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Policy: Ergonomics 


Date: 07/25/05 Policy ID: SEC-020 Status: Final

Policy Type: University
   
Contact Office: Environmental Health and Safety
   
Oversight Executive: Vice President for Research
   
Applies To: 

Academic Division and the Medical Center.

   
Table of Contents: 

Policy Statement

  1. Responsibilities for Departmental Mangement
  2. Responsibilities for Faculty, Staff and Students

Procedures

   
Reason for Policy:  To help prevent musculoskeletal injuries to faculty, staff and students caused by such factors as:
  • using computers or other office related equipment;
  • material handling activities; and
  • patient care activities.
   
Policy Summary: 
   
Definition of Terms in Statement: 

Ergonomic Issues: Points of concern regarding ability to fit the workplace to the worker’s needs.

Musculoskeletal Conditions: Circumstances that cause muscle aches and pains usually due to working in awkward positions.

Worksite Evaluations: Assessment of the workplace in order to improve the fit between the worker and the work environment.

Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD): Wear and tear on tendons, muscles and sensitive nerve tissue caused by continuous use over an extended period of time. Keyword “cumulative.”  Disorder most commonly occurs in wrists and backs. Also called RSI – Repetitive Stress Injury

   
Policy Statement: 

The University will strive to provide a workplace that meets the worker’s needs.  Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) and the University Ergonomics Task Force are available to assist departments in the Academic Division (Agency 207) and Hospital Employee Health & Safety is available to assist departments in the Medical Center (Agency 209) with:

  • Identifying Ergonomic issues.
  • Training faculty, staff and student members on the Ergonomic issues identified and subsequent recommended practices.
  • Providing resources for up-to-date information.

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  1. Responsibilities for Departmental Management:
    Departments are responsible for developing and implementing an Ergonomics Program appropriate to meeting the needs of the department’s faculty, staff and student members who perform day-to-day operations.  Departments in the Academic Division (Agency 207) can request assistance from Environmental Health & Safety and departments in the Medical Center (Agency 209) can request assistance from Hospital EHS for resources and services that will increase awareness of the following:
    1. Musculoskeletal injuries caused by awkward posture and body alignment and material handling.
    2. Eye strain and headaches as a result of extended use of equipment that can cause such problems (i.e. video display terminals, microscopes, etc.)
    3. Accommodations that can be made as a result of worksite evaluations.

Departments can obtain guidance from EHS/Hospital EHS to help them perform Worksite Evaluations and observations to ensure workstations meet the needs of the user.  Departments should make reasonable accommodations to provide equipment that is recommended to meet the user’s needs.  Reasonable accommodations must be provided for disabled employees as required by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
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  1. Responsibilities for Faculty, Staff and Students:
    Equipment provided by the department must be used correctly, thus training using the proper work techniques should be provided.  Cooperation and communication between departmental management and their respective faculty, staff and students is necessary to identify and correct ergonomically related issues.
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Procedures: 

Departments in the Academic Division (Agency 207) should contact Environmental Health & Safety for assistance at 243-1711 or 982-4913.

Departments in the Medical Center (Agency 209) should contact Hospital Employee Health & Safety for assistance at 924-2611.
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Related Information: 
   
Policy Background: 
   
Major Category: Safety, Security and Environmental Quality
   
Category Cross Reference: 
   
   
Process: 
   
Next Scheduled Review: 07/25/14
   
Approved By, Date: Policy Review Committee, 07/25/05
   
Revision History: Updated 8/4/11.
   
Supersedes (previous policy):  Ergonomics XIV.F.1.