Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Ergonomic Responsibilities

Supervisor Responsibilities

Supervisors (including Deans, Directors, and Department heads) are key personnel in promoting and maintaining a healthy and safe, local work environment. Supervisory responsibilities related to the Workplace Ergonomics Program are to:

  • Provide funding to implement corrective measures to identified ergonomic risk factor exposures,
  • Set a departmental climate which encourages active employee participation,
  • Encourage early reporting of signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders,
  • Notify EHS of employee musculoskeletal signs and symptoms,
  • Notify EHS of changes in workplace processes or equipment that may change (increase or decrease) ergonomic risk factors, and
  • Ensure that the proper level of ergonomics training is provided to employees.


As the group most directly impacted by musculoskeletal disorders and their related discomfort and potentially disabling effects, employees are to:

  • Report early signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders,
  • Follow work practice procedures related to their jobs that are intended to reduce ergonomic risks, and
  • Actively participate in the recognition, analysis, and abatement of ergonomic risks.


EHS will be responsible for coordinating the Workplace Ergonomics Program (WEP) at Virginia Tech. This includes:

  • Educating supervisors and employees about ergonomic risk factors and the potential harm to their bodies,
  • Recommending and coordinating the development of ergonomic risk factor reporting and case tracking mechanisms, and early sign and symptoms reporting.
  • Training employees and supervisors on the importance of early reporting of musculoskeletal disorder signs and symptoms.
  • Prioritizing ergonomic evaluations based on available severity, prevalence and incident rate data (e.g. OSHA logs, First Report of Injury, Workers' Compensation, discomfort surveys and employee evaluation reports).
  • Performing ergonomic risk factor measurements and observations and communicating results to supervisors (including Deans, Directors, and Department heads) and employees,
  • Establishing a job hazard analysis and control process that identifies, analyzes, and uses feasible engineering, work practice, controls to eliminate musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) hazards that reduce MSD hazards to the extent feasible, and
  • Establishing ways to evaluate controls to assure that they are effective.

Other Virginia Tech Entities

Within Virginia Tech, there are various entities that facilitate the implementation of solutions to ergonomic risk factors especially for those employees coping with musculoskeletal disorders. They are Human Resources and ADA.