Ergonomics

Ergonomics is derived from the Greek words ergon (meaning work) and nomoi (meaning natural laws).  It is the science of how people interact with their work environment.   In application, ergonomics is a discipline focused on making products and tasks comfortable for the user.  Ergonomic stressors in our modern, computer-driven office environments can lead to ergonomic-related injuries of the wrist, shoulder, neck and back if proper care isn't taken to ensure a proper set-up of work-stations. 

How do I schedule an ergonomic assessment of my work area?

The Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Department will conduct and ergonomic assessment for San Francisco State University (SFSU) employees.  To schedule an assessment, contact the EHS Department.  Click on our e-mail address, sfehs@sfsu.edu to launch your e-mail program, or call us at 415.338.2565.

Please note, faculty and staff with permanent disabilities are encouraged to contact the Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC).  SF State provides qualified individuals with disabilities with reasonable accommodations through DPRC.  E-mail austinev@sfsu.edu, phone 415-338-2377.

It is the responsibility of the department and/or college to purchase equipment recommended as the result of an EHS ergonomic assessment.  To assist with this cost EHS offers matching funds.  

You can also conduct your own evaluation of your workstation by following the steps below:

(This file, Checklist for a User Friendly Workstation, can also be viewed or downloaded and printed.  Click on the following link:  Checklist for a User Friendly Workstation.  If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it by clicking the Adobe Acrobat Reader icon.  Download Adobe Reader 

Checklist for a User-Friendly Workstation:  

Sitting position is an important factor in keeping your body aligned properly to minimize stress on your back and muscles.  Leaning back slightly into your chair's back rest relaxes your back muscles and promotes blood circulation.  Leaning back too far however, can result in an awkward neck posture.

  1. Eye Level:  The top of the screen should be at eye level; lower for bifocal wearers.  Screen distance at arm's length (18-36").
  2. Document Holder:  Centered between monitor and keyboard or next to the screen.
  3. Chair Backrest:  Provides firm lower back support.  The chair backrest and seat should be easily adjustable for height and tilt by the user.
  4. Keyboard and Mouse:  Keyboard height promotes relaxed arms with forearms parallel to the floor.  If you use a mouse or other pointing device, it should be placed next to the keyboard.
  5. Wrist Position:  Straight (neutral).  Wrist Rest - Padded, moveable wrist rest, same height as the front of the keyboard.  (Do not use a wrist rest while keying).
  6. Knee Position:  Knees should be at or below hip level.  Provide ample legroom under your work surface.
  7. Feet Position:  Feet should rest firmly on the floor or foot rest.

Checklist for a user friendly workstation.  Information contained is provided above this image.