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Ergonomics Program - Policy

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 Policy No. RMLP22

 Date: June 1, 2016

 Prepared by:  Loss Prevention Team




The City of Portland Ergonomic (Ergo) Program is designed to support a healthy work environment and prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Good ergo design helps reduce work injuries, increase job satisfaction, and improve productivity. The program provides ways to identify ergo risk factors and provide best work practices including engineering and administrative controls

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The program information is intended to help employees identify the following:

  • Issues that contribute to MSDs
  • Duties and needed training; and
  • Information to help employees make work practice and workstation design decisions.

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The City’s Ergo Program is a proactive program that includes injury prevention, education and ergonomics. The main goals are to prevent injury due to workplace risk factors and reduce stress to workers having symptoms due to both work and non work-related injuries.

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This policy applies to all City bureaus.

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Authority provided under:

In compliance with:

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City Risk.

The City of Portland is dedicated to using ergonomics to improve employee health and safety. Because workstation and industrial ergonomics spans a wide range of job positions throughout the City, the Ergo Program is managed by City Risk; which provides leadership, expertise, consultation and resources. City Risk responsibilities include:

    • Review and update this program as needed;
    • Provide evaluation and assessment services upon request, including:   
      • Workers’ Compensation requested assessments and provide suggestions for employees returning to work full-time or on modified duty;  
      • Conduct work site and in-depth ergo assessments of symptomatic employees;  
      • Evaluate workstations & employee work practices;  
      • Help supervisors with employee ergo training;
    • Maintain the ergonomics lab;
    • Conduct regular meetings and trainings with Bureau Ergonomic Coordinators (BECs);
    • Advise supervisors and BECs of programs the employee may qualify, such as the Workplace Possibilities Program and the Employee at Injury Program;
    • Work with Procurement Services on citywide chair and adjustable furniture contracts;
    • Maintain the ergonomic database and web page.

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City Bureaus

    • Make sure employees use the self assessment tool;
    • Train employees on reporting ergo symptoms;
    • Work with the employee and BECs or City Risk to adjust and rebuild workstations;
    • Make decision to pursue  programs, such as Employee at Injury Program or Workplace Possibilities Program and complete required paperwork for these programs if needed;
    • Invite suggestions from the BECs regarding ideal position or getting equipment and furniture;
    • Make decisions on purchases of ergo products and furniture. 

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Bureau Ergonomic Coordinator (BEC) and/or Bureau Safety Representative (BSR)

The BEC and/or BSR are responsible for managing their ergo program and working with City Risk. The BEC is responsible for the following:

    • Ensure that a system is in place for workers to report MSD signs or symptoms and suspected work-related risk factors to managers;
    • Attend ergo training to familiarize themselves with the elements of the program, including  identification, assessment, and control of the following:  
      • Work-related ergonomics risk factors;  
      • MSD signs and symptoms;  
      • Requirements and procedures for early reporting;  
      • Medical management;  
      • Ensure that supervisors and workers have received the appropriate training;  
      • Ensure that ergo practices and principles are considered when conducting work site evaluations;  
      • Ensure that suggested control measures are put into service and used correctly;
    • Identify jobs, tasks and conditions that cause or contribute to MSDs;
    • Facilitate use of ergo resources within their bureaus to address ergonomic risk factors;
    • Implement control measures in a timely manner;
    • Ensure that accurate records are kept, and provide materials upon request as well as for joint health and safety committee meetings.

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Managers are responsible for the following:

    • Maintain responsibility for the health and safety of all workers within their departments by actively supporting the ergo program;
    • Have human and financial resources to help with program needs.

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Supervisors are responsible for the following:

    • Become familiar with the City’s Ergo Program;
    • Ensure that workers have received needed training;
    • Ensure that workers are given and use proper tools, equipment, parts, and materials as required;
    • Ensure that workers know  MSD signs and symptoms, and the reporting system;
    • Respond quickly to worker reports;
    • Provide proper workers’ compensation documents to workers as required by law;
    • Seek clarification from Human Resources when return to work instructions from the healthcare provider are unclear;
    • Clearly speak with managers and workers. 

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Employees are a key element for the success of the ergo program. They will be asked for input to identify ergo risk factors, conduct work site evaluations, and execute controls and training.

City of Portland employees are responsible for following the ergo policy and program:

    • Take responsibility for their personal health and safety;
    • Use the appropriate tools, equipment, parts, materials, and safe work procedures as directed by managers and supervisors;
    • Ensure that equipment is in good condition and if not report it immediately;
    • Report MSD signs or symptoms and work-related MSD risk factors to the supervisor as early as possible to facilitate proactive interventions;
    • Evaluate workstation as outlined in this program;
    • When needed, request assistance from their BEC and safety representatives to address the following:
      • Ergo exposures
      • Adjust work stations, tools and equipment for improved fit
      • Work with their bureaus to adjust work practices as necessary.

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            Resources and Tools

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