11.9 – Ergonomics

POLICY: It is the policy of Spoon River College to provide an Ergonomics Program to minimize occupational injuries and illnesses arising from ergonomic hazards.


This policy applies to all Spoon River College employees.


Ergonomics:  The science of adapting the job and workplace to the worker by designing tasks and tools which are within the worker’s capabilities and limitations.

Repetitive tasks: Activities involving sustained or repetitive musculoskeletal exertion with no opportunity for rest or recovery.


  1. Video terminals: Extensive tests conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) show that radiation from Video Display Terminals (VDT) or monitors, in normal operation, is well below existing governmental standards. The tests were conducted at a distance of 2 inches from the screen. As a result, because the radiation levels are extremely low, there is no appreciable radiation hazard to the operator, particularly at normal viewing distances (~18 inches).
  2. Individual compliance: Employees are responsible to follow ergonomics policies and work practices directed or recommended for ergonomics purposes.
  3. Training: All college employees will participate in ergonomics training.
  4. Workstation design: The Vice President will ensure the incorporation of ergonomics principles in work site construction or renovation planning. For this purpose, the workstation should be considered to include furniture, electronic and other tools, lighting, and other environmental features. Individual departments/offices are responsible for individual workstations, once established. Each job site should provide an appropriate fit between the worker, the technology, and the working environment. Employees should be empowered to share in the responsibility for the safety of their workplace with their supervisor or appropriate others.
  5. Job design: Supervisors are generally responsible for ensuring appropriate work methods. When considering an employee’s regular job assignment, both pace of work and job flow should be reviewed to avoid excessively repetitive work for any one employee and his/her specific position. When a supervisor reviews the job design of particular positions, they should consider:
    1. the types of repetitive tasks performed in an individual’s position.
    2. the job flow allowing on average of ten- to fifteen-minute alternative task breaks from repetitive tasks. As a general rule, time on repetitive tasks should not exceed two hours.
    3. communicate the appropriate job flow to the employee.
  6. Recommended guidelines to follow to increase your comfort: (Note: If you are already experiencing pain, have a current medical condition or have experienced other medical problems, seek advice from your doctor before beginning these stretches.)
    1. Computer Workstations:
      1. Top surface of the keyboard space bar is no higher than 2-1/2 inches above the workstation.
      2. Elbows at a 90 degree angle resting comfortably at side.
      3. Top of viewing screen is at or below eye level.
      4. Screen is about 18 inches from the operator’s eyes.
      5. Screen is tilted back ~10 to 20 degrees.
      6. No glare is on the screen.
      7. Images are clean, sharp, and easy to read.
      8. For text entry, the keyboard should be directly in front of the operator.
      9. For data entry, the keyboard should be directly in front of the operator’s keying hand.
    2. Body Position:
      1. Place document holder at the same height and distance from your eyes and the screen.
      2. Knees at a 90 degree angle or greater.
      3. Feet flat on the floor or supported by a footrest.
      4. Adjust chair to accommodate elbow position.
      5. Wrists flat over keyboard.
      6. Head directly over shoulders; shoulders relaxed.
      7. Lumbar back supported by chair back or cushion.
    3. Glare:
      1. Adjust contrast and brightness on screen.
      2. Position screen away from windows and overhead light.
      3. Tilt screen to reduce glare.
      4. Position lighting to reduce glare.
      5. Adjust window coverings to reduce glare from outside light.
    4. Exercises: No matter how comfortable your workstation is, sitting still for long periods of time can be tiring and stressful. Therefore, stretch occasionally and look away from your work. If possible, get up from your terminal and do other tasks. Try alternating different tasks throughout the workday if possible.  The following simple exercises are recommended throughout the day while working at your workstation for lengthy periods.
      1. Chin tuck (tuck chin toward chest).
      2. Neck rotation (turn head from side to side and look over each shoulder).
      3. Neck side bending (tilt head toward each shoulder. Left ear to left shoulder. Right ear to right shoulder).
      4. Chest stretch (pinch your shoulder blades together.) Wrist flexion/extension. (Hold arms in front of you. Bend wrists so fingers point up, then down).
      5. Finger stretch (make fist then extend fingers as far as possible).