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Workplace Safety

Workplace Safety Topics

The OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 requires employers to provide a safe and healthful work environment for all employees who face a significant health risk as the result of occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials because they may contain bloodborne pathogens including Hepatitis B Virus which causes Hepatitis B, a serious liver disease, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

OSHA concludes that this significant health risk can be minimized or eliminated using a combination of task identification, engineering and work practice controls, personal protective clothing and equipment, training, medical follow-up of exposure incidents, vaccination (where applicable), and other provisions.


The University of North Carolina Wilmington's (UNCW) program is taken from information provided by the North Carolina Ergonomics Resource Center, for the purpose of making employees conscious of how they are working.

Even using "ergonomically fit" equipment, chairs, and workstations, employees' need to be sure they are working in the best manner possible and doing what is best for their body by reducing stressors in work methods.


When setting up your workstation and job materials, items used most frequently (many times during the day) should be placed within immediate forearm reach. Items used less frequently (once or twice a day) can be within a full arm's reach. Those items seldom used (once or twice a week or less) may be placed farthest away.

Adjust the chair height so that the elbows are the same height as the work surface
(keyboard tray or desk)

  • If the feet do not touch the floor at this chair height, obtain a footrest to support the feet while sitting
  • Adjust the chair backrest height so that the round part of the backrest fits into the lumbar curve of the spine
  • Adjust the chair armrests so that they are slightly lower than the elbows. If the armrests cannot be adjusted and tend to confine the arms, have them removed
  • Place the keyboard and mouse as close together as possible, at the same height and depth.
  • Place the keyboard and mouse directly in front of the body, within forearm reach.
  • Adjust the height of the monitor so that the top row of characters is at eye level. For bifocal wearers, lower the monitor further to minimize neck bending
  • Adjust the tilt of the monitor downward to minimize glare from overhead lights if it is a problem
  • Place the monitor about arm's length away from you
  • Place the document holder at the same height and depth as the monitor screen Ergonomics is the study of how to adapt jobs to the people who perform them. To stay safe and healthy on the job, everyone must move, lift, sit and perform various tasks in ways that do not result in what are called musculo-skeletal injuries (MSDs).

Rest Breaks

Computer work for long periods of time can cause muscle fatigue and dry eyes. The best way to reduce the discomfort is to take short breaks frequently during the day. Stand up and move around. Even incorporate some simple stretching exercises during your breaks. These breaks promote muscle improvement, blood circulation, and significantly reduce fatigue and discomfort. A good rule of thumb is to take thirty (30) second breaks every twenty (20) to thirty (30) minutes.

Call Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) for an ergonomic evaluation for your specific work area.


Laboratory and other potentially hazardous work areas will have a hazard communication sign at all doors leading into the workspace. These hazard communication signs will identify the categories of potentially hazardous materials contained in the lab.

Emergency contact information will also be included on the sign. This emergency contact information will provide the names and phone numbers of individuals who would know the hazards that may result from an emergency in the laboratory.

EH&S will provide the hazard communication signs for the laboratories after receiving a completed Laboratory Safety Data Sheet for the laboratory. The Laboratory Safety Data Sheet and the hazard communication signs will be reviewed annually and revised if necessary by the CHO and Principal Investigator.

Laser Safety
Respiratory Protection
Safety Data Sheets

Report a Work-Related Incident

UNCW works very hard to make sure that our campus remains as free from hazards as possible and that our campus community is a safe place to live, work and learn. If you have experienced or seen a work-related incident, please let us know.