Industrial Ergonomic Evaluation Details

Industrial (or non-office) ergonomic evaluations encompass evaluating exposure to injury risk factors employees may face when performing work outside of the office/computer environment. This includes but is not limited to tasks such as those listed below:

  • Laboratory (pipetting, microscope, fume hood, glove box)
  • Custodial (cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming)
  • Food service & preparation
  • Trades (mechanics, plumbers)
  • Animal handling and care
  • Manual materials handling (MMH) tasks

Click below for additional information on the types of evaluations offered and to contact the ergonomics program manager with questions.

Level 1 (Concise) –

An ergonomic specialist will visit the job site and provide a concise/brief ergonomics risk assessment (ERA) of a job and related tasks. This can be all tasks or a particular task performed within a job. Whether the task or tasks were reported as difficult/concerning, were identified as problematic through analysis of prior injuries, through submission of questionnaires, or symptom surveys the task(s) will be evaluated for ergonomic risk.

Shorter, more concise and qualitative methods to identify if there is an increased ergonomic risk will be utilized in the Level 1 evaluation. This will help the ergonomics team determine if further more detailed and comprehensive ergonomic risk evaluation (Level 2) is warranted. If during a Level 1 evaluation, a higher concern and risk for injury is identified, a Level 2 evaluation will likely follow to quantify the risk and determine a starting point for action. A level 1 evaluation may be a starting point for the ergonomics team in order to determine the amount or level of risk present in a job or if there is uncertainty by a requesting supervisor or employee when initially requesting an evaluation. This type of evaluation may also be used as part of training with a potential employee/supervisor ergonomics team. Although an employee, supervisor, or department may request a Level 1 evaluation, it may be necessary for a Level 2 evaluation to follow if the job tasks performed, workstation layout and design, etc. warrants such an evaluation. This will need to be determined by an ergonomic specialist during the evaluation process.

A Level 1 evaluation helps determine if there is a problem and a Level 2 evaluation helps determine how big a problem there is and where to begin making changes.

It is not required to have a Level 1 evaluation prior to requesting a Level 2 evaluation. Complete an Industrial Ergonomic Evaluation request.

Level 2 (Comprehensive) –

An ergonomic specialist will visit the job site and provide a detailed ergonomics risk assessment (ERA) of a job and related tasks. An evaluation may be of a single task or multiple tasks performed within a job. This varies by situation. Whether the task or tasks were reported as difficult/concerning, were identified as problematic through analysis of prior injuries, due to a report of injury through the workers’ compensation system, through submission of questionnaires, symptom surveys or during a Level 1 evaluation,  task(s) will be evaluated for ergonomic risk as needed.

Comprehensive and quantitative methods to identify the level of ergonomic risk will be mostly utilized in a Level 2 evaluation. (Although some subjective and qualitative measures may also be used). By quantifying the risk for injury, both the ergonomics team and department will understand where risk is present, the level/amount of risk, and tasks that should be given the highest priority for mitigation of risk. (Job tasks with the highest risk should be given a greater focus).

Prior to the ergonomic risk assessment (ERA), the ergonomics specialist may want to meet with and interview managers, supervisors and/or employees to ask questions about the job, review history of injuries, obtain additional information about the job, its physical demands and requirements, problematic, concerning and/or difficult tasks, known risk factors, etc. After this interview is completed, the ERA will take place. This may be on the same day as the interview or on another scheduled day entirely. The ERA process can be lengthy and can take several hours and potentially several days. This depends on the number, nature, and complexity of the job and its tasks.

The actual ergonomic risk assessment (ERA) involves employees performing regular work tasks in real-time in order for the ergonomics specialist to observe tasks as they are performed and for data collection to take place. During this time, the ergonomic specialist will observe the employee performing regular job 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 increases the risk for injury.

Although the ergonomics specialist needs to see tasks performed in real-time, questions about the tasks, forces, postures, etc. may arise and will be asked when necessary. Employees simply need to answer questions honestly. In order to perform a thorough and accurate ERA, the ergonomics specialist needs to understand the job and its requirements as best they can.

To complete the ERA, the ergonomics specialist will need to obtain both photos and videos. This allows the ergonomic specialist to document posture, frequency and duration, equipment dimensions, and overall work processes performed. Photos/videos are used only for the ERA process and potentially, for training purposes. Photos/video will also be used for the ERA report which will be kept on file at CSU. (In the case of a report of a work-related of injury, photos/video will also be provided to the Authorized Treating Physician (ATP) as well as CSU’s insurance company as part of the ERA report). A photo release form will be given to the employee(s) within photos/videos for signature if the ergonomic specialist would like to use the photos taken in a future training session. If the photo release is not signed, photos will not be used for training and will only appear in the evaluation report. Please inform all employees that an ergonomics specialist will be coming by, the reason for the evaluation and that a camera will be used.

In cases of a work-related injury, if the injured employee cannot perform their normal job tasks (i.e. due to restrictions given by a physician), a willing co-worker can fill in. However, this individual would need to be okay with being observed for several hours, videotaped, etc.

Along with observation, photos and videos, multiple measurements during the evaluation will be taken which include but are not limited to grip force, weight lifted, the force to push/pull, reach distances, heights, etc. These measurements are all necessary to further analyze and assess a job and related tasks for ergonomic risk. Environmental factors such as lighting and noise (where applicable) will also be evaluated.

Please contact the ergonomics manager with questions.

Complete an Industrial Ergonomic Evaluation request

Contact CSU Ergonomics
(970) 491-2724