Ergo Update: Chairs, Purchasing, Asking for Help
The Lab’s Ergonomic team has been working non-stop to make sure all employees can safely work from their telework location as we shelter-in-place.
Because there was little time to prepare, the team had to research and write processes and policies to cover the unique situations employees faced while working from home.
One of the issues that took more research was the use of large ergonomic items such as chairs.
After an extensive review with multiple stakeholders, the Lab now has a process to accommodate the request for ergonomic furniture during the shelter-in-place. In case of discomfort and or medical accommodation, it will be possible to ship ergonomic furniture from the employee’s office to the employee’s home or purchase new equipment, but authorization to do so will not be automatic.
The need for a chair will be addressed on a case-by-case basis in coordination with the EHS Ergonomics Team and Health Services’ Disability Management team. This solution is not for everyone. You should only submit a request after discussing it with your supervisor and have a current and persistent level of discomfort while teleworking. In most cases, the ergonomic accessories already allowed by Procurement for purchase and drop-shipped to employee’s homes are proving to be effective solutions. Employees can contact [email protected] or submit a request for a home office ergonomic evaluation at ergoeval.lbl.gov.
This does NOT mean that employees can remove furniture from the Lab. There is a risk of injury associated with transporting heavy and bulky items such as chairs. The Lab is concerned about your safety and doesn’t want you to be injured by moving furniture. The new guidelines provide a process to have either your current chair shipped to your home or will authorize the purchase of a new chair that will be shipped to your home. An extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions has been created on this subject.
You can go to the Lab to pick up your monitor and other ergonomic accessories, just check-in with your supervisor before making the trip. Here are some additional tips from the ergo team to help you have a safe telework experience:
- Purchasing of some ergonomic items is allowable. The items can be shipped to your home. Review procurement guidance.
- Don’t use just a laptop. Your set-up should include a monitor, keyboard, and mouse since prolonged direct use of laptops can be a significant ergonomic risk. There are some creative ways to set up your home workspace.
- Don’t forget to move and change positions often. Sitting for prolonged periods has been proven to impact health, and prolonged static posture and repetitive movements can lead to ergonomic discomfort and injury.
- Install RSI Guard for break reminders. Download RSI Guard at software.lbl.gov.
- Learn more.
Any employee who has issues or concerns with their home office set up should contact [email protected]. The EHS Ergo Team and Ergo Advocates are ready to help.