Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Ergonomics Training Information


Employees should attend all necessary Workplace Ergonomics training and use the information in their workplaces and work practices to reduce injury risks.


Supervisors should provide time for employees to attend all necessary training and promote a climate that encourages and reinforces new equipment usage and methods.


EHS will provide:

  • Training tailored to the workplace environment and client needs (departments, units, or individuals),
  • Training supervisors and employees about their roles in Workplace Ergonomics program,
  • Tools for the recognition of the signs and symptoms from ergonomic injuries,
  • Emphasize the importance of early reporting of signs and symptoms and the consequences of failing to report them early,
  • Tools to find ergonomic hazards in the workplace, and
  • Overview of the methods used to control ergonomic hazards.

When and Whom to Train

Training and educating members of the university community on work-related musculoskeletal disorders is critical to the success of the Workplace Ergonomics Program at Virginia Tech. Training and education should give both supervisors and workers an understanding of the potential risk of injuries, their causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment. The more aware workers are of the musculoskeletal hazards in their workplace, the more likely they are to work toward reducing injuries.

When is ergonomics training offered?

Ergonomics training is provided at no cost to supervisors or employees, and it is offered and scheduled based on client needs. Training can be provided on-site or at the Environmental, Health and Safety Services Classroom.

How is training requested?

Contact 231-3600 to schedule a needs assessment and training.

Who should be trained?

Training should involve all employees, including support personnel. These people should all receive training on musculoskeletal risk factors:

  • Supervisors and Employees.
  • Engineers.
  • Maintenance personnel.
  • Purchasing personnel.
  • Safety and risk control managers.
  • Health-care providers.
  • Insurance administrators.

Contents of Training

EHS provides training that can either be for general awareness or specific to the particular job or task. Needs analyses determine what type of ergonomics training is provided based on:

  • The nature of the task performed.
  • The type of tools, equipment or processes involved.
  • The length of time the task is to be performed.


General training involves providing instructions to supervisors and employees about the hazards involved with their jobs and includes:

  • Types of musculoskeletal disorders often associated with the job.
  • Risk factors that may contribute to or cause these disorders.
  • How to prevent these disorders from occurring.
  • Recognition and reporting of symptoms associated with these disorders.


Job-specific training involves the following:

  • Hands-on training before beginning a regular production job.
  • Care and proper use of all tools and equipment.
  • Proper lifting techniques and devices.
  • The correct way to stand, sit, bend, turn, reach, grasp, push/pull, and climb.
  • Identification of hazards in the area, such as slippery surfaces, sharp edges, moving machinery or vehicles.
  • Use of proper personal protective equipment, if any.


It is important for supervisors to get training similar to that of their employees, as they are responsible for ensuring that their employees use work practices that are ergonomically correct and safe. Supervisors should get additional training that will allow them to:

  • Recognize early signs and symptoms of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Recognize and correct hazardous work practices.
  • Understand and emphasize the importance of the ergonomics program.

Engineers, Architects, and Maintenance Staff

Training for engineers and maintenance personnel should include how to correct musculoskeletal hazards through job and workstation design and maintenance. These personnel should be able to recognize hazards and modify workstations to eliminate or reduce hazards.

Purchasing Personnel

Purchasing personnel should be trained to understand basic ergonomic concepts of tool, equipment and furniture design. This will help them make more informed choices in their purchasing decisions.