Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) currently account for one-third of all occupational injuries and illnesses reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by employers every year. These disorders constitute the largest job-related injury and illness problem in the United States today.  By adapting tasks, workstations, tools, and equipment to fit the worker, ergonomics seeks to reduce physical stress on a worker’s body and eliminate many potentially serious, disabling work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

UF has a commitment to provide a safe environment for its employees, students and guests. One element of this commitment is providing information, evaluation and consultation to reduce the risks of developing ergonomic injury.

Ergonomic Risk Factors

According to NIOSH, the three primary risk factors that cause MSDs are high force, awkward posture, and long duration or high frequency.  Increasing the combination or number of these risk factors increases the chance of employees developing discomfort, pain, and/or an MSD.

  • Posture – In neutral posture, the joints can absorb force more easily that in others. Awkward and extreme postures increase susceptibility to injury, as they may stress joint components and reduce or block blood flow.
  • Force – Gripping, pinching, pushing, pulling, and lifting objects place additional force on the body’s joints. Increasing these forces requires additional muscle exertion, and places greater loads on joints and connective tissues which can cause fatigue and may contribute to MSD when there is inadequate time for rest and recovery.
  • Frequency – Higher frequency of awkward postures and/or forces increases the potential for damage to a joint.

Request for Evaluations

If you feel you are experiencing discomfort due to the setup of your workstation, please try to adjust your workstation using the referenced Office Ergonomics guidelines found here.

If after attempting this self-help approach, you are still experiencing discomfort, please fill out the Ergonomic Self-Evaluation for Office Workers form. You will be contacted via e-mail or phone by an EH&S Coordinator.

Additional Resources:
Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSD’s)