Office Ergonomic Evaluation Details
Office Ergonomic Evaluations
Office Ergonomic Evaluations involve an ergonomic specialist visiting an employees office to evaluate the workstation and work environment, posture, equipment and tools used (e.g. table, chair, keyboard, mouse, etc.). The evaluation will encompass a review and observation of tasks commonly performed in the office environment including but not limited to, computer work (typing and using a mouse), data entry, filing, scanning, stapling, and general paperwork.
Injury risk factors (which are the primary cause of pain, discomfort, and injury) include but are not limited to, awkward postures, force, repetition, duration, and contact stress. The identification of injury risk factors (or root causes of injury) is the foundation of an ergonomic evaluation.
After the ergonomics specialist completes the evaluation and identifies any risk factors present, recommendations will be provided to the employee to help minimize the exposure to injury risk factors and decrease the likelihood of injury. This might include making behavioral changes such as changes to posture, minimizing reach by pulling items closer to the body, properly adjusting existing equipment or purchasing new equipment such as a chair, keyboard, or height adjustable table. Additional details are below.
Virtual/Remote Office Ergonomic Evaluation
As the number of employees working from home increases, so does the risk for pain and discomfort due to poor workstation setup. Many of us do not have the same workstation setup at home that we have in our typical offices. A computer workstation at home may surround a laptop computer on a couch, bed, or kitchen table. As comfortable as these options may sound, using an improper workstation set up for an extended duration can cause awkward posture which can increase the risk for ergonomic-related injuries (or musculoskeletal disorders such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome). It is important to set up your workstation as best you can to prevent injury regardless of where you might work.
As you attempt to set up your workstation at home, keep in mind that the Risk Management & Insurance Ergonomics Team is here to help and can provide remote/virtual evaluations. Our ergonomics specialists will work to identify and eliminate the causes of discomfort and help you set up your workstation, without ever having to set foot in your home.
Ergonomic Evaluation Types
Two types of office ergonomic evaluations are currently offered and differ by the amount of detail provided. If you are unsure which evaluation is appropriate for you, select Level 2 – Comprehensive Evaluation.
Level 1 Ergonomic Evaluation
A Level 1 Ergonomic Evaluation is a qualitative evaluation that takes about 10 to 30 minutes. The employee is observed and evaluated while performing regular work for about 2 – 5 minutes. The Ergonomist will likely take pictures and will generate a basic report for the employee. For a more detailed report that includes Risks, Injury Risk Scores, and Injuries broken down by body type, request a Level 2 Ergonomic Evaluation.
An ergonomic specialist will visit the requesting employee’s work site and provide a concise ergonomic evaluation of the employee’s workstation.
This level of evaluation is brief in nature and involves the ergonomic specialist obtaining only very brief information from the employee regarding their work environment. Identification of injury risk factors is not comprehensive in this level of evaluation. Only a general discussion regarding potential concerns and potential recommendations will take place.
Following the evaluation, a brief report indicating identified concerns along with potential recommendations will be provided.
This level of evaluation can be requested if an employee does not wish to have a detailed/comprehensive evaluation and would like a less detailed analysis of their workstation.
This type of evaluation may be useful for employees who have had an ergonomic evaluation of the same workstation in the past, have good ergonomic equipment including but not limited to: a height adjustable table, ergonomic chair, and monitor arm, have attended formal Office Ergonomics Training, is confident their workstation is well setup ergonomically and just need help with minor changes or would like a consultation regarding furniture options, height adjustable table implementation, general workstation setup, chair adjustments, etc.
Overall time = 10-30 minutes (approximately)
It is not required to have a Level 1 evaluation prior to requesting a Level 2 evaluation. Fill out an Office Ergonomic Evaluation Questionnaire.
Level 2 Ergonomic Evaluation
A Level 2 Ergonomic Evaluation is a quantitative evaluation that takes between 30 and 60 minutes. The employee is observed and evaluated while performing regular work for about 5 – 30 minutes. The Ergonomist will take pictures and will generate a report that details the risks for injury, injury risk scores, and injuries broken down by body part by will detailing the problems identified and recommendations for improvement.
An ergonomic specialist will visit the requesting employee’s work site and provide a detailed ergonomic evaluation of the employee’s workstation and work environment.
At the onset of the evaluation, the ergonomic specialist will speak with the employee and ask additional questions not addressed in the ergonomic evaluation questionnaire/form completed by the employee. Thereafter, the specialist will ask the employee to perform regular work tasks in order for observation and data collection to take place. During this time, the ergonomic specialist will observe the employee performing regular office tasks to identify, evaluate and record exposure to ergonomic injury risk factors which include but are not limited to force, frequency, duration, awkward posture and contact stress. (Exposure to these injury risks for extended durations increase the risk for injury).
Along with identifying injury risk factors, appropriate measurements including workstation height, clearances, reach distance and viewing distance will also be obtained (as needed). Environmental factors such as lighting and noise (where applicable) will also be evaluated.
*During the observation period, pictures and/or video of the job tasks performed will be taken (unless the employee prefers otherwise). This allows the ergonomic specialist to document postures, equipment used and work performed. Pictures are also used in the ergonomic evaluation report unless noted otherwise. Observation and evaluation of work performed lasts anywhere from 5-30 minutes on average. (Observation times will vary depending on the situation and job tasks performed. In cases where the ergonomic evaluation is due to a work-related injury, the observation time will exceed 30 minutes and may exceed 60 minutes).
Using the data and information collected, the ergonomic specialist will conclude the observation and evaluation by discussing the evaluation report, injury risk factors identified, injury risk scores, etc. as well as discuss the potential solutions which will help minimize risk.
A detailed report indicating risk factors identified, ergonomic injury risk scores, methods to eliminate or control injury risk exposures and specific recommendations are provided as part of the Level 2 evaluation.
The Level 2 evaluation can be requested in place of a Level 1 ergonomic evaluation if an employee wishes to have a more detailed and comprehensive evaluation of their workstation. This type of evaluation is useful for employees who have had a Level 1 evaluation and need additional assistance, or if an employee simply wishes to have a more detailed overview of their workstation.
A Level 2 evaluation is recommended for employees uncertain of which evaluation to request as it will cover each aspect of the workstation setup in detail and help ensure injury risks are minimized as much as possible. A Level 2 evaluation is also required in most cases where a work-related injury has taken place and the employee’s physician has requested an ergonomic evaluation be completed.
Overall time = 30-60 minutes (approximately).
*As mentioned above, along with observation, the ergonomics specialist will take photos/videos of the employee performing regular office tasks. Photos are extremely valuable in documenting and illustrating an identified injury risk factor, the workstation setup, and work environment for future reference as well as to provide the employee and/or supervisor education and awareness. Photos will only be used by the ergonomic specialist and will be included in the ergonomic evaluation report. At the minimum, a photo of the desk, chair, etc. will be taken. Photos will not be used for other purposes unless prior consent is granted. (For preventive evaluations, if pictures are not preferred, please notify the ergonomic specialist prior to the evaluation. For evaluations that are due to a work-related injury, pictures are required.)
Fill out an Office Ergonomic Evaluation Questionnaire.