Chapter 9: Ergonomics Program


The purpose of this program is to inform all employees that UMW is committed to improve comfort and well-being by identifying and correcting ergonomic risk factors on the job. This program applies to all work operations. OEMS coordinates all health and safety programs at UMW. They will review the Ergonomics Program and provide guidance, as needed. UMW has implemented this ergonomics program to address the problem of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). MSD have become an issue of increasing concern because they continue to rise in occurrence.

Our goal through this Ergonomics Program is to prevent the occurrence of work-related MSD by controlling or eliminating the risk factors that cause them. This program ensures that all affected employees are aware of job-related risk factors and provides information and solutions to reduce them. UMW promotes continuous improvement for the efficiency, comfort, and well-being of all employees through a team effort of management and employee involvement.

If, after reading this program, you find that improvements can be made, please contact OEMS. We encourage all suggestions, as we are committed to the success of our Ergonomics Program. We strive for clear understanding, safe and efficient work practices, and involvement in the program from every level on Campus.


OEMS is responsible for our Ergonomics Program. The Ergonomics Team is made up of our Safety Committee and has developed objectives for ergonomic improvements and methods for identifying and resolving these problem areas. The written plan for these goals, objectives, and solutions may be obtained from OEMS located in Hamlet House. Our Ergonomics Team is comprised of a cross section of employee representatives from various departments/areas and staff levels on Campus. UMW’s Management Team is committed to the success of this program by providing resources and the staff time necessary to identify and correct problem jobs. The team members have been trained to recognize problem jobs, identify risk factors, and develop solutions to reduce those factors. Elements of this training include the identification of workplace risk factors, job analysis methods, implementation and evaluation of control measures, and teamwork skills.


We encourage all employees to immediately report any symptoms of discomfort that may be associated with their job duties. In most cases, employees are to report to their immediate supervisor. Those supervisors are responsible to recommend alternative work or medical evaluation for injured or ill employees.

Supervisors record and file written reports from the first observation of illness or injury through all subsequent follow-up activities. They are also responsible to forward information about the worker injury or illness for recording on the OSHA 300A Injury and Illness Form. The supervisor may recommend that the job receive an evaluation from the Ergonomics Team, supervisors, or other personnel with these responsibilities.

Every work procedure that causes a worker injury or illness will be investigated and reported. This documentation provides vital information for the identification of job-related risk factors so that the problems can be corrected before other injuries occur. After verification of an employee’s job-related injury or illness, OEMS will review this plan and re-evaluate the workstation to determine if additional practices, procedures, or redesign of the station could be implemented to prevent similar injuries.


There are several methods used to identify problem jobs that are most likely to result in ergonomic disorders. OEMS reviews and periodically monitors UMW injury and illness records, such as the OSHA 300 form and workers’ compensation data, to identify patterns of ergonomic-related injuries and illnesses.

In addition, jobs are evaluated for the following risk factors:

  • Rate and number of repetitions: Performance of the same motion or motion patterns every few seconds for more than two hours at a time.
  • Postures and limb positions: Fixed or awkward work postures such as overhead work, twisted or bent back, bent wrist, stooping, or squatting, for more than a total of two hours.
  • Vibration: Use of vibrating or impact tools or equipment for more than a total of two hours.
  • Loads/Lifted: Lifting, lowering, or carrying of anything weighing more than 25 pounds (11.34 kg) more than once during the work shift.
  • Loads/Static: Holding a fixed or awkward position with arms or neck for more than ten seconds.
  • Muscle Forces: Continually pulling or pushing objects.
  • Work Pace: Piece rate or machine paced work for more than four hours at a time (legally required breaks cannot be included when totaling the four-hour limit).

Ergonomics Team members participate in evaluating new equipment and processes for potential risk factors. They also evaluate hand tools to determine if the designs are ergonomically suitable for the intended use and appropriate for the workers who use them.


When a job, process, or equipment has been evaluated, the Team completes a risk factor checklist. Through this checklist, problems are identified for correction and supervisors and employees in the affected areas are notified. The Ergonomics Team, in conjunction with those affected employees, will develop possible solutions, choose the most appropriate, implement the changes, and follow up to determine the effectiveness.


UMW’s Management Team receives copies of this written ergonomics program and the policy statement regarding ergonomics in our workplace. We train each employee who works at a job with exposure to specific risk factors and each employee in a job where a work-related MSD has been recorded.

These are the ergonomic elements we teach to all employees:

  • How to recognize workplace risk factors associated with work-related MSD and the ways to reduce exposure to those risk factors.
  • The signs and symptoms of work-related MSD, the importance of early reporting, and medical management procedures.
  • Reporting procedures and the person to whom the employee is to report workplace risk factors and work-related MSD.
  • The process that UMW takes to address and control workplace risk factors, each employee’s role in the process, and how to participate in the process.
  • Opportunity to practice and demonstrate proper use of implemented control measures and safe work methods that apply to the job.

Each employee involved in job analysis will be trained in job analysis methods, especially as they relate to identifying workplace risk factors, and evaluation and implementation of control measures. UMW will not implement any policy or practice which discourages reporting, or which results in discrimination or reprisal against any employee who makes a report.


Constant awareness of and respect for ergonomic hazards and compliance with all safety rules are considered conditions of employment. Supervisors and individuals in OEMS and Human Resources Department reserve the right to issue disciplinary warnings to employees for failure to follow the guidelines of this program.