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Workplace Ergonomics Program

Workplace Ergonomics Program



Vision 3

Goal 3

Objectives 3


Management Commitment and Employee Involvement 4

Program Review and Evaluation 5

Responsibilities 5


Coordination of Scheduling and Data Collection 9

Types of Training. 10

Evaluation. 11


Passive Surveillance involves the analysis of existing records and data.


Active Surveillance 13


Job Analysis 13

Design of Jobs. 16


Accessibility 18

Health Surveillance. 18

Identification of Restricted-Duty Jobs 18

Medical Intervention. 18

Record-keeping, Data Evaluation, and Action. 19

Original sources, used in the work 20


This document contains the information needed to carry out an

ergonomics program. Specifically, it provides information on the goal,

objectives, and principles of the program and the responsibilities of

staff, management, support offices, and service unit ergonomics teams for

the program.


The Workplace Ergonomics Program was established to optimize worker health,

safety, and productivity, and minimize physiological and psychological

stress utilizing consultative management.


The goal of the Workplace Ergonomics Program is to reduce and/or prevent

work-related injuries and illnesses by establishing a methodology for

identifying ergonomic stressors in the workplace and for implementing

appropriate interventions.


The objectives of the Workplace Ergonomics Program, as administered by the

Workplace Ergonomics Program Coordinating Committee, are:

1. To identify existing and potential conditions in the workplace that

could lead to injuries and illnesses.

2. To reduce and/or eliminate exposures to such conditions through

effective workstation and tool design and through proper work methods.

3. To ensure evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of repetitive strain

disorders, and to provide avenues for prevention.

4. To ensure that staff are sufficiently informed about ergonomic hazards

to which they are exposed so they may actively participate in their own

personal protection through training and education.


Management Commitment and Employee Involvement

Management commitment and employee involvement are crucial to the

success of the ergonomics program. Management commitment is demonstrated

by the provision of organizational resources and the assignment of

accountability for the program. Employee involvement is necessary not only

for identifying existing and potential hazards, but also for participating

in their own personal protection.

Management commitment provides visible involvement of managers at all

levels. It places a high priority on eliminating ergonomic stressors while

assigning and communicating the responsibilities for various aspects of the

program and requiring accountability for fulfilling those responsibilities


a timely manner. Management provides authority and adequate resources to

meet the assigned responsibilities.

Employee involvement can be achieved through the implementation of an

employee complaint/suggestion procedure; encouraging early reporting of

injury/illness symptoms; involvement in the consultative management process

associated with this program; and training for active participation in

their own personal protection.

Below is a partial list of actions to be undertaken to achieve

management commitment and employee involvement:

Require that all affected employees, including their supervisors and

managers, take ergonomics training.

Include statement of responsibility for safe and healthful work

environments and policy directives.

Inform service unit heads that they are to assign responsibilities for

program implementation to service unit ergonomics teams and other

administrative personnel, as appropriate, and provide staffing and

financial resources for implementation.

Hold service unit heads accountable for the progress of the program in

their service unit.

Provide suggestion/complaint boxes for ergonomic safety/health issues

within each service unit. Require a response to each suggestion/complaint.

Encourage staff to report symptoms of discomfort promptly to supervisor,

health professional, or service unit ergonomics team.

Include bargaining unit staff in service unit ergonomics teams.

Issue memorandum to staff announcing the program.

Distribute summaries of this program document to all staff via "The

Gazette" and service unit distribution channels.

Program Review and Evaluation

The Workplace Ergonomics Program shall be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

The Workplace Ergonomics Program Coordinating Committee is responsible for

developing a program evaluation mechanism, and producing progress reports

for management and staff.

Further, the Workplace Ergonomics Program Coordinating Committee

meets periodically throughout each year with service unit ergonomics team

leaders to assess progress. This mechanism assures that WEPCC provides the

needed support to the service unit teams.


