Washington State University
SAFETY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES MANUAL

GENERAL WORKPLACE SAFETY
2.74
Revised 2-16
Environmental Health and Safety
509-335-3041

Ergonomics

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OVERVIEW

Ergonomics is the science and practice of designing tasks and workplaces to accommodate human capabilities and limitations.

The ergonomic process involves evaluating equipment, tools, tasks, and work environments to identify and control physical risk factors that can lead to musculoskeletal disorders and computer vision syndrome.

Physical risk factors include:

Physical risk factors can be controlled by applying ergonomic principles when designing, modifying and/or adjusting equipment, tools, tasks, and the work environment to fit the employee.

Ergonomic principles apply to office, laboratory, industrial, agricultural, and all other work environments.

Purpose

The purpose of this policy and procedure is to:

ERGONOMIC EVALUATIONS

Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) is available to conduct ergonomic evaluations when:

Contact the campus EH&S office to schedule an ergonomic evaluation. See EH&S below for contact information.

ERGONOMIC TRAINING

EH&S offers training classes in the following areas:

NOTE: Training classes vary by campus. Contact EH&S for information on what is offered at specific locations (see EH&S below).

REPORTING MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS AND COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME

Musculoskeletal disorders are soft-tissue injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, blood vessels and nerves. Symptoms might include chronic discomfort, fatigue, pain, swelling, stiffness, burning, numbness, tingling, and limited range of motion of the fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, knees, neck, and back.

Computer vision syndrome is a collection of symptoms associated with viewing a computer monitor for prolonged periods of time. Symptoms might include burning, itchy, watery or dry eyes; eyestrain/blurred vision; headaches, and neck and back aches.

Employees

Employees experiencing symptoms consistent with musculoskeletal disorders and/or computer vision syndrome are:

Supervisors

Supervisors, upon notification of potential musculoskeletal disorders and/or computer vision syndrome, are:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Contact the following departments for additional ergonomic information and assistance.

EH&S

The EH&S publication Office Ergonomics--Adjusting Your Environment contains steps to assist employees in setting-up their computer workstations. This publication and other ergonomic related information are available at the EH&S Ergonomics website at:

http://ehs.wsu.edu/ohs/Ergonomics.html

EH&S personnel at each of the four campuses is available to perform ergonomic evaluations and training sessions.

For evaluation and training assistance, contact:

University Stores

For ergonomic chair trial and acquisition on the Pullman campus, contact University Stores; telephone 509-335-4592.