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Ergonomics: The Supervisor's Role

Supervisors, provide employees with ergonomics training and assistance to prevent injuries.

In addition to regulatory obligations, supervisors contend with many challenges when an employee is injured in the workplace: lost productivity, recruiting, training, and paying temporary employees.

Learn about your role in preventing musculoskeletal and repetitive motion injuries in the workplace and reducing the severity of injuries that do occur.

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Be aware of ergonomic risk factors.

UCSD's Injury & Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) requires supervisors to identify the job specific hazards their workers may be subjected to in the course of their duties and provide appropriate safety training.

Read:

Learn about UCSD's ergonomics program.

Learn about UCSD's ergonomics program and policies, supervisor and manager responsibilities, and how to cultivate an ergonomically safe workplace.

See requirements for CUE-represented workers.

Provide ergonomics training.

Understanding and practicing basic ergonomic principles is the first defense against possible injury and lost productivity.
  • Keep records of all safety training your employees receive.

California Ergonomic Standard

UCSD is subject to The California Ergonomic Standard, California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Article 106, Section 5110.

The standard requires employers to provide ergonomic training when one or more employees in a workplace are diagnosed with a repetitive motion injury.

Evaluate the workplace.

Notice how employees interact with their workstations as they perform their tasks.

  • Observe the patterns of work taking place throughout the day. Your employees may have ideas on how to change their task patterns to reduce repetitive motions and strain.
  • Look for environmental conditions that may add unnecessary strain:
    • Is lighting adequate for the job?
    • How's the temperature?
    • Is there excessive noise or vibration?

For computer workers:

This eCourse simultaneously evaluates the user's computer workstation and teaches them basic ergonomic principles.

Based on the user's answers in the tutorial, a Personal Ergonomic Recommendation Report is generated at the end of the course. It is the ergonomic evaluation report.

Provide an ergonomic workplace.

This doesn't automatically mean expensive. Changes in configuration or alterations to existing equipment and behaviors are often viable options. UCSD's purchasing contracts ensure a variety of well-priced furniture and products.

Build task rotation into the job.

Allow employees engaged in highly repetitive tasks the opportunity for frequent, short, alternative work activities and breaks.
  • Have employees periodically alternate tasks during the day so no single group of muscles is overtaxed by constantly repeating the same motion.

    For example: Encourage an employee who has been keyboarding for an hour to perform other tasks such as filing, copying, or returning phone calls. Task rotation uses different muscle groups, giving over-worked parts time to rest.

  • Encourage employees who sit for long periods of time to periodically get up and move!
  • Encourage employees to take lunch breaks away from their desks or primary workplaces.

Respond to employee concerns.

Early intervention is key to preventing or minimizing injury.

Get ergonomic training

Report possible injury

  • Encourage employees to report any symptoms associated with repetitive motion or strain as early as possible.
  • Promptly report all employee injuries or complaints regarding repetitive motion injury symptoms to the Workers' Compensation Office. For details, see How to Report a Work-Related Injury.

Additional assistance

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Notice: Ergonomics information, training, and services are intended exclusively for UC San Diego employees and affiliates.