Ergonomics is the practice of fitting the job to the individual, which can help prevent work-related musculoskeletal injuries. Examples of musculoskeletal injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis and low back pain. The goal of the ergonomics program at the University is to help departments and employees identify risk factors that can contribute to the development of work related musculoskeletal injuries and determine solutions to eliminate or reduce these risk factors.

Risk factors for the development of musculoskeletal injuries include awkward postures, repetitive tasks, and/or forceful motions. These types of injuries are usually cumulative; they develop over time, rather than as a result of a single event. By evaluating work tasks that involve these risk factors and finding solutions to better fit the person to the work they do, musculoskeletal injuries can be prevented. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website covers these risk factors as well as other contributing factors in greater detail. This site also includes advice for how to reduce or limit these risk factors.

For training on ergonomics awareness, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has provided this PowerPoint training for supervisors and employees.

Additional information from online resources related to ergonomics can be found on this page.


Services available

EH&S provides the following services:

  • Guidance to individuals and organizational units on how to begin addressing ergonomic concerns.
  • Ergonomic evaluation of workspaces or work tasks.
  • Respond to general questions about ergonomics


An outside consultant may be a good option for your department to address potential risk factors for the development of musculoskeletal injuries. Consultants will evaluate workstations or work tasks to determine if changes should be made to better fit the employee. A list of ergonomic consultants who can provide ergonomics-related services to the University is provided by The Puget Sound Chapter of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Additional Resources

Workers' Compensation: Questions regarding employee work-related injuries or illness claims should be referred to Risk Services, Claim Services at or on their website.

Disability Services Office: For questions regarding disability or reasonable accommodation assistance, please contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450, 206-543-6452 (TTY), by email at, or visit their website.

EH&S has provided this list as an information source only. The listing of a particular group or company is not an endorsement by the University of Washington.


Environmental Health & Safety Department

(206) 543-7262