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Safety Series Part 1: Ergonomics

Woman stretching while sitting in office

Management Topic: Safety Series Part 1: Ergonomics

Dear Colleagues,

This month’s Management Tips kicks off a three-part series of informative articles to introduce three departments that help keep us safe and healthy. We begin with an article about Ergonomics, following with Injury Reporting in September, and wrapping up with Emergency Management in October.

The UCLA Insurance & Risk Management - Ergonomics Program provides a variety of services to the campus as part of our mission to mitigate and prevent incidences of musculoskeletal disorders like tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Our core services are workstation evaluations and training.

  • Workstation Evaluations: Managers can refer employees to request an evaluation if they report physical discomfort when performing their jobs. Evaluations are available for both on-campus and remote workers. Please note that per the Teamsters Local 2010 (CX) collective bargaining agreement, CX represented staff who work more than 60% of their normal work schedule at a video display terminal must have an ergonomic review of their workstation within the first 90 calendar days of employment on the job or workstation reassignment.
  • Training: An Ergonomics Self-Assessment for computer users is available at UC Risk and Safety Solutions. Group trainings can also be requested on topics such as safe lifting and efficient body mechanics. Contact Michael Ozamoto to schedule a training.  

Tips When Purchasing New Furniture

Cost Sharing and the Work from Home Furniture Program are available to offset part of the expense of purchasing well-designed and highly adjustable furniture.

Cost Sharing will cover 50% of the expense to purchase commercial-grade furniture through one of the three broadline manufacturers or five ergonomic suppliers contracted with UC. These include Steelcase, MillerKnoll, and Kimball as well as Workrite, SitOnIt, Sitmatic, ECD, and OfficeMaster. Managers are encouraged to order furniture from contracted suppliers. These suppliers provide high-quality and durable furniture that complies with UC policies and ensures that products meet or exceed national standards for safety and reliability. In addition to ergonomic criteria, a contracted supplier must also pay fair wages and meet UC standards for sustainability including a ban on packing Styrofoam. Funds are available each fiscal year and awarded on a first-come, first serve basis so apply early!

To be eligible for the Cost Sharing program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a full-time UCLA or UCLA Health employee served by Campus Ergonomics.
  • Assigned to a job classification that requires the use of computer or laboratory equipment.
  • Complete an ergonomic evaluation, ergonomics lab, or receive an equipment recommendation from an Ergonomics Specialist.
  • Department must maintain an updated Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP) with UCLA Environment Health & Safety (EH&S).

The Work from Home Furniture Allowance for Remote Employees is a centrally funded program developed by the Office of the Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer to provide a task chair and height-adjustable table to eligible employees. The products are delivered via FedEx directly to the employee’s home and can be easily assembled with minimal tools. An employee can also request professional installation. In order to qualify for the allowance, employees must complete and sign a DocuSign FlexWork Agreement confirming that they will be working remotely three or more days per week for at least one year. Steelcase is the supplier of this commercial-grade furniture that also meets guidelines for use in homes. Employees who separate from the university should return the furniture to their department, and departments must cover the cost to return the furniture. Managers can request a quote from Modular & Data Services (MDS) for moving services by contacting Memo Reyes and submitting an "A" Class release: Base Agreement #0000KZA038. Managers should determine on a case-by-case basis the practicality and expense to return the furniture, as doing so may be unreasonable in certain situations (e.g. out-of-state workers).

Ergo FAQ

1. How do I respond if an employee asks why ordering less expensive furniture from online retailers like Amazon or Wayfair is not allowed?

  • Ergonomics encourages managers to order furniture from contracted suppliers. Buying furniture from online retailers can be penny-wise but pound-foolish. While online retailers may provide less expensive products, overlooked risks may outweigh short-term cost savings in the long run. It is important for UCLA to know who it is doing business with and what types of products we are bringing onto campus or placing in employees’ homes. At best the product may be of lower quality intended for the retail consumer market, or at worst may be unsafe due to poor materials, flawed design, or banned chemicals. It is in the university's interest to spend a little more to buy furniture that is safe, fits the majority of users, and will provide long-lasting return on investment.  

2. What should I do if an employee has suggestions on how to improve the design or tools used at the worksite, but does not work in an office environment where cost sharing or WFH Furniture is relevant?

  • The Injury Prevention Committee (IPC) provides funding to departments to make worksite improvements that will reduce the likelihood of workplace injuries and lower the costs of workers’ compensation. Proposals must be loss preventative in nature. Past proposals include: lifting devices to reduce materials handling, lightweight power tools, vehicle seats to protect drivers from vibration, or food production machines to assist with repetitive tasks.

Contact IPC Chair Jerry Wilson or Co-Chair Neil Mansky for assistance with determining an appropriate loss prevention solution and for information on how to apply for funding.

The UCLA Insurance & Risk Management – Ergonomics Program would like to thank Monthly Management Tips for giving us the opportunity to share our program and resources with their readers. We can be reached by email at

Leadership 2029

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