Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Office of Management & Finance

Bureau of Internal Business Services

BIBS is the provider of central services for the City of Portland

Ergonomic Program - Background


City Risk LogoLoss Prevention

Risk Management, Portland, OR                                                                                    06/01/2016

Ergonomics is the science of the interaction between the worker, the work and the workplace. The ergonomic prescription for a healthy work environment integrates employee education with work site modifications. The employee is taught the use of natural positioning.  Using the knowledge, the employee can work with the evaluator to determine the best workstation layout. The best types of furniture and fixtures are chosen.  The goal is to enhance productivity at work and to help improve quality of life by preventing injury at work and at home.

Many job tasks in the City expose staff to the risk of ergonomic related injuries. These are commonly called Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)*.

The principles of this program apply to office workstations. They also apply to materials handling tasks. Bureaus are encouraged to use the information in this program to help minimize the potential for MSD injuries.

Ergonomics is the science of designing jobs, equipment and workplaces to fit workers.  This is accomplished by:

  1. Identifying work areas or practices that expose staff to the risk of ergonomic injury.
  2. Analyzing different ways to address the exposures.
  3. Designing work elements to minimize exposure:
    • tasks
    • work spaces
    • processes
    • controls
    • displays
    • tools
    • lighting
    • equipment
  4. Implementing the best plan to eliminate or reduce the exposure.
  5. Training and educating to ensure success:
    • How to monitor,
    • Adjust as needed and
    • Maintain property 

*Other terms are Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs), Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs), or Repetitive Injury Disorders (RIDs)