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The purpose of this guideline is to apply ergonomic principles in an effort to reduce the
number and severity of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) caused by exposure to risk factors
in the workplace. This will help to reduce workers compensation claims and, where
possible, increase productivity, quality, and efficiency. An ergonomically sound work
environment maximizes employee comfort while minimizing the risk of undue physical
stress. Emory University’s approach includes making changes where risks have been
identified as well as examining other areas which could potentially pose a risk.
This guideline is recommended for Emory University employees, including faculty, staff, and
student employees, who through their work activities have an increased risk of developing a
It is recommended that all employees at risk of experiencing a MSD comply with the
recommendations set forth by this guideline. Employees should utilize ergonomic work
practices while performing their job functions. In order to accomplish this, it is
recommended that they:
3.1.1. Comply with all established engineering controls, work practices, and
administrative procedures and requirements;
3.1.2. Make behavioral changes to implement personal improvements to their
workstations or job tasks;
3.1.3. Notify their supervisor, the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHSO), and
Occupational Injury Management (OIM) of any signs or symptoms of MSDs;
3.1.4. Complete a STARS Online Incident Report and seek medical treatment with
OIM if work-related pain or discomfort persists;
3.1.5. Complete Ergonomics Awareness Training initially and refresher training every
two years; and
3.1.6. Contact EHSO at 404-727-5922 or firstname.lastname@example.org if further information
about ergonomics is needed or to request an ergonomics assessment.
4. ERGONOMICS EVALUATIONS
4.1. Ergonomics Discomfort Survey
4.1.1. An ergonomics discomfort survey will be sent to anyone needing to be assessed
for ergonomic hazards related to their job tasks.
4.1.2. The ergonomics discomfort survey is used to identify employee discomfort areas
and gather their opinions on what is causing the discomfort. This allows the
EHSO assessor to gather information to assist with the ergonomics assessment.
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4.1.3. Prior to the ergonomics assessment being conducted, the discomfort survey must
be emailed to email@example.com by the individual requesting the ergonomics
assessment or their supervisor.
4.2. Ergonomics Assessment
4.2.1. An ergonomic assessment consists of analyzing work tasks to identify procedures
or processes which could lead to an ergonomic injury. Ergonomic assessments
are conducted when any of the following occur:
126.96.36.199. EHSO receives a report of an employee experiencing symptoms associated
188.8.131.52. There is an increased number of injuries in a certain area or job;
184.108.40.206. A safety walk through, scheduled inspection, or survey uncovers potential
ergonomic hazards; or
220.127.116.11. A workstation/worksite evaluation is recommended as the result of an
4.2.2. Ergonomic risk factors included in the evaluation process include, but are not
18.104.22.168. Physical risk factors including force, posture (awkward and static), static
loading and sustained exertion, fatigue, repetition, contact stress, extreme
temperatures, and vibration.
22.214.171.124. Administrative issues including job rotation/enlargement, inadequate
staffing, excessive overtime, inadequate or lack of rest breaks, stress from
deadlines, lack of training, work pace, work methods, and psychosocial
126.96.36.199. Environmental risk factors including noise, lighting, glare, air quality,
temperature, humidity, and personal protective equipment and clothing.
188.8.131.52. A combination of risk factors such as, but not limited to, highly repetitive,
forceful work with no job rotation or precision work done in a dimly lit
4.2.3. Various methods will be used to conduct the ergonomics assessments. The type
of assessment depends on the tasks being examined. The following steps will be
utilized for ergonomic assessments:
184.108.40.206. Walk-throughs and observations;
220.127.116.11. Employee interviews;
18.104.22.168. Surveys and questionnaires (i.e. the Discomfort Survey);
22.214.171.124. Ergonomic checklists to identify risk factors from work tasks; and
126.96.36.199. Detailed worksite evaluations, including videotaped assessments.
In order to ensure that issues have been addressed and that new problems have not been
created, monitoring and evaluation will be conducted on an on-going basis. The methods
include use of individual interviews and checklists to reevaluate the previously assessed job
or task to ensure that risks have been reduced, minimized, or eliminated.
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5. CONTROL OF ERGONOMIC RISK F ACTORS
5.1. Engineering Controls
Engineering controls are the most desirable and reliable means to reduce workplace
ergonomic hazards. This is achieved by focusing on the physical modifications of jobs,
workstations, tools, equipments, or processes.
5.2. Administrative Controls
Administrative controls reduce or prevent workplace exposure to potentially harmful effects
by implementing administrative changes such as job rotation, job enlargement, rest/recovery
breaks, work pace adjustment, redesign of methods, and worker education.
5.3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal Protective Equipment does not take the place of administrative or engineering
controls and are always used as a last resort; however, there are acceptable forms of PPE
which can be used to help eliminate ergonomic hazards, such as kneepads and anti-vibration
6. INFORMATION AND TRAINING
6.1. Ergonomics Awareness Training is recommended to be conducted at the time of initial
assignment, and every two years thereafter or whenever a new ergonomic hazard is
introduced into the work area, whichever is sooner.
6.2. Ergonomics Awareness Training includes the following:
6.2.1. An overview of ergonomics and the concept of neutral postures;
6.2.2. Job tasks which have been associated with the development of MSDs.
6.2.3. The importance of reporting symptoms and injuries to the supervisor; and
6.2.4. Methods used to help minimize MSDs.
6.3. EHSO will maintain documentation of attendance which will include the employee’s
name, department, signature, and date of training.
7. GUIDELINE EVALUATION
7.1. The written Ergonomics Guideline is re-evaluated every two years to assess its progress
and success. The evaluation considers the following:
7.1.1. Evaluation of the training and training records;
7.1.2. The jobs, processes, or operations which have produced a high incidence rate of
7.1.3. The length of time between a request for an ergonomic assessment and the actual
7.1.4. The length of time between the point at which the results of the evaluation are
known and when implementation of controls begins.
7.2. Overall success of these guidelines will be based upon the comparison of previous years
using the following criteria after a baseline has been established:
7.2.1. The number and type of lost workdays associated with OSHA recordable cases.
7.2.2. The cost of workers’ compensation cases.
7.2.3. Employee feedback through direct interviews, walk-through observations,
written surveys and questionnaires, and re-evaluations.
Training records are retained by EHSO until replaced with a more recent record.
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9.1. United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Ergonomics Page
9.2. OSHA General Duty Clause
9.3. State Compensation Insurance Fund
9.4. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Elements of Ergonomics
9.5. University of Southern California (USC) Ergonomics Program
9.6. State of California Ergonomics Program
9.7. OTI 2250: Principles of Ergonomics Applied to Musculoskeletal and Nerve Disorders-
Georgia Tech Research Institute
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