Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Health & Safety Ergonomics

Important!Note: The first sign of any discomfort or injuries (see below) should be reported to Health Services (Bldg 26) and your Supervisor – early intervention is key to preventing long-term problems.

Ergo Injury Syptoms

  • Numbness or a burning sensation in the arm, hand or fingers, especially in the fingertips at night
  • Pain from movement or pressure in wrists, forearms, elbows, neck or back
  • Aching, tingling or cramping in any of the above mentioned areas
  • Swelling or stiffness in the joints or a decreased range of joint motion
  • Reduced range of motion in the shoulder, neck or back
  • Reduced grip strength in the hand
  • Dry, itchy or sore eyes
  • Blurred or double vision

Early Intervention is key to preventing long-term injuries

  • Supervisors:
  • Employees:
    • Take the Remedy Interactive (EHS0059), a web-based self-assessment and training course.
    • If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, let your supervisor know, go to Heath Services for first aid (Bldg 26, x6266) and request an ergonomic evaluation.
    • Take precaution when using a laptop computer:

      Many people use laptop computers as their primary computer. Because the keyboard and monitor is a contained unit, they cannot be adjusted for comfort and the keys and monitors are generally smaller than those found on a traditional desktop computer. In order to prevent potential injuries from long-term or extensive use, employees should take extra precautions.

      Consider using the following at work and at home:

      1. a separate, full-size keyboard and pointing device
      2. a monitor riser or laptop holder to raise the screen to eye level
      3. a docking station to facilitate the use of separate input devices and monitor
      4. an individually adjusted ergo chair, computer desk and keyboard tray

ESD Ergonomics Program

There are three steps to ESD’s Ergonomics Program; (1) Education; (2) Evaluation; (3) Implementation:

  1. Education: EHS offers several ergonomic education courses, some of which are required or recommended based upon your responses to your JHA.
  2. Evaluation: All ESD employees should have an ergonomic evaluation of their workstation(s). You should also request an evaluation at the earliest sign of physical discomfort or when you move to a new workstation, change your furniture, use a laptop computer or have any other concern regarding your workstation. Computer stations in labs that are used for more than monitoring and transfer of data should also be ergonomically designed and evaluated (request an ergonomic evaluation or contact your ESD Safety Coordinator). Employees and supervisors- check the date of your last ergo evaluation or for your employees. People doing extensive computer work (graphics, spreadsheets, etc.) should have annual evaluations; other employees, every 2 years.
  3. Implementation: It is up to the employee and their supervisor to follow-through with the recommendations and corrective actions resulting from the ergo evaluation. The evaluator may recommend furniture, or other equipment, which the employee and supervisor must select and purchase as necessary through the normal ESD purchasing channels. After new furniture is installed, employee should request a follow-up evaluation to ensure proper adjustment.

ERGO Advocates

Name Building Room (510) 486- E-mail Address
Vivi Fissekidou 74B
103 5610
Ronnie Woods
74 234A 4223

Ergo Tools, Resources, & Guidelines

Ergonomic Equipment/Furniture Resources

  • Salvage Items:
    The LBNL Richmond Warehouse (Bldg 904) has used computer desks, office chairs, foot rests and other ergonomic furniture items such as keyboard trays/arms. There is no charge for the items or for delivery. Simply visit or call the warehouse at x4937 or x4177 and let them know where to deliver the item.
  • B2B contract:
    Many ergo accessories can be purchased through eBuy, which is accessible by any Division employee.
  • Additional LBNL Resources:

UC Campus Staff Supervisors

If you have an employee who is paid by LBNL, and works on the UC Campus, there are two options for getting a routine ergo evaluation of their workstation.

  1. If you would like to have an LBNL ergo evaluator (Herb Toor for ESD) do the evaluation, then we need to contact the ergonomist at the Tang Center, Barbara Pottgen to get her permission.

  2. If you would like to use the UC ergo program, each campus department is supposed to have ergo evaluators who provide this service. You can call 642-8410 for more information or for the name of your computer workstation evaluator.

If the employee is experiencing discomfort, then after notifying you, they should schedule an appointment with the Occupational Health Clinic at University Health Services, Tang Center, by calling 642-6891.

Berkeley's on-site Occupational Health Clinic specializes in the treatment of work-related health problems, including repetitive motion and musculoskeletal injuries.

Treatment may include physical therapy and a worksite evaluation, if necessary. Services are provided at no cost to you or your department.