Ergonomics and the UC
Berkeley Campus
Mallory Lynch, MA, CEA
Ergonomics Specialist
April 26, 2006
What is Ergonomics?
 It is the science of fitting the job, tool or task
to the individual
Risk Factors
Awkward Posture
Contact Stress
 The majority of the ergonomics injuries on our campus are
related to working on the computer; however, the
departments with the highest injury rates have job tasks
that are non-computer related.
 The Ergonomics Task Force is an interdisciplinary group
with members from Capital Projects (Architects), Disability
Management Services, Environmental Health and Safety,
Ergonomics@Work, Human Resources, Occupational
Medicine, Physical Therapy and Procurement and
Business Contracts. They work together to develop
strategies to help with ergonomic challenges on the
 They use different ergonomics tools to understand the
problems and develop solutions.
Ergonomics Tools
Americans with Disabilities Act
Anthropometric Data
Architectural Graphic Design Guide
Ergonomics Job Analysis
Focus Groups
Mock ups
Personal Interviews
Pilot Programs
Video taping
Job Hazard Analysis Tools
 Snook Push/Pull/Lift/Lower/Carry Hazard Tables
 Washington State Checklist
 Rapid Upper Limb Assessment - RULA
 Rapid Entire Body Assessment - REBA
 Job Strain Index
 National Institute of Safety and Health -NIOSH Lifting
Guide (Manual Material Handling)
 American Conference of Governmental Industrial
Hygienists Hand Activity Level and Threshold Limit
Case #1: Physical Plant
 Injury data showed high rate of ergonomic injuries for
custodians, including low back, neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist and
Job tasks were specific to trash and recycle functions
These tasks included collecting trash and recycle separately
and also throwing filled plastic bags into outside garbage bins
Met with department management for review of data
Personal interviews with supervisors and staff and job task
analysis of specific trash and recycle tasks
Developed recommendations
Pilot program for feasibility of interventions
Trash and Recycle Containers
 Pulling one container and
pushing another container
are unsafe. This contributes
to using awkward postures
with the arms and back.
 Tying two containers
together and pulling them is
unsafe because it places
stress on the shoulder and
back. In addition, the
containers take more effort
to maneuver.
A New Option for Staff
 Psychophysical data from
RULA tool adjusts for awkward
shoulder positions
Snook tables, 1991 – push
versus pulling
Product identified and
department provided samples
for staff to test
The Rubbermaid Tandem Brute
Dolly is a safer alternative
because it offers a way to push
both containers. In addition, the
dolly takes less effort to
maneuver in narrow spaces and
on uneven terrain.
Placing Filled Bags into Outside
Garbage Bins
 Trash and recycle collected and
placed in larger trash bags to
be emptied into the outside
Staff transport filled bags down
the stairs or in the Brute Dollies
Outside dumpsters are 48
inches tall and cannot be
modified because the campus
uses rear loading trucks to
collect and dump the
Majority of staff reach above
shoulder height to place bags
into the bins
Weight of bags vary 15-50
Challenges with Existing Design
 Staff need to grasp the bag near the top to
properly throw bag to reduce being cut;
consequently, the existing design requires
the majority of the staff to frequently raise the
bags above shoulder height when placing
them into the dumpsters. (Anthropometric
 Department has job lifting requirement of 50
pounds, which is too much for this job task
(Snook Tables 1991)
Establishing Better Standards
 Set up standards for staff to
tie off bags at weight limits
that felt comfortable for them
but not to exceed 25 pounds
(Snook Tables 1991)
 Provided training for staff to
practice new techniques and
understand weight limit
(handouts in 5 languages)
Campus Departments Working
Together as a Team
Ergonomic Design For
People; Eastman Kodak
Snook Pull Table, 1991
Design for the Smallest Population
Design for the Smallest Population
 Access to the top of outside garbage can
should not exceed 36 inches.
 The previous design showed a 24 inch
concrete ramp around the back of the
garbage bins to raise the worker up higher.