Workplace Ergonomics Program Coordinating Committee is responsible for

overseeing, coordinating, supporting, and reviewing the ergonomics process.

The responsibilities are:

Establishing performance expectations and benchmarks in consultation with

the service unit ergonomics teams

Coordinating problem resolution in areas that affect more than one service


Providing assistance and advice on technical matters to service unit

ergonomics teams

Reviewing program and reporting to management and staff

Service unit ergonomics team bears responsibility for operating the

Workplace Ergonomics Program within the service unit. The team is

specifically responsible for:

Performing surveillance, analysis and design of jobs

Identifying specific training needs

Coordinating its activities with Facility Design and Construction, Health

Services Office, Safety Services and labor organizations. Reporting to the

WEPCC and to the service unit head

Supervisors are responsible for:

Cooperating with the service unit ergonomics team

Referring employees with health concerns to Health Services in a timely


Reporting work area hazards promptly to the service unit ergonomics team

Notifying the service unit ergonomics team when a work area needs analysis

Assisting in the correction of existing and potential hazards

Assuring that recommendations are implemented following analysis

Staff members are responsible for:

Reporting work area hazards upon becoming aware of their existence

Cooperating with the service unit ergonomics team

Providing input to job analysis and design process

Actively engaging in their own protection by following recommended work

practices and suggestions of work area consultants

Labor organizations are responsible for:

Appointing a representative to each service unit ergonomics team

Encouraging early reporting of symptoms by employees and referring those

employees to appropriate offices

Bringing ergonomic problems and potential problems to the attention of the

service unit ergonomics teams and other responsible officials

Facility Design and Construction (FD&C) is responsible for design and

layout of work areas to assure compliance with applicable standards. FD&C

staff participate in job analysis on an as-needed basis. Where ergonomic

interventions are required, FD&C provides advice and assistance to the

service unit ergonomic teams to identify the best possible solution. FD&C

maintains information on ergonomically-correct furnishings and equipment.

FD&C is also responsible for:

Advising as to feasibility of adjustments to existing furniture

Identifying adjustments to furnishings that can be made by the user

Identifying adjustments requiring professional installers -- Reviewing

requests for service for workstation modifications, including preparing

drawings and scheduling installers as necessary

Helping in the selection of ergonomic furniture/accessories requiring

purchase, including review of all purchase requisitions

Health Services Office is responsible for the medical surveillance

element of the Workplace Ergonomics Program. The Health Services Office

serves as a consultant to the WEPCC and service unit ergonomics teams,

providing instruction in the prevention, early recognition, evaluation,

treatment, and rehabilitation of repetitive strain disorders.

The Health Services staff assesses presenting signs and symptoms and,

based on findings, directs follow-up analysis and/or treatment. Within

staffing constraints, the Health Services Office's responsibilities


Recognizing employee injury/illness problems with ergonomic influence

Participating in ergonomic evaluations of work

Identifying restricted-duty jobs

Performing periodic walkthroughs with service unit ergonomics teams

Providing wellness education initiatives

Analyzing health surveillance data and evaluating results -- Reporting

findings and recommendations

Participating in the development of interventions and reevaluating

previous actions

Safety Services provides support to the WEPCC and service unit

ergonomics teams in the areas of safety, mishap/injury prevention,

industrial hygiene, environmental health, and emergency response. Within

limitations, influenced by availability of resources, Safety Services'

responsibilities are:

Reviewing injury reports for evidence of cumulative trauma injury

Compiling and reporting injury statistics related to injury cause factors

Disseminating general and specific job safety and health information

Providing expert advice and guidance in the field of safety evaluations

and ergonomic job analysis and design

Establishing and maintaining a hazard abatement program

Reviewing equipment acquisitions

Staff Training and Development Office (STDO): The Workplace Ergonomics

Program Coordinating Committee will coordinate with Staff Training and

Development Office for the following functions:

Keeping training statistics comprised of information received from the

service unit ergonomics teams

Maintaining rosters of key trainers throughout

Accumulating statistics on course evaluations

Providing periodic progress reports on ergonomics training and education

In addition, STDO coordinates all training activities associated with

the job-specific training carried out by key trainers/certified workstation

consultants. This includes, but is not limited to, providing classroom

space and equipment, scheduling classes, notifying staff of training

sessions, keeping records of attendance, including course descriptions,

objectives, and eligibility requirements in the STDO course catalogs, and

announcing dates of courses in the STDO calendars. STDO is not responsible

for developing course content.


