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Ergonomics: Risk Factors

Learn to control ergonomic risk factors associated with your work.

Understanding risk factors and practicing basic ergonomic principles are the first defense against possible injury and lost productivity.

Job activities involving any of the ergonomic risk factors below may contribute to or result in an increased risk of strain and injury.

  • Awkward postures
  • Bending
  • Compression or contact stress
  • Forceful exertions
  • Insufficient rest breaks
  • Lifting
  • Lighting
  • Noise
  • Pushing, pulling
  • Reaching
  • Repetitive motions
  • Static or sustained postures
  • Temperature extremes
  • Vibration

The good news is there's a lot you can do to prevent injuries from occuring.

Select a category below to learn what you can do about the ergonomic risk factors.

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Child care workers

Risk factors

Lifting a child Bending, lifting, pushing, and pulling are risk factors for child care employees.
Picking up toys Awkward postures, bending, and lifting aren't child's play.
Diaper change Standing, reaching, bending, and lifting are repeated in diaper changes throughout the day.

What to do

Schedule group training

Have an ergonomic specialist present group training in your workplace, focusing on the tasks and equipment your group uses. To schedule group training:

  • You need at least 6 participants
  • E-mail your request to ehsih@ucsd.edu, including:
    • Your name
    • Department
    • Phone number and e-mail address
    • Building and room number

Computer and office workers

Risk factors

Poor computer workstation posture Poor posture at a poorly adjusted workstation. This person is going to ache before the end of the day.
Keyboarding Keyboarding can cause repetitive motion, forceful and static exertions, awkward postures, and contact stress.
Multi-tasking at the computer Awkward postures, contact stress, and glare are risk factors at a poorly designed computer workstation.

What to do

Food service workers

Risk factors

Slicing watermelon Forceful exertions, repetitive motions, and awkward postures are risk factors during food preparation.
Cooking large quantities Bending, lifting, reaching, pushing, pulling, and standing for long periods of time are physically demanding.
Cooking with open flames Temperature extremes, standing for long periods of time, and repetitive motions can be a recipe for discomfort.

What to do

Schedule group training

Have an ergonomic specialist present group training in your workplace, focusing on the tasks and equipment your group uses. To schedule group training:

  • You need at least 6 participants
  • E-mail your request to ehsih@ucsd.edu, including:
    • Your name
    • Department
    • Phone number and e-mail address
    • Building and room number

Healthcare workers

Risk factors

Lifting a patient Lifting, pulling, or pushing a patient requires careful attention to body mechanics for both patient and care giver safety.
Healthcare technician Bending and lifting are risk factors for this healthcare provider.
Physical therapist adjusting equipment Forceful and static exertions, awkward postures, contact stress, pushing, pulling, and repetitive motions affect this physical therapist.

What to do

Schedule group training

Have an ergonomic specialist present group training in your workplace, focusing on the tasks and equipment your group uses. To schedule group training:

  • You need at least 6 participants
  • E-mail your request to EH&S Healthcare Safety Office, including:
    • Your name
    • Department
    • Phone number and e-mail address
    • Building and room number

Laboratory workers

Risk factors

Micromanipulation with tweezers Micromanipulation and dissection involve repetitive motions, and forceful and static exertion.
Microscope work Risk factors for microscope users include awkward postures, static exertion, eye strain, and contact stress from leaning on sharp table edges.
Researcher at lab bench Pipetting, forceful exertions, standing, and leaning for long periods of time are common risk factors for researchers.

What to do

Schedule group training

Have an ergonomic specialist present group training in your workplace, focusing on the tasks and equipment your group uses. To schedule group training:

  • You need at least 6 participants
  • E-mail your request to ehsih@ucsd.edu, including:
    • Your name
    • Department
    • Phone number and e-mail address
    • Building and room number

Material handlers

Risk factors

Loading packages and mail Bending, lifting, pushing, and pulling are risk factors for shipping, receiving, and delivery employees.
Inputting data Awkward postures, repetitive motions, and static and forceful exertions are involved in manifesting, tracking, and data entry activites.
Mail sorting Sorting involves repetitive motions, prolonged standing, awkward postures, reaching, bending, and lifting.

What to do

Schedule group training

Have an ergonomic specialist present group training in your workplace, focusing on the tasks and equipment your group uses. To schedule group training:

  • You need at least 6 participants
  • E-mail your request to ehsih@ucsd.edu, including:
    • Your name
    • Department
    • Phone number and e-mail address
    • Building and room number

Trades and custodial workers

Risk factors

Transporting equipment Pushing, pulling, bending, lifting, gripping, and vibration are risk factors for cleaning and maintanance equipment operators.
Overhead work Reaching and extending, noise, and temperature extremes are common in maintenance work.
Shop worker Shop work may involve awkward postures, contact stress, static and forceful exertions, and repetitive motions.

What to do

Schedule group training

Have an ergonomic specialist present group training in your workplace, focusing on the tasks and equipment your group uses. To schedule group training:

  • You need at least 6 participants
  • E-mail your request to ehsih@ucsd.edu, including:
    • Your name
    • Department
    • Phone number and e-mail address
    • Building and room number

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Contacts

Note: This page has a friendly link that's easy to remember: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/ergorisk