Ergonomics

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.

Ergonomic Evaluations

EH&S provides guidance to individuals and organizational units on how to begin addressing ergonomic concerns. The additional resources found on this page also cover guidance on how to address ergonomics issues by the type of work environment.

EH&S has limited resources to provide on-site ergonomics evaluations for office workstations.

These documents can help employees conduct a self-assessment of their workstation and pick products that may improve the ergonomics of their workstation:

To request an on-site ergonomics evaluation for an office workstation, please complete our Office Office Ergonomics Evaluation Form. For evaluation requests related to non-office work environments, please contact ehsergo@uw.edu

Consultants

EH&S does not currently have resources to provide ergonomics assessments for non-office work environments. For these types of assessments, an outside consultant may be a good option for departments 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.

The University of Washington has established contracts with ErgotFit Consulting and Solutions Northwest to receive ergonomics assistance at negotiated rates. Please contact ehsergo@uw.edu for more information on consultant services.

Workers' Compensation and The Disability Services Office

Questions regarding employee work-related injuries or illness claims should be referred to Risk Services, Claim Services at claims@uw.edu 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 dso@uw.edu, or visit their website.

Contact

EH&S Ergonomics Program

(206) 543-7388