The purpose of training and education is to ensure that employees are

sufficiently informed about the ergonomic hazards to which they may be

exposed, in order to participate actively in their own protection. It also

reinforces ergonomic safety as a priority of the institution, and gives

employees a clear picture of what they can expect from an ergonomics

program. Effective training and education is essential to the success of

the ergonomics program, and is a continuous process.

Coordination of Scheduling and Data Collection

Centralized data on the training program is kept in order to promote

adequate levels of participation among service units, and to coordinate the

parts of the program that require cooperation.

The Staff Training and Development Office gathers information from

the service unit ergonomics teams, coordinates training by key trainers,

and provides data about ergonomics training throughout the. These

responsibilities include:

Keeping training statistics comprised of information received from the

service unit ergonomics teams.

Maintaining rosters of key trainers throughout the.

Accumulating statistics on course evaluations.

Providing periodic progress reports on the training and education program.

Scheduling classes and coordinating support materials.

Types of Training.

The training program prepares participants for the different roles they

play in the ergonomics. There are seven types of training listed below.

1. Training for Service Unit Ergonomics Teams: The service unit ergonomics

teams are responsible for implementing and maintaining the Workplace

Ergonomics Program at the service unit level. The teams are trained by

outside consultants.

2. Training for Key Trainers, (staff devoted to training employees in job-

specific principles of ergonomics). These key trainers will be

certified by outside consultants to conduct classes, perform workstation

consultations, and to recommend modifications. They are responsible for

training employees in any service unit in addition to performing their

regular duties.

3. General Orientation: Service unit ergonomics teams, in cooperation with

Facility Design and Construction, Health Services Office and Safety

Services, provide an introduction to the general principles of ergonomics

and to the Workplace Ergonomics Program in general orientation sessions.

All employees are required to take General Training or its equivalent.

New staff receives general training during new staff orientation. Other

staff will be scheduled to receive general training in a lecture setting.

4. Job-Specific Training: Every employee (new, old, reassigned) is taught

how to use tools and equipment for maximum efficiency and ergonomic

comfort, and is responsible for using safe work practices on the job.

Training for commonly used tools and equipment (e.g., video display

terminals) takes place in the classroom with interactive teaching methods

(student participation and practice.) Safety practices for tools and

equipment that are unique to a work area are demonstrated on the job by

supervisors. Trainees are expected to actively participate in their own

protection by performing self-assessment of their work habits and

implementing basic changes in their work areas.

5. Management Briefing: Managers are responsible for supporting the

Workplace Ergonomics Program in their areas. Division chiefs, directors,

service unit heads, and some administrative officers will attend

briefings by their service unit ergonomics team, with possible input from

key trainers.

6. Training for Supervisors: Supervisors ensure that employees follow safe

work practices and receive appropriate training to do so. They must

therefore attend the job-specific training for the positions they

supervise. In addition, supervisors need briefings similar to those

provided for managers in order to gain a complete understanding of their


7. Support Training: All support offices have a responsibility to keep

ergonomic knowledges and skills current and to apply ergonomic

principles in performing their duties. Appropriate technical training

should be provided for support staff on an as-needed basis.


The WEPCC will develop evaluation mechanisms for training courses.


