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Ergonomics Program - Definitions

City Risk LogoRisk Management - Loss Prevention

Administrative Controls

Changes in the way that work in a job is assigned or scheduled that reduce the magnitude, frequency or duration of exposure to ergonomic risk factors. Examples of administrative controls for MSD hazards include:

      • Employee rotation;
      • Job task enlargement;
      • Alternative tasks. 

Engineering controls

Physical changes to a job that reduce MSD hazards. Examples of engineering controls include changing or redesigning workstations, tools, facilities, equipment, materials, or processes. 

Ergonomic Assessment

A systematic process for evaluation of the fit between an individual and their used technology, workstation, and/or tools. 

Ergonomic Hazards

Workplace conditions that involve an improper fit between the employee and the work due to faulty workstation design, improper work methods, improper tools, excessive vibration, improper job design, and other biomechanical stresses to the employee. 

Ergonomic Risk Factors

Conditions that can result in musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), such as repetition, awkward static loading, vibration, forces/weight, environmental conditions, mechanical contact stress, and lack of employee controlled pace. 


The science of equipment and workplace design, intended to maximize productivity, safety and efficiency by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort; multi-disciplinary means of looking at the individual and their total working environment. 

Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)

A process of systematically evaluating specific jobs, tasks, processes, etc. in the workplace to identify risks or hazards and controls to eliminate or reduce the risk or hazard. 

Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD)

An injury or disorder of the muscle, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels, or related soft tissue including a sprain, strain, or inflammation, that usually arises from repeated biomechanical stress due to work-related ergonomic hazards. (Also referred to as Cumulative Trauma Disorders, Repetitive Strain Injuries, and/or Repetitive Trauma Disorders.) 

Work Practice Controls

Are changes in the way an employee performs the physical work activities of a job that reduce or control exposure to MSD hazards. Work practice controls involve procedures and methods for safe work. Examples of work practice controls for MSD hazards include:

    • Use of neutral postures to perform tasks (straight wrists, lifting close to the body);
    • Use of two-person lift teams;
    • Observance of mini-breaks and stretches.