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The Workplace Ergonomics Program /Eng./

The Workplace Ergonomics Program


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 stresses 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:

To identify existing and potential conditions in the workplace that could lead to injuries and illnesses.

To reduce and/or eliminate exposures to such conditions through effective workstation and tool design and through proper work methods.

To ensure evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of repetitive strain disorders, and to provide avenues for prevention.

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 in

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 unit

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 manner

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 include:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 responsibilities.

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 interventions.

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.

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