Creating a good ergonomic working arrangement is important to your health. Find tips on simple things you can do in the workplace to prevent injury or illness, and learn about resources to help you create a safe and healthful work environment.
What does "ergonomics" mean?
Ergonomics is a tool used to help prevent some common workplace injuries. There are common risk factors found in jobs requiring repetitive, forceful, or prolonged exertions of the hands, and prolonged and awkward postures that can be eliminated by implementing good ergonomics.
Ergonomics is the practice of adapting a job to the individual so work can be performed without harmful strain or injury. Reducing or eliminating the risk factors that cause work-related musculoskeletal disorders is the major goal of an effective program. As with other health and safety programs, ergonomics:
- Evaluates work to be done and the procedures for doing it
- Trains employees
- Develops strategies to eliminate or reduce risk factors
What are our responsibilities?
While supervisors are responsible for ensuring employees are provided a safe and healthful work environment, employees are identifying ergonomic risk for incurring work-related musculoskeletal disorders and resources available at the UW. If you believe that you are developing a work-related injury or illness, Environmental Health & Safety provides a list of resources available to departments.
What can I do on my own?
Many work-related injuries or illnesses are preventable when you understand and apply basic ergonomic principles. Here are a few ergonomic tips:
- Neutral posture at your workstation helps prevent injury.
- Change postures frequently.
- Practice neutral posture while sitting.
- Pay attention to overall posture.
- Organize your work area and avoid long reaches for frequently used items.
- Avoid eye strain at the computer by making sure that your monitor is not too close, too high or too low. See how to avoid computer vision syndrome.
Learn more on the Washington State Labor & Industries on Ergonomics website or by taking their free online course on Office Ergonomics: Computer Workstation & Mobile Computing.