Ergonomics is the study of the relationship between people, their work, and their physical work environment. The major goal of ergonomics is to optimize the work procedures and practices and the work environment to allow employees to perform at higher levels of efficiency while still maintaining their physical and mental well being.

The written program is available for inspection below, as well as additional resources like the Workstation Self Evaluation and Equipment and Accessory descriptions.  A physical copy can be requested through the department office.

Ergonomic Program at SDSU

Ergonomics is the study of the relationship between people, their work, and their physical work environment. Employees who perform repetitive motion tasks as part of their job duties are at risk for developing repetitive motion injuries if their workstation is not adjusted appropriately. This program shall address the procedures implemented at San Diego State University to minimize and prevent repetitive motion injuries. Adherence to these procedures shall reduce employees' risks of repetitive motion or other ergonomic related injuries. Program components include workstation evaluations, workplace training, and implementation of ergonomic control strategies.

The following are examples of exposures that have been associated with ergonomic injuries:

  • Typing for extended periods without a rest break
  • Using force when typing or gripping the pointing device
  • Working with awkward neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, or back postures
  • Remaining in the same position for a long time
  • Continuous pressure on a body part

The following are examples of symptoms of an ergonomic injury:

  • Reoccurring or continuous pain / discomfort
  • Redness and swelling
  • Limited range of motion
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Decreasing hand grip strength

The objectives of this program include:

  • Fit the workstation or job task to the individual performing the work task
  • Allow employees to perform at higher levels of efficiency while being comfortable
  • Increase employee awareness regarding repetitive motion injuries, ways to prevent repetitive motion injuries, and what to do if symptoms of a repetitive motion injury occur
  • Reduce costs to the University associated with ergonomic related injuries

The regulatory authority by which this standard is applied to the campus is cited in Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, General Industry Safety Orders, Section 5110 “Repetitive Motion Injuries.”

The scope of application of this policy is meant to apply to all employees at San Diego State University.

 It is the policy of San Diego State University that all employees will comply with the procedures in this document and in the Injury and Illness Prevention Program.

A summary of applicable definitions is provided below.

Ergonomics - The study of the relationship between people, the work they perform, and their physical work environment.

Repetitive Motion Injury - A physical disorder that develops from or is aggravated by the repetitive application of biomechanical stress to the musculoskeletal system without allowing for sufficient rest.

Musculoskeletal Disorder - An injury of the soft tissues of the upper extremity and lower extremity that is primarily caused or exacerbated by workplace factors such as sustained or repetitive exertions or awkward postures and manipulations.

Engineering Controls - These include changes to the workstation such as redesign.

Administrative Controls - These include changes such as increasing the number of brief stretch breaks without adjusting the actual workstation design.

Directors are responsible to:

  1. Ensure that this policy is applied throughout their department.

SDSU Employees are responsible to:

  1. Utilize the Computer Workstation Ergonomic Self-evaluation Survey.
  2. Inform their Manager or Supervisor when they have ergonomic questions or concerns.
  3. Adjust their workstation to fit their work needs.
  4. Vary work tasks throughout the work shift when feasible.
  5. Take frequent brief stretch breaks.
  6. Report symptoms of a repetitive motion injury to their supervisor.

 Managers and Supervisors are responsible to:

  1. Recognize ergonomic hazards and respond to reports of employee concerns within the department.
  2. Contact Environmental Health and Safety to request a workstation ergonomic evaluation or training.
  3. Allow and encourage employees to vary work tasks.
  4. Support and encourage brief stretch breaks.
  5. Provide effective engineering controls to reduce risk factors when recommended based on an ergonomic evaluation.
  6. Document repetitive motion injuries using a Supervisors’ Report of Work Related Accident/Illness Form and inform the Workers’ Compensation Manager.

Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) is responsible to:

  1. Prepare, develop, implement, maintain, and audit the written Ergonomics Program for SDSU.
  2. Issue and administer the ergonomics program.
  3. Implement training programs.
  4. Perform ergonomic evaluations for workstations including; assess the extent of ergonomic hazards, recommend feasible and effective engineering and administrative controls to reduce or eliminate repetitive motion injuries, and assist with selection of ergonomic products.
  5. Follow up on ergonomic injuries when informed by the Workers’ Compensation Manager.

Ergonomic Evaluations

Ergonomic evaluations allow for identification of improper workstation designs that can present risk factors including: repetition, force, and extreme postures. An ergonomic evaluation shall include but not be limited to assessment of equipment height, angles, distance, alignment of workstation, work environment, and specific tasks.

Ergonomic evaluations shall be performed by EH&S upon request by an employee’s manager or supervisor. EH&S shall provide written documentation to the employee and their supervisor including recommendations for eliminating or reducing the identified risk factors. Recommendations shall include adjustments to the current workstation and additional engineering and administrative controls.

Ergonomic Self-evaluation

A Computer Workstation Ergonomic Self-evaluation Survey is available for employees to access online to complete a self-assessment for potential ergonomic risk factors at their workstation. Information in this self evaluation includes specific guidelines for proper workstation design.

Employees are informed of this Ergonomics Program at the New Employee Orientation. The basic awareness information includes: an emphasis on reporting any discomfort or questions before an injury occurs so an ergonomic evaluation can be scheduled; exposures which have been associated with ergonomic injuries; symptoms of injuries caused by repetitive motion; the methods used to minimize ergonomic injuries at SDSU; and the importance of reporting symptoms and injuries to their supervisor.

 Ergonomic training can be requested by managers and supervisors for the employees in their department. This training shall include basic ergonomic recommendations for designing the workstation and manual material handling.


Audits of the written Ergonomic Program shall be performed by Environmental Health and Safety.


Audits of the written Ergonomic Program shall be performed annually.

All training, audit, and other records prepared in association with the Ergonomic Program shall be managed in accordance with the requirements of the San Diego State University Injury and Illness Prevention Program.

Ergonomic Equipment and Accessories

The following list includes but is not limited to ergonomic equipment and accessories that can be used for computer workstations.


Appropriate Use

Articulating Keyboard Tray

When desktop is too high for appropriate keyboard and/or mouse placement or when more distance from monitor is needed.

Monitor Riser(s) or Arm

When monitor needs to be raised.


When feet are not comfortably planted flat on floor and it is inconvenient to adjust seat height.

Document Holder

When working from reference documents.

Slant Board

When performing large levels of document review or writing.

Glare Filter

When overhead lighting causes glare onto the screen.

Wrist Rest

To provide a soft surface to rest hands while NOT keyboarding.

Seatback Cushion

When everything on your existing chair is fine except the back support.

Telephone Headset

When frequently talking on the telephone while typing and writing and using speakerphone is not a feasible option.