Check Out SFU’s Ergonomics Resources and Support in Celebration of National Ergonomics Month

October 27, 2023

by Vanessa Christner, Program Manager, Ergonomics & Safety Management Systems, Environmental Health and Safety

October is National Ergonomics Month, a global initiative that focuses on increasing awareness and promoting the science and application of ergonomics and human factors.  

At Simon Fraser University, the practice of ergonomics supports its commitment to provide a healthy and safe learning, teaching, research and work environment for all its community members.

In celebration of National Ergonomics Month, the university invites all employees to check out the ergonomics services and resources available to prevent developing musculoskeletal injuries, and make your work environment more comfortable and efficient.

Musculoskeletal Injuries & Ergonomics Risk Factors

Musculoskeletal Injuries (MSIs) are injuries that can arise from the overuse of structures within the musculoskeletal system; such as bones, muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. These injuries often occur when the demands placed on these structures surpass their inherent capabilities, usually as a result of a single forceful movement or repetitive use of the same joint.

It is of paramount importance for all employees to be well-informed about MSI signs and symptoms. Recognizing these early can make a significant difference in treatment outcomes and reducing time away from work.

Signs of MSIs may include redness, heat, swelling, and reduced range of motion, while symptoms can encompass numbness, tingling, burning sensations, pain or localized discomfort, joint or muscle stiffness, weakness, and tenderness at the affected site.

Our work environments often contain certain conditions referred to as "ergonomics risk factors," which can contribute to MSI development. These factors include high force, awkward and static postures, and high repetition, and are often associated with the design of workspaces or the nature of work tasks.

SFU’s Commitment to Ergonomics

The university is committed to addressing these challenges head-on. The Safety and Risk Services department oversees the domain of ergonomics at SFU and has developed a range of services and resources designed exclusively for its employees.

Ergonomics Progam Manual (Download here)

  • Learn about the roles and responsibilities of SFU leaders, departments, supervisors, and employees in ensuring a healthy and safe work environment free of ergonomics risk factors.
  • Access a comprehensive guide for ergonomics best practices.

Office Ergonomics

Manual Materials Handling

Lab Ergonomics

  • Download the Lab Ergonomics Guide to learn more about MSIs prevalent among researchers, ergonomics risk factors arising from the design and use of lab equipment, and common risk controls to prevent injury.
  • Use the Lab Ergonomics Checklist to identify potential and control ergonomics risk factors present in the lab.