The purpose of health and job risk factor surveillance is to provide

an ongoing systematic method of identifying and evaluating cumulative

trauma disorders (CTDs) and workplace ergonomic risk factors; and to

monitor trends in their occurrences in specific areas, over time and

between locations. The information developed in the process is used to

plan ergonomic interventions and determine the need for action. Data

collected through surveillance makes up the epidemiological (incidence,

distribution, and control of disease in a population) tools used in

assessing the workplace and employees and determining trends, costs, and


The service unit ergonomics teams conduct surveillance in both

passive and active modes. The responsibilities for surveillance are

interdisciplinary. See Program Management.

Passive Surveillance involves the analysis of existing records and data.

1. Analysis of Existing Records. Medical and safety professionals

review certain records for implications of ergonomic factors such as

overexertion, forceful exertions, awkward postures, and repeated motion

type injuries. They forward information applicable to the Workplace

Ergonomics Program to the appropriate ergonomics committee/team. This

records review process is a first step in determining the ergonomic program

direction and for performing the job analysis.

Medical Records.

Medical records include Occupational Health and Safety Administration

(OSHA) logs, compensation reports, medical visits, and as necessary,

personal medical records. Information of a personal nature regarding

treatment and the injury may not go forward to the ergonomics


Safety Review.

Safety Services conducts injury/illness reviews and/or investigations

which identify suspect mishap cause factors useful. The resulting reports

are useful in identification of specific jobs for ergonomic analysis.

Complaint Records/Suggestions.

Service unit ergonomics teams can use employee complaints and/or

suggestions relating to a work process to identify potential ergonomic

problem areas. Safety Services can assist the service unit ergonomics

teams in the review of such records.

2. Early Reporting of Symptoms. Employees are encouraged to report

early signs and symptoms of discomfort to their supervisor, service unit

ergonomics team or directly to Health Services. This allows for timely and

appropriate evaluation, documentation and treatment or referral.

Active Surveillance

Active Surveillance is the solicitation of information before the

occurrence of an event which would precipitate a complaint. Active

surveillance can be conducted at two levels of specificity.

Level 1. Active Surveillance is less detailed.

a. Periodic Walkthroughs. A walkthrough is useful in

increasing the visibility and accessibility of ergonomic team and health

and safety professional. It also acquaints health care and safety staff

with various areas.

b. Surveys. The symptoms survey is a widely-used tool in

active surveillance. It is useful in early identification of problems as

well as for assessing the effectiveness of interventions. There are other

such survey tools e.g., fatigue surveys, back history surveys.

c. Hazard Evaluations. Service unit ergonomics teams evaluate

jobs. Use of checklists facilitates this process. The purpose is to

observe, document and assess risk factors present.

Level 2. Active Surveillance is more detailed.

a. Health Interviews and Physical Examinations. To assure

effective medical management, it is necessary to establish an approach

which incorporates a baseline evaluation, a postconditioning period

evaluation and a periodic assessment. These are in the form of health

interviews and physical examinations. The target population is asymptomatic

employees already in or being placed in high risk jobs, as well as

symptomatic employees.


Job Analysis

Job Analysis in an ergonomics program is a systems approach to identify

work activities that may result in or contribute to overexertion injuries

and disorders of the back and upper extremities, often referred to as

cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs). The objective is to identify work

activities that may result in or contribute to overexertion injuries and

disorders of the back and upper extremities, often referred to as

cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs). The systems approach identifies

generic risk factors such as forceful exertions, awkward postures,

localized contact stresses, vibration, temperature extremes, and repetitive

motions or prolonged activities which may contribute to injury/illness.

