Administrative Overview

Academic Policies

Administrative Policies

Employee Policies

SUNY Plattsburgh
Video Display Terminal

Approved by Executive Staff, 1989

Purpose and Scope
This policy is established to address ergonomic consideration associated with video display terminal operations, as they relate to operator comfort.  The policy addresses issues and concerns relating to operator vision, stress, and working conditions.  Specifically, this policy focuses on such workplace concerns as workstation design, operator chair, worktable, and other environmental aspects such as illumination and glare.

It is the purpose of the policy to establish environmental standards and assume that these standards are met for those involved in video display terminal activity as a preliminary function of their assigned tasks.  They will be adapted to work settings where VDT operations are not the exclusive function of the employee involved wherever practical.
Within the policy, the word "ergonomic" is used.  It is defined as the science that designs machines and environments to fit people at work.  It examines the interrelationships among people, machines, work environment, and job designs, Ergonomic factors include: machine design, workstation furnishings, lighting, ventilation, noise, temperature, and humidity.
 
Policy Guidelines
A.  Illumination - Lighting levels will be maintained at levels that reduce eyestrain and glare.  Since this may be lower than is required for traditional office work, individual lamps will be made available.

B.  Control of Glare and Reflection - Since reflection is a major problem and an ergonomic consideration, advice and assistance will be rendered to help eliminate it.  This could entail repositioning of VDT devices, providing glare screens, covering windows with proper shades, and other effectiveness measures.
 
C.  Workstation Design - To control the potential for musculoskeletal problems, workstations will meet ergonomic standards.  Emphasis will be placed on tables and chairs which position VDT screens at a height and distance appropriate for the operator.  Both tables and chairs should have adjustment capability to allow for the same degree of comfort for more than one individual.
 
D.  Office Environment/Design - Occupational stress-related complaints are common among office workers.  To combat this, effort will be made to reduce noise levels and to provide proper humidity and heating conditions.  Assistance will be provided, when necessary, in the relocation of workstations to environmentally sound areas when existing areas do not conform to standards.
 
E.  Maintenance of Equipment - All VDT stations will be inspected periodically by the operator.  Equipment malfunctions will be reported to the Instructional Engineering and Maintenance Department for repair or replacement.  Proper cleaning of screens and keyboards will be an operator responsibility.
 
F.  VDT Work Routine - Because of the tedium of constant stationary tasks, periodic work break schedules are encouraged.  This could entail alternate tasks away from the workstation or scheduled break periods.  Whenever possible, greater flexibility and task variety will be built into jobs involving extensive use of VDTs.
 
G.  Equipment Not Acceptable in the Ergonomic Environment - The college will not approve the purchase of VDTs with attached keyboards nor non-adjustable tables and chairs.
 
Implementation
It is the intent of this policy that review and assessment be made of all VDT operations in which the use of VDTs is the exclusive function of the individuals employed.  Assessments will be made against the backdrop of guidelines contained herein.  Appropriate plans will be developed to make necessary modifications and/or replacements within a reasonable period of time.  The college will make every attempt to accommodate necessary VDT-related expenditures within a reasonable period of time.  The college will make every attempt to accommodate necessary VDT-related expenditures within fiscal guidelines, by establishing appropriate priorities, and will follow the guidelines when office renovation occurs.
 
Training
It is recognized that ergonomic problems related to VDTs can be significantly reduced through training of VDT operators.  Therefore, the college will periodically offer training sessions using trained instructors and materials provided by the Governor's Office of Employee Relations.  The sessions will deal with the mechanics of equipment, persistent musculoskeletal complaints, and visual problems.  Both supervisors and operators will be provided with information regarding the health concerns associated with VDT use.
 
Equipment Acquisition
The Purchasing Department will be provided with specifications for equipment which meets ergonomic standards.  Only approved workstation equipment and furnishing will be ordered when it has been determined that its use will be the exclusive function of an employee.  In all other cases, ergonomically sound equipment will be highly recommended.

Contact Information

For more information about Administrative Policies approved by Executive Council, please contact:

Sean Brian Dermody
Assistant to the Vice President for Administration
Management Services Office
Office: Kehoe 710-11
Phone: (518) 564-2539
Fax: (518) 564-2540
Email: dermodsb@plattsburgh.edu