Ergonomic hazards

Ergonomic hazards are those that pose risk of injury to the musculoskeletal system. Common injuries associated with ergonomic hazards include carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendinopathy, and trigger finger.

Examples of ergonomic hazards include the following:

  • Poor workspace design
  • Repetitive movement
  • Manual handling
  • Poor body positioning

Ergonomic self-assessment

Good workstation design is important in the prevention of musculoskeletal pain or strain associated with repetitive work. Use the HSE self-assessment tool or try this eLearning course to determine if your workstation is appropriate to your needs and workflow. Note that HSE does not offer in-person ergonomic assessments.

Are you experiencing musculoskeletal pain or discomfort?

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort that could be associated with repetitive motion in the workplace, do the following:

  1. Notify your supervisor.
  2. Complete the HSE self-assessment tool and/or try this eLearning course.
  3. Consult with your doctor to assess the condition and consider treatment options (e.g., physiotherapy, professional ergonomic assessment, etc.).
  4. Discuss and coordinate treatment options with your supervisor.

What happens next?

If a doctor recommends an ergonomic assessment, the department should contact recommended providers (see right-hand column) to arrange an assessment. The ergonomist will then provide a report to the department outlining the recommendations for the department and the staff member to follow. The department is responsible for the cost of the assessment and any cost to purchase needed ergonomic equipment.

If you are a U of A staff member, have sought medical attention, and are continuing to experience symptoms that are affecting your ability to carry out your usual duties, then you are encouraged to contact HRHSE Health and Wellbeing to obtain a medical request form. This will initiate the process of requesting medically supported accommodation. A physician must complete the form to detail the medical circumstances and outline any temporary or permanent restrictions. Please inform your supervisor at the same time so that she can complete an online notification referral to Homewood Health. To request the form, email

Who covers the costs?

Most extended benefits programs will cover physiotherapy services. University departments are responsible for all ergonomic assessment fees including the cost to purchase needed ergonomic equipment.