Environmental Health & Safety

A Department in Facilities

WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY

Ergonomics



Ergonomics is the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population. Effective and successful “fits” assure high productivity, avoidance of illness and injury risks, and increased satisfaction among the workforce.


Static Computer Workstation Guidelines

If you spend a majority of your time at a computer workstation, here are some general guidelines to consider:

  • ❖ If you wear glasses or contacts, have a routine (annual) eye exam to make sure that eye strain is being reduced. Tell your eye doctor that you work in front of a VDT routinely, and need the appropriate lenses.
  • ❖ Place your monitor directly in front of you, and at a height that reduces head/neck tilting up or down. The monitor should be between 20-28 inches away depending upon your visual acuity.
  • ❖ Place the mouse and keyboard directly in front of you in a position that allows a 90 degree bend and relaxed shoulders during use. Many times an adjustable keyboard tray may need to be utilized to achieve the desired position.
  • ❖ Learn the fit adjustments available on your chair. Some features to look for include: seat back/pan adjustment, lumbar adjustment, and arm rest adjustment.
  • ❖ Keep your phone, or other frequently used items within close reach to avoid awkward work postures and reaching.
  • ❖ Take frequent breaks from typing to avoid repetitive trauma. Reduce static posture by getting up from the chair frequently to speak with colleagues.
  • ❖ If you use a sit-to-stand workstation, these guidelines still apply. In addition, there are also other considerations such as using a floor mat to reduce forces transferred to your feet.

Please review the images and video below for additional guidance.



Proper Lifting and Material Handeling Guidelines

Many jobs will require the occasional use of manual material handling to accomplish the task. If you spend any time at these type of tasks, here are some general guidelines to consider:

  • ❖ If possible limit the weight and size of the load by breaking the material into portions. It is not recommended that individuals lift > 50 lbs. regardless of their strength. Always test the load before lifting, and know the approximate weight of the load.
  • ❖ Use mechanical means to move the load whenever possible with (cart, forklift, wheels, etc.) Get help from a co-worker.
  • ❖ Never twist with a load! This is one of the more common ways that people can hurt themselves.
  • ❖ Exercise proper lifting technique: Approach directly in front of the load, Get close to the load, Bend with your knees and Use your legs to lift as you keep your back straight. Please see the two photos below!
  • ❖ Your “Power Zone” is between your waist and shoulders. Keep items at this level.
  • ❖ If you are a Supervisor, watch your work processes to identify potential lifting risk factors. Train your personnel in the safe lifting techniques to reduce injuries.

These guidelines are intended to give you some ideas on how to incorporate ergonomic principles into your daily work activities. We encourage you to contact the UNCG EH&S Department for an ergonomic consultation and review. If we all work together, we can reduce our exposure to ergonomic stressors and injuries!



More Help With Ergonomics

If you have a question about ergonomics, please contact: Todd Beck, todd_beck@uncg.edu, (336) 334-4357.

Indoor Air Quality



What to do About Indoor Air Quality at Your Work Space

Step 1
Complete an occupant interview form and send it via e-mail to safety@uncg.edu. In the body of your e-mail briefly describe where you work, your concerns, how to contact you and your supervisor.


Step 2
The Safety Office will contact your supervisor or department head to schedule a time for the Phase I assessment of your work environment. Please reference our Indoor Air Quality Program for an explanation of the different phases of investigation.


Step 3
Depending on the information obtained during the Phase I assessment, the investigation may be concluded or a Phase II assessment will be initiated. Your supervisor will be informed once an investigation is concluded or if Phase II assessment is needed.




Frequently Asked Questions


Why is dirt coming from the ventilation system?

Dust and debris impaction on a ceiling tile.

This photo shows dust and debris impaction on a ceiling tile near an air supply diffuser. You might think the dust and debris is coming from the exhaust duct, but it is more likely the dust and dirt is already in the room. The dirt that is suspended in the air is caught by the air coming from the diffuser and impacted on the ceiling tiles due to turbulent air currents. This type of cosmetic problem can be reduced by proper housekeeping and by preventing the entrainment of particulates into the building such as keeping doors and windows closed.


Is this mold on the ceiling?

A water stain on the ceiling.

This photo shows a water stain on a ceiling and wall from a previous water leak. This condition can provide a source of water for mold growth, but does not necessarily indicate there is mold present. Additional evaluation will need to be conducted to see if mold is growing on that surface or behind the wall. If the leak or water source is not removed, it could progress to a situation where mold growth is a problem.


Why shouldn't I block my supply vent to keep my area warmer?

A blocked supply vent.

Blocking the supply and return vents unbalances the HVAC system. You may be regulating the temperature in your immediate area, but you are also reducing the ventilation to the rest of the work environment, which could affect others in the space served by that HVAC system.


Is this mold?

Not mold.

Although it looks like mold, it could be alkaline deposits from minerals in the soil or building materials. Depending on the mineral content of the local water it could be minerals. It is very common to see what is referred to as effervesce on concrete walls and brick after those areas have been wet.


Should I use an ozone generator to clean the air in my office?

An ozone generator.

The US EPA has determined that ozone generators are ineffective in removing chemicals, dust, mold or other contaminants from the indoor environment. Ozone itself is considered an air containment that has a limit of 0.1 ppm. Ozone generators are not recommended for use in indoor environments.


Reporting Occupational Injuries



When an employee is injured, the primary concern will be to obtain proper medical treatment to effect a cure for the injury. If the injury is life threatening or requires emergency care, contact the University Police and they will in turn contact Greensboro Emergency Communications. If the injury is not life threatening, the employee must go to the Student Health Service in the Gove Health Center for treatment. When the Student Health Service is not operating, the employee may obtain medical care at a local emergency room or physician’s office.


Many of these forms are time sensitive. Every attempt shall be made to complete the forms within 24 hours at the latest. The Reporting of a Fatality, Amputation, Loss of Eye(s), or hospitalizations is extremely time sensitive. The Employee Incident Form should also be used to document a near miss. If the Employee is not available, the Supervisor must list the reason(s) for completing the form on their behalf.


Report all injuries immediately to employee's supervisor, the Workers' Compensation Administrator in Human Resources (336-334-5009) and the UNCG Depoartment of ENvironmental Health and Safety (336-334-4357).



The UNCG HR Department administers the Workers' Compensation program for the University. More information can be found on the HRS WC page