Office of Environmental Health
Fire and Occupational Safety
The word “ergonomics” is derived from the Greek words ergos meaning "work"
and nomos meaning "laws"; therefore, we have the laws of work. Ergonomics
can be further defined as the design of the workplace, equipment, machine,
tool, product, environment, and system, taking into consideration human
physical, physiological, biomechanical, and psychological capabilities.
In other words, adjusting the task to the user, not forcing the user to
the task. With about 17,000 employees at VCU and MCVH, job duties range
from data entry to brain surgery to grounds keeping to patient transportation
to graphic design; the responsibilities of our employees are endless. Ergonomics
covers all aspects of a job, from the physical stresses it places on joints,
muscles, nerves, tendons, bones, to environmental factors which can effect
hearing, vision, and general comfort and health. Physical stressors include
repetitive motions such as those caused by typing or continual use of a
manual screwdriver. Other physical stressors could be tasks involving vibration
such as using a jackhammer, or tasks which involve using excessive force,
such as lifting boxes of heavy books. Working in an awkward position, such
as holding a telephone to your ear with your shoulder, can also cause problems.
Repetitive motions, vibration, excessive force, and awkward positions are
frequently linked to ergonomic disorders; however, the majority of "Cumulative
Trauma Disorders "(CTDs) or "Repetitive Strain Injuries" (RSIs), are caused
by repetitive motions that would not result in undue stress or harm if
only performed once.
With assistance from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at
Virginia Commonwealth University, application of simple ergonomic principles
defined within this site will greatly improve our work environment. The
ultimate goals of implementing ergonomic principles, besides healthy and
happy employees, are increased productivity, improved health and safety,
increased job satisfaction, increased work quality, lower employee turnover,
fewer lost work hours, and decreasing workers’ compensation claims.
about Ergonomics, please contact Amy
Last update : 10/4/10