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USDA TARGET Center Presents Ergo U!. ERGONOMICS. The science of fitting the job to the worker. The study of designing equipment to reduce fatigue, discomfort and injury. Allows the worker to feel comfortable, healthy and more productive at work. What You Will Learn.

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  • The science of fitting the job to the worker.
  • The study of designing equipment to reduce fatigue, discomfort and injury.
  • Allows the worker to feel comfortable, healthy and more productive at work.
what you will learn
What You Will Learn
  • Ergonomic techniques that will reduce your risk for repetitive stress injury.
  • How to properly set up your work space.
  • Exercises you can do at the workplace.
  • How to obtain reasonable accommodations.
ergonomic program benefits
Ergonomic Program Benefits
  • Reduce Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs).
  • Decrease worker’s compensation costs and absenteeism.
  • Increase worker productivity and morale.
basic ergonomic principles
Basic Ergonomic Principles
  • Adjustable workplaces to accommodate to the needs of the individual.
  • Maintaining good posture and neutral positions.
  • Incorporating mini-breaks and task variety into your workday.
  • Maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle.
incidence of workplace injuries
Incidence of Workplace Injuries
  • An estimated $15 billion is spent yearly on ergonomically related injuries.
  • The USDA spent $3,187,566 on CTS in 1996 alone.
repetitive strain injury rsi
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
  • Also known as Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD) and work musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD)
  • Defined by excessive wear and tear on the body caused by continuous use over time without adequate rest.
repetitive strain injury rsi1
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
  • RSI causes damage to tendons, nerves, muscles, and connective tissue primarily in the arms, hands, neck, and back.
  • You can help prevent RSIs with knowledge and practicing healthy work habits.
risk factors for repetitive strain injuries rsis
Risk Factors for Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs)
  • Performing one task for more than 4 hours a day.
  • Maintaining a static, awkward position or performing forceful, repetitive tasks.
  • Sedentary lifestyle, smoking, & obesity.
  • Job dissatisfaction, stress, and depression.
repetitive strain injury rsi causes
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Causes
  • Awkward Postures
  • Vibrations
  • Force
  • Repetitive Tasks
  • Inadequate rest or infrequent breaks.
awkward postures
Overhead reaching

Bending at the back


Outstretching arms or legs

Turning neck


Crouching shoulders


Keeping wrists bent

Awkward Postures
physical symptoms of repetitive strain injuries



Cold hands or feet

Unexplained fatigue

Muscle weakness

Loss of function

Nocturnal wakening due to pain


Physical Symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injuries
typical symptoms of carpel tunnel syndrome
Typical Symptoms ofCarpel Tunnel Syndrome
  • Numbness in fingers and forearm.
  • Tingling in hand, especially thumb.
  • Aching and burning sensation.
  • Hand falling asleep frequently.
  • Frequently dropping items.
  • Shoulder or forearm pain.
avoiding carpel tunnel syndrome
Avoiding Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
  • Keep hands and wrists relaxed and in a neutral position by adjusting keyboardheight and angle.
  • Align wrists with the forearm and keep arms at 90 degrees.
  • Keep keyboard low. Consider anadjustable keyboard tray.
avoiding carpel tunnel syndrome1
Avoiding Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
  • Place mouse next to keyboard to avoid stretching arm to reach.
  • Rest hands on lap when not typing or using mouse.
  • Consider Voice Recognition Software and other adaptive strategies.
avoiding back neck and shoulder pain
Avoiding Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain
  • Adjust chair to support lower back curve.
  • Sit with buttocks in back of chair rather than the edge to maximize back support.
  • Shorten seat pan or move forward the backrest so there is no pressure behind the knees.
avoiding back neck and shoulder pain1
Avoiding Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain
  • Get up and stretch every half hour.
  • Vary your chair adjustments throughout the day.
  • Roll shoulders and neck during the day.
  • Keep arms at 90 degree angle when typing.
avoiding back neck and shoulder pain2
Avoiding Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain
  • Avoid twisting, bending, and heavy lifting.
  • Move entire body rather than just neck. Remember your eyes move independently from your neck.
  • Don’t rest phone on neck.
  • Do not bend at the waist, use your quads.
avoiding back and leg pain
Avoiding Back and Leg Pain
  • Lower chair or use footrest to avoid feet from dangling.
  • Don’t keep legs propped up in a straight position under your desk.
  • Minimize slouching and excessive arching.
  • Stretch legs and stand up every 30 minutes.
causes of eye strain
Causes of Eye Strain
  • Viewing computer screen for extended periods of time without a break.
  • Dusty screen or anti glare filter.
  • Computer screen more than an arm’s length away from user.
  • Bright, fluorescent lighting, or poor natural light.
preventing eye strain
Preventing Eye Strain
  • Blink hard periodically and move eyes side to side to keep eyes moist.
  • Vary tasks so you take breaks from looking at computer.
  • Close blinds if there is a glare on computer screen.
preventing eye strain1
Preventing Eye Strain
  • Place document holder in comfortable position to prevent shifting focus.
  • Consider an anti-glare filter.
  • Keep computer screen clean and an arm’s distance away.
controlling stress
Controlling Stress
  • See tech delays as opportunities to catch up, not as hassles.
  • When waiting for a download, take a deep breath and close eyes.
  • Maintain a balanced perspective.
controlling stress1
Controlling Stress
  • Provide input at work. Be assertive, not aggressive or submissive.
  • Keep a log of daily events and stress level.
  • Find where your body carries stress.
  • Exercise!
general advice to avoid injury
General Advice to Avoid Injury
  • Listen to your body! If it hurts, don’t do it.
  • Use larger muscles for repetitive tasks.
  • Maintain an active life outside of work.
  • Exercise and keep a good weight.
  • Get regular check-ups and eye exams.
  • Give yourself time to change work habits.
general advice to avoid injury1
General Advice to Avoid Injury
  • Maintain a healthy perspective and positive attitude.
  • Keep visual reminders to self on ergonomic principles and techniques.
  • Recognize symptoms early and act!
  • See a doctor, don’t treat yourself
reasonable accommodations
Reasonable Accommodations
  • “An employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified, disabled employees unless doing so would cause undue hardship.”
  • This includes: job restructuring, acquiring or modifying equipment, and reassignment.
reasonable accommodations1
Reasonable Accommodations
  • An employer does not have to eliminate an essential function of the job.
  • An employer does nothave to purchase equipment requested if an equally effective alternative found.
  • Only employees with a documented disability are covered by the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.
reasonable accommodations2
Reasonable Accommodations
  • USDA policy: “When in doubt, accommodate!”
  • Early accommodations can prevent disability and increase productivity.
  • 59.6% of accommodations cost $100 or less. Only 6% cost over $1,000.*
  • Accommodations can be made at no cost.
steps for determining reasonable accommodation
Steps for Determining Reasonable Accommodation
  • Consult with person requesting help.
  • Identify possibilities for accommodating.
  • Obtain technical assistance, if needed.
  • Determine job needs and alternatives.
  • Implement most effective accommodation.
  • Periodically review effectiveness.
central funding
Central Funding
  • There is help available to purchase RA.
  • Each mission area is required to establish a central fund to purchase reasonable accommodations for people w/ disabilities.
  • Contact your DEPM or TARGET Center to find out more on central funding.
target center www usda gov oo target htm
  • Provides education & demonstrations of assistive technology and ergonomics.
ergonomic resources
Ergonomic Resources
general resources
General Resources
  • USDA TARGET Center
    • (202)720-2600 or www.usdagov/oo/target.htm
  • Job Accommodations Network
    • 1-800-232-9675 or
  • Disability and Federal Government