Ergonomics can roughly be defined as the study of people in their work environment. It is the science of fitting the workstation and tools to the employee, with the goal of reducing and eliminating physical discomfort and risk of work-related injury.
There are three leading characteristics to ergonomics known as ergonomic stressors. These factors, either separate or combined, may place someone at greater risk for discomfort and injury. They are:
- the force required to complete a task
- the repetitiveness of a task
- any awkward or static working postures held while completing a task.
The WSU Spokane Environmental Health & Safety Office provides basic information on ergonomics for office, laboratory, and animal care work to make employees aware of ergonomic hazards and help them avoid injury and discomfort.
Request an Ergonomic Assessment
If you would like an ergonomic assessment of your workstation, email the WSU Spokane Environmental Health & Safety Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
Office ergonomics focuses on providing a computer workstation that allows for a comfortable working environment.
- WSU Environmental Health & Safety Ergonomic Resources for Teleworkers
- Workstation Evaluation & Purchasing Guide Checklists, Occupational Safety & Health Administration
- WSU Office Ergonomics Training (PowerPoint)
Laboratory workers are at risk for developing cumulative trauma injuries due to the repetitive nature of pipetting, use of small handheld tools, and other laboratory tasks. Repetitive motion injuries develop over time and occur when muscles and joints are stressed, tendons are inflamed, and the flow of blood is restricted. Working in prolonged, awkward postures at a microscope or in laboratory hoods or biological safety cabinets may also present ergonomic problems.
The WSU Environmental Health & Safety Office offers information on protective measures to help eliminate or reduce ergonomic stressors during routine laboratory procedures.
- WSU Laboratory Ergonomics Training (PowerPoint)
- Laboratory Safety Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders Fact Sheet, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (PDF)
Animal Care Ergonomics
- WSU Animal Care Ergonomics Training (PowerPoint)
“Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of the interactions among human and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.”
—International Ergonomics Association Executive Council, August 2000
WSU Spokane Environmental Health & Safety