Physical Plant
Questions or comments
regarding Case #1
Case #2: Reception Counters at
University Health Services
 Reception counters built
using architectural
graphic standards.
 Transaction counter (24
in. L x 12 in. D x 42 in.
 Cookson fire doors
close at night
 ADA accessibility
Reception Counters
 Built in counters for staff (90
in. L x 24 in. D x 30 in. H)
 Reaching up and forward to
 Numerous injuries to neck
and shoulder
 With a remodel:
 what tools would you use
to help understand the
risk factors?
 how would you decrease
the reach and provide for
more adjustability?
American with Disabilities Act
Anthropometric Data
Architectural Graphic Design Guide
Ergonomics Job Analysis
 Washington State Checklist
Focus Groups
Mock ups
Personal Interviews
Working with table manufacturers
Adjustable workstations
 Take out the built-in
 Provide two height
adjustable tables having
a shallower depth
 Place the computers in
the corner area to
provide more desk
space around the
Modified the Transaction Counter
 Change the transaction
counter to position the
client closer to the
 Relocate the ADA table
and change the sign in
practice to make it a
universal design.
Reduced the Reach
 Change the transaction
counter to position the
client closer to the
Mock Up To Give Visual
 Creates staff buy-in
 Identifies potential
improvements to
proposed design
 Finished product
Reception Counter
Questions or comments
regarding Case #2
Case #3: Campus Dining
 New dining facility opened in 1/2003
 Serve between 900-1307 lunches and 1500-
2500 dinners/day
 9 ergonomic injuries have occurred in the
dish room since the opening
 Met with managers, supervisors and staff to
better understand the different tasks
Dish room
 5 tier tray conveyor
 3 stations to break down
 Trough at station 1 is 12
inches wide
 Trough at station 2 is 24
inches wide
 Trough at station 3 is 24
inches wide
 2 trays can fit in each tiered
 Dish machine runs parallel to
tray conveyor
Tray Conveyor
 Key issues identified in
the area included:
Excessive reaching to
grab trays and items
on the trayveyor
Frequent lifting and
carrying filled racks
Staff shortages
Limited area to stage
the dirty dishes
Quick Fix Recommendations
 Unbolt the top tray on the
conveyor to eliminate
reaching above shoulder
Block part of the next section
so only one tray can fit in the
Consider going back to using
larger trays so only one can
fit on each level
Position shorter staff at
stations with least amount of
reach to conveyor
Provide more staff
 4 out of the 9 ergonomic injuries
happened while lifting and
carrying heavy racks of
silverware and from repetitive
handling of the silverware.
 The silverware goes through the
machine 3 times. Staff sort the
clean silverware after the first
time through and put like
utensils in containers. These
containers are placed in racks.
Quick Fix Recommendations
 Staff should reduce the
amount of dirty
silverware they place in
the full rack or
 Provide half size
silverware racks
 Weight should not
exceed 10 pounds to
make it easier for the
staff to transport
More Quick Fixes
 Reduce the weight by only
placing eight filled utensil
containers in the rack that
has 16 slots.
 Place several empty racks
on the cart to raise the
overall working height of
sorting utensils.
 Use a small cart to transport
the racks to and from the
dish machine.
Long Term Recommendations
 Design of dish room is too small for volume of meals
 Dish room needs to be remodeled
 Hire a dish room consultant
 Get input from dish room staff
 Provide ergonomic input throughout all phases of the
 Study University of Iowa design
 2 single level tray conveyors and six separate stations
to break the trays down.
 Ample storage and areas to stage dirty dishes
Campus Dining
Questions or comments
regarding Case #3
How do we make sure the design is
functional for the application?
 Engineers, architects, designers, ergonomists, managers, supervisors
and employees should be involved from the beginning.
Hold focus groups to best understand any issues the departments are
having with their existing design.
Work simulation and workstation/equipment guidelines
Develop functional design guidelines that work for the different
Universal design
Equitable use
Flexibility in use
Simple and intuitive use
Low physical effort
Perceptible information
Tolerance for error

Ergonomics at Cal