if you are reaching excessively, or if you are doing prolonged work on one type of activity, then you have poor ergonomics.
When you are performing work follow these tips:
- Adjust your equipment, i.e., chair, keyboard, and monitor, etc., to fit you. [Your equipment should adjust to you, not you to the equipment]
- Maintain a neutral and relaxed position (including your hands, arms, legs, whole body).
- Take frequent breaks. (stand up, stretch, massage your eyes for 5 seconds)
- Avoid prolong work on a single activity by varying your work tasks to avoid stressing certain parts of your body.
What are the consequences of poor ergonomics?
Poor ergonomics can result in occupational illnesses or injuries called musculoskeletal disorders or MSD’s. MSD’s include a range of disorders involving nerves, tendons, muscles, and bones. MSD’s cause pain, numbness, and tingling. They result in reduced productivity, lost time from work or temporary or permanent disability.
What do I do if I have pain or discomfort?
If you believe that your work is causing you pain or other medical problems you should seek medical treatment through the DU Workers' Compensation Program. The Loss Control Manager can be contacted at extension 12354.
You should also get an individual workstation evaluation to see if your workstation can be improved by identifying and reducing any ergonomic risks. Please contact the Environmental Health & Safety Manager, at extension 12356, to set up an appointment for an evaluation. Please provide the following information: name, phone number, building, room number, and a brief description of your concern.
I don't have any pain or discomfort but I want to make certain that my workstation is correct?
Try evaluating your own workstation. Print out the Ergonomic questionnaire to perform a self assessment. We recommend that you also check the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, OSHA web site on Computer Workstations. It provides excellent tips on how to achieve sound ergonomics, including good working positions and how your workstation should be set up. If you have any ergonomic questions or concerns after taking the self assessment or reviewing the OSHA web site, feel free to contact the Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Manager, at 1-7501.
The Risk Management Department can also provide classroom training on ergonomics and safe lifting. We ask for an audience of at least 5 people. Contact the Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Manager, at 1-7501, to request training.
Request an Ergonomic Workstation Evaluation
If you would like to have an ergonomic evaluation of your workstation please email the EH&S Director with the following information: name, phone number, building, room number, and a brief description of your concern.