The process involves documentation and study of the work by service unit

ergonomics teams. It includes the worker, the supervisor, and specialists

trained and experienced in recognition and assessment of ergonomic risk

factors. Completion of the job analysis results in identification of

ergonomic stresses, design of interventions and follow-up evaluation of the


There are two levels of job analysis. They are:

1. Surveys/Walkthroughs (Level 1) are a basic method of identifying risk

factors associated with the performance of work. Service unit ergonomics

teams, in consultation with health care and safety professionals, conduct

the surveys. Checklists are useful in completion of the

survey/walkthrough. Other resource material is available in Safety


2. Analysis (Level 2): Ergonomics team members conduct detailed job

analysis in work areas after determining and prioritizing those jobs that

warrant analysis. All personnel conducting ergonomic job analysis must

have received specific training in ergonomic job analysis and

intervention techniques. The job analysis process identifies and ranks

specific risk factors, documents job attributes, and assesses ergonomic

stress factors.

a. Documentation: The following constitute documentation of the job


(1) Position description: The official position description

permits the analyst to compare job function to the intended goal/objective.

It is possible that the findings of the analysis may support changes in

position descriptions.

(2) Direct observation: Risk factors in a job or work area

studied can be determined by direct observation. The analysis includes, as

necessary, upper extremity repetitive measurements for total hand

manipulations per cycle, cycle time and total manipulations or cycles per

shift. Where appropriate force measurement determinations are needed these

can be estimated as an average effort or peak force. Force measurements

can be obtained using appropriate test equipment (if available).

(3) Supervisor/employee interviews: Staff, including labor

organization representatives, provide a broad knowledge base regarding job

history and problems. All job analysis includes on-site interviews with

employees, supervisors, and labor organization representatives.

(4) Videotaping is the preferred method of documenting a

specific job analysis, in most cases. It helps the analyst understand the

task demands on the worker, and how each worker accomplishes the task.

Videotaping requires the presence and activity of the worker. Use of a

checklist aids in accurate documentation of conditions present during the

analysis. Where videotape equipment is not available use of a checklist is

even more important.

b. Assessment of Ergonomic Stresses: During the detailed analysis,

some specific actions and/or potential stressors are evaluated for impact

on the worker. There are four specific stressors for which the analyst

should be alert. They are noted below.

(1) Repeated and sustained static exertions: Does the

performance of work, required in the position description, require these

exertions, or do they result from a work practice?

(2) Forceful exertions: Where forceful exertions are

identified in the analysis some specific steps may be required for

evaluation and intervention. It may be necessary to estimate loads and

friction resistance, make posture adjustments, determine need for

mechanical aids, consider use of gloves, and evaluate muscle use with tools

such as resistance meters and surface electromyography equipment.

(3) Localized mechanical stresses: Does the work require

specific forces and/or contact with areas of the worker's body?

(4) Posture stresses: Identification of posture stresses can

be accomplished through job analysis observation and/or video tape. The

analysis may be supplemented with instrumentation noted in (2) above,

analysis of orientation of the worker in relation to the work, review of

types of tools used, and use of anthropometric data.

Design of Jobs.

When considering design or redesign of jobs the objective is to

minimize ergonomic stresses present in the performance of the work.

Interventions considered must eliminate or reduce employee exposure to the

potential for suffering from CTDs and other back and upper extremity pain,

while allowing accomplishment of the organization's mission.

1. Propose interventions. A complete job analysis includes reporting

of the findings, recommendations for design of control measures, and

evaluation of actions taken. The report may be formal or less formal,

depending on the extent of recommendations for change. Intervention is

accomplished through the application of appropriate engineering changes,

and/or implementation of

administrative control for the work. Intervention is followed by


1.1 Engineering Changes include actual modifications to the physical

work site and any tools or equipment used in the work process.

Determination of needed changes may require assistance of medical, safety

and other recognized experts.

(1) Tools - Are power assists available? Can handles be


(2) Machines/Equipment - Are changes necessary to the

equipment? Economic impact may be a necessary consideration in some cases.

1.2 Administrative Controls are necessary as interim protective

measures, pending completion of required engineering changes. In some

situations administrative controls may be the only intervention needed.

(1) Work area - Can changes be made in the work/equipment

location and orientation? Are proper chairs used?

(2) Methods - Is there another way to do the work? Is job

rotation allowed?

(3) Standards - If standards are established for the

work, are they realistic, up-to-date?

