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Ergonomic Workplace Guidelines

Department Responsibilities

In collaboration with Risk Management Services (RMS), Departments are responsible for helping create safe and healthy work environments. In addition to purchasing the appropriate office supplies and technology that employees need to do their jobs (e.g. paper, computers, telephones), departments should provide furniture and equipment, such as desks, chairs, and keyboards, that are ergonomically appropriate. Providing ergonomically appropriate furniture and equipment helps prevent costly workplace injuries and absenteeism, and is beneficial for employee productivity and morale. RMS provides training and guidance to departments on ergonomics, as well as individual workstation evaluations for employees.

Supervisor Responsibilities

Supervisors should ensure that employees have workspaces that are safe and healthy. To ensure that furniture and equipment are ergonomically appropriate for a new employee, supervisors may contact RMS in advance of the employee’s start date to set up a workstation evaluation with RMS staff for when the employee starts his/her first day of work. RMS also conducts workstation evaluations for existing employees.

If an employee raises a concern about the ergonomic correctness of his or her work station, a supervisor should contact RMS to set up a workstation evaluation as soon as possible. If an ineffective or unsafe workstation causes an employee injury, that injury must be reported to RMS and a worker’s compensation claim may need to be initiated. For more information, visit http://risk.arizona.edu/insurance/workerscomp.shtml.

Employee Responsibilities

Employees should notify their supervisors if they have ergonomic-related concerns about their workstations. Information about ergonomic risk factors is available on the RMS website: http://risk.arizona.edu/healthandsafety/ergonomics.shtml. Employees should follow guidance from RMS on how to minimize any risks.

Employees with disabilities, including most employees with long-term health conditions, may contact the Disability Resource Center at (520) 621-3268 to request reasonable accommodations related to their workstations. In most cases, an RMS workstation evaluation will be conducted as part of this process. If the employee makes a request that falls within the standard furniture and equipment a department has the responsibility to provide, the DRC will facilitate the accommodation, but the department will be responsible for the cost.  Information on the University’s interactive process for requesting disability-related reasonable accommodations can be found on the Interactive Process page.

Risk Management Service’s Role

RMS coordinates the University's overall risk management efforts, including occupational health and safety. RMS conducts workstation evaluations and makes recommendations to departments and employees about how to minimize ergonomic risk factors. In some cases, RMS may recommend that a department purchase particular furniture or equipment for an employee, such as a keyboard tray or new desk chair. In other cases, adjustments to existing chairs or equipment may be sufficient. RMS also serves as the University's liaison to the State Risk Management Division for Worker's Compensation issues, and provides an online portal for reporting injuries and initiation of claims.

Disability Resource Center’s (DRC) Role

The DRC arranges reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, including most employees with long-term health conditions. Although the primary responsibility for providing ergonomically appropriate workstations lies with departments, employees who would like to request a reasonable accommodation related to their workstations should contact the DRC at (520) 621-3268. In most cases, the DRC will request that RMS conduct a workstation evaluation as part of this process. If the employee makes a request that falls within the standard furniture and equipment a department has the responsibility to provide, the DRC will facilitate the accommodation, but the department will be responsible for the cost. Information on the University’s interactive process for requesting disability-related reasonable accommodations can be found in Information for Employees and/or Information for Supervisors.