NIOSH ERC Webinar: Home Office Ergonomic Issues: A Case Study of University Employees Sent Home During The COVID-19 Pandemic

As millions of workers have shifted to telework, poor static postures may increase the risk of significant discomfort and potentially more serious musculoskeletal disorders. This webinar will explore results from a survey sent to University of Cincinnati faculty, staff, and administrators about home office ergonomics and discomfort. Many of the participants reported moderate to severe discomfort, laptops were widely used with most using the laptop monitor, and less than 45% of seating conditions were reported as having adjustable arm rests. As teleworking in makeshift offices becomes more common, special accommodations for workers, including the provision of ergonomic equipment, may be required to mitigate risk, prevent injury, and optimize worker performance.


Thomas Gerding, MPH is currently pursuing a PhD in environmental and industrial hygiene at the University of Cincinnati. He received his BS in environmental science in 2017 from Northern Kentucky University and his master of public health (industrial hygiene focus) in 2019 from Eastern Kentucky University. His current research interests include identifying exposures and ergonomic risks with workers sent home due to the ongoing pandemic and occupational/public health exposures regarding various aerosols and metals. In the last year, Gerding has been the first author and a co-author on two scientific studies. One, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, presented his findings collected while interning with the Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness, investigating how well public pools and spas maintain their disinfection protocols. His second, public in Ergonomics in Design, studied ergonomic issues that people are experiencing due to the sudden shift to working from home due to the ongoing pandemic. This will be the focus of this discussion today.

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