(4) Schedules - Are schedules flexible enough to provide

periodic rest breaks and/or on-the-job exercises? Are work schedules


(5) Education/Training - Are employees trained to recognize

problems and take proper action?

(6) Maintenance - Is equipment with moving parts, e.g.,

wheels, lifts, etc., properly inspected and maintained?

3. Evaluation. Each intervention action taken to prevent/reduce CTDs and

other related disorders requires follow-up evaluation to assess

effectiveness of the action. The evaluation can be accomplished through:

a. Job Analysis - using the methods described above,


b. Active/Passive Surveillance - methods described in


c. Assessment - evaluation of information from a. and b. above

to determine whether the goal has been achieved


The goal of medical management is to ensure evaluation, diagnosis and

treatment of repetitive strain disorders, and to provide avenues for

prevention. Integration of medical management is essential to the success

of the program. All medical evaluations, records, and data as well as

results of surveys etc. are handled in a manner which preserves the

anonymity of individual employees and maintains the confidentiality of

personal and medical information. The components of this program are:

Accessibility; Health Surveillance; Identification of Restricted-Duty Jobs;

Medical Intervention; and Record-keeping, Data Evaluation, and Action.

Employee investment in the problems, along with early medical

intervention and good open communications between Health Services and other

treating clinicians, are key to success.


The health care providers must be accessible to the employees to

facilitate treatment, surveillance activities, and recording of

information. This may be accomplished via walkthroughs and educational

initiatives. The walkthrough increases visibility and provides a forum for

interaction and exchange of information.

Health Services undertakes educational initiatives for different

types of cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs), their causes, prevention, etc.

These are carried out through new employee orientation, health forums,

_Gazette_ articles, brochures, posters, etc.

Health Surveillance.

The Health Services Office serves as a principal member of the

surveillance team assessing and analyzing symptoms surveys, and encouraging

and receiving early reports of symptoms. This role is more clearly

outlined under Surveillance.

Identification of Restricted-Duty Jobs

The objective of a restricted-duty assignment is to provide a chance

for healing or rehabilitation of an injured area by assigning the worker to

a position that does not involve the use of the injured muscle-tendon

group. This type of assignment is individualized to each worker. A list or

data base of jobs categorized according to ergonomic risk from high to low

is to be developed. The identification process requires job analysis (see

Analysis and Design of Jobs). As these job analyses are completed,

relevant information is added to the official position description.

Medical Intervention.

Appropriate medical evaluation and care is essential to prevent the

development of more serious medical problems. The main objective of

medical management is to identify and treat disorders at a very early

stage, and minimize progression or exacerbation. This includes health

interviews and examinations. These examinations are in the form of, a

baseline evaluation, a post conditioning period evaluation, and a periodic

assessment. The baseline or preplacement exam would determine capabilities

(as opposed to disabilities) and identify required job restrictions. The

examinations are job-specific, based on the official position description,

initiated by the supervisor or Human Resources, and administered by Health

Services. The post-conditioning evaluation is done no later than 1 month

after a new position is assumed to determine if there are symptoms

consistent with the breaking in of muscles as opposed to the onset of a

cumulative trauma disorder (CTD). The periodic assessment is oriented

towards early detection of health changes in at-risk workers

Responsibilities are outlined in Program Management.

Record-keeping, Data Evaluation, and Action.

It is important to maintain accurate records. OSHA logs, medical

records, compensation reports, and Safety Services injury reports, as well

as the results of symptoms surveillance, are the epidemiological tools in

assessing the workplace and employees and determining trends and costs.

Original sources, used in the work

1. gopher://marvel.loc.gov:70/00/employee/health/ergonomics/program3

2. www.ergosci.com

3. www.osha.com

4. http://www.ergonomics.org/

5. http://www.combo.com/ergo/atwork.htm

6. http://www.usernomics.com/hf.html

7. http://www.cordis.lu/src/g_001_en.htm#SEARCH

8. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/jobstres.html

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