The goal of ergonomics is to provide an efficient and safe work environment for all employees. The University ADA Coordinators encourage employees to follow sound ergonomic practices and to become educated in ergonomic principles to ensure a healthy and productive work environment.
Accommodation Process for Ergonomic Assessments
The accommodation process for ergonomic requests is geared toward individuals with a physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities and/or has a record of such an impairment. The impairment may be permanent, chronic, or progressive. An impairment that is episodic or in remission is considered a disability under the ADA if the condition substantially limits a major life activity when active.
Examples of conditions that warrant consideration for accommodation include, but are not limited to carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic back pain, arthritis, including osteoarthritis, nerve damage, fibromyalgia, etc. The accommodation process can also assess configurations and modifications to a worksite for individuals who are wheelchair users.
In most cases, it is not necessary for the University ADA Coordinators to meet with an employee or their supervisor in person to discuss an ergonomic request, unless the request is complex in nature and/or additional accommodations are being requested. For ergonomic requests, the interactive process is generally facilitated over the phone or via email. However, an employee or their supervisor can request a meeting with the University ADA Coordinators at any time to discuss any questions or concerns.
Employees interested in pursuing an ergonomic assessment via the accommodation process need to complete and return the following forms:
If the information provided is not complete and/or does not provide sufficient information to justify the requested accommodations, the University ADA Coordinators will request additional information and/or reach out to the employee’s licensed health care provider to ask clarifying questions.
- Processing the Request: The University ADA Coordinators will review the employee’s paperwork to determine the appropriateness of the accommodation process. If it is determined the employee has a qualifying condition, the University ADA Coordinators will (a) inform the employee (b) reach out to the University’s Ergonomic Technician and provide them with the employee’s contact information for the purpose of scheduling a worksite visit (c) send the employee’s supervisor notification informing them their employee will be assessed by the University’s Ergonomic Technician.
- Determination: The University’s Ergonomic Technician will visit the employee’s worksite and assess their current work area. The technician will draft a report of their findings that details the recommended items the employee’s department needs to provide. Recommendations can include furniture (office chairs, desks, etc.) and equipment (keyboard trays, vertical mouse, etc.).
- Funding: Individual departments have responsibility for covering the cost of furniture and equipment needed as part of an employee accommodation provision. Employees and their supervisors are encouraged to collaborate and assess whether the department already owns some of the recommended items listed in the report. Another source to check for ergonomic equipment is Surplus Property at the J. Pickle Research Campus. If the department does not already own the recommended items and/or the items are not available through Surplus Property, the department should move forward with purchasing the recommended items listed in the report.