Ergonomics

Every employee at UCSC should at all times be an active participant in preventing injuries to themselves and others. Employees and supervisors need to be aware of the potential for injury and capable of altering their surroundings or processes to prevent injury and avoid unnecessary risk. These actions and behaviors are common elements of a sustained safety culture and are essential components of an effective ergonomics program. Supervisors and employees need to know the simple basics of good workstation ergonomics and then put these principles into practice on a daily basis. Good ergonomic practices related to computer workstations are easy to understand, implement and monitor. If you use a computer workstation for more than 4 hours a day or 20 hours a week, EH&S recommends you work with your supervisor to take the following steps to ensure you are in compliance with the California Department of Occupational Safety & Health ergonomics rule, adhering to the provisions of UC labor contracts and are meeting the requirements of your departmental Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Most importantly you should follow these guidelines to ensure you meet the goal of remaining injury-free at your workstation.

If you are:

A) A new employee, someone who has moved to a new workstation, or someone who has general questions or concerns about the ergonomics of your computer set up:

  1. Sign up and take our UCSC online ergonomic assessment and training module. Make the changes suggested during this training class to your workstation to achieve the best posture.

  2. Review the email from the online ergonomic training system with your supervisor and/or Departmental Ergonomic Assessor (DEA) to identify any remaining needs. Visit the ErgoCruz page to find a list of the active DEAs by department.

  3. If you believe you need new or different equipment to solve a problem, discuss your situation with your supervisor, office manager, or DEA and work together to find a workable solution.

  4. If you are unsure whether you need new equipment or need information about what types of ergonomic equipment, including chairs, are available to solve your problems, contact the Campus Ergonomist, Brian MacDonald at 459-5430 at EH&S to find out more about available options.

  5. On a daily basis, ensure your equipment is properly adjusted and your posture remains appropriate. As much as possible make a habit of frequently changing your work activities at least every 20-30 minutes (i.e. stand up, walk to copier, look away from your screen, do some stretching), to avoid working in any posture for a prolonged period of time without moving.

  6. If you are unable to complete the UCSC online training and assessment or do not understand how to apply the information to yourself and your workstation, contact the Campus Ergonomist at 459-5430 to discuss this further or to schedule a site-visit.

B)  Experiencing discomfort, aches, numbness, tingling, pain or other symptoms which are believed to be caused by or associated with your workstation set up, proceed as follows:

  1. If you have not yet filed an injury report you should inform your supervisor. DO THIS RIGHT AWAY because it is important to initiate some supportive changes as soon as possible to prevent an injury from occurring.

  2. If you believe you should have a medical evaluation for your symptoms, again inform your supervisor and request assistance with the injury reporting process.
  3. If you have already filed an injury report and are being treated for an ergonomic injury, speak to your occupational physician and request an ergonomic evaluation through the medical provider.

C)  A manager who supervises employees with the CX designation, or who are members of the CUE bargaining unit:
Whenever you bring a new employee into your group, you need to provide them with information on logging into the UCSC online ergonomic training and self assessment and go over the results with them to determine what ergonomic needs should be met. If you have questions on how to correct a problem identified by the self-assessment by the employee, contact the Campus Ergonomist, Brian MacDonald at 9-5430 at EH&S.

D)  A manager or supervisor intending to refurbish an office or upgrade existing furniture:
For furniture design and office layout assistance, contact Janine Faylor of PBI at 757-4107, Ext: 201 or jfaylor@pbifurniture.com. This is a service provided by PBI and there is a fee. PBI is the local provider for furniture under the systemwide Steelcase contract. Contact the Campus Ergonomist with any questions about optimizing the ergonomic support for employees when choosing new furnishings.

Special Resources

Need help paying for ergonomic equipment? Check out our ErgoCruz page via the left navigation bar here on this page for our Departmental Ergonomic Assessor and Matching Funds Program information.
Departmental Ergonomic Assessors can find forms and additional information on the ErgoCruz page as well.

Do you work in a non-office enviroment? The Campus Ergonomist, Brian MacDonald at 459-5430 consults with all departments and work groups at UCSC to identify resources, provide training and recommendations regarding any equipment, work practices or other modifications to the work area or process to improve employee ergonomic safety.

See the links section at the bottom of this page for more information on how to improve your ergonomic safety in non-computer related work areas

Online Training and Self-Assessment

All UCSC employees who use a computer as part of their normal work activities are strongly encouraged to complete the UCSC online computer ergonomics training and self-assessment. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and can be done in smaller sessions, as it allows you to stop and then return to the same point later. You can review it at any time at your convenience. The training provides a wealth of tips and ideas on how to improve your computer workstation set up to improve comfort, safety and efficiency. The assessment portion asks simple questions that will help pinpoint your personal risk areas and provides education targeted at your identified needs and risks. There is also information and demonstrations of healthy stretches to improve your comfort and well being at the computer. You will also receive personalized follow-up recommendations and periodic reminders to update your profile and note any changes that have taken place in your workstation. Often employees are empowered to completely resolve their ergonomic issues at their desk after completing this training. There is also instruction on where to go to get more assistance if needed.

To sign up for the training and self assessment, go to UCSC online ergonomic training. Log in using your CruzID and Gold password. 

Office Ergonomics

UCLA computer workstation ergonomics video
Cal/OSHA Ergonomics Standard
Ergonomic resources page at UC San Diego
Ergonomic resource page at UCLA
Cal/OSHA publication on computer ergonomics
Computer Workstation Design
Mousing Safely
What You Should Know to Protect Your Wrists From Injury
List of ergonomic equipment vendors most commonly used by UCSC
Oklahoma State U list of ergonomic resource links
List of office safety books available from amazon.com at special order prices through University of Vermont
Self-Assessment Guidelines for Computer Workstation Set Up and Completion Checklist Form
Self-Assessment Short Form for Computer Users

For chair adjustment instructions and videos as well as other product assembly information visit the ErgoCruz program page.

Laptop Ergonomics and Customizing Your Computer Settings

Laptop Ergonomics Guide
General List of Keyboard Shortcuts Mac and PC
Keyboard Shortcuts to Select Text

Stretching

Computer and Desk Stretches
Stretching Card Handout

Back Care and Lifting Safety

UC Davis lifting safety video "Protecting Your Back" (part 1) (part 2)
Fact sheet on how to lift safely from the National Safety Council
Back safety and pain care links from MedLine
Virginia Commonwealth University lifting techniques

Laboratory Ergonomics

Laboratory ergonomic safety checklist (developed by the UC ergonomic workgroup)
Laboratory Ergonomic Recommended Product List (developed by the UC ergonomic workgroup)
Article on six ways to improve ergonomics in the laboratory setting
Laboratory ergonomic reference pages at Cornell
Ergonomics in the workplace info, with links to associated info

UC Ergonomic Workgroup Reports on High Ergonomic Risk Departments

Custodial Services
Dining Serivces

Driver Ergonomics

Driver ergonomics presentation

Ergonomic Hand Tool Design and Selection

Ergonomic hand tools report


 If you have additional questions or need to schedule a workstation ergonomic evaluation, please contact the Campus Ergonomist,  Brian MacDonald at 459-5430.