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How to get a new department chair

15 October 2003

If your ergonomic needs have put you in the market for new piece of furniture, visit the Ergonomics Showroom, recently relocated to the Tang Center. You can try out a new chair, keyboard tray, or computer table with the help of an expert.

Here’s how it works. First, call (877) 722-9090 to set up an appointment to meet the campus furniture specialist, Catherine Fregoso, at the Ergonomics Showroom. Fregoso recommends finding out your supervisor’s price range beforehand. Then she can help you locate the equipment that fits both you and your department’s budget. Chairs, for example, range in price from $130 to $800 (including delivery cost). Next, Fregoso will provide you with a set of order forms to take back to your department.

After Campus Supply closed this past summer, the Ergonomics Showroom opened in the Tang Center to pick up the slack. While the word “showroom” might evoke images of a huge furniture outlet, the program’s space is decidedly more modest. Though all the program’s equipment is not on display, the furniture specialist helps pair clients with a chair or other furniture that best fits them. Fregoso also helps clients learn how to adjust equipment for optimal comfort.

For those who visit the Ergonomics Showroom to shop for chairs and can’t decide on the spot, there’s a demo program that enables you to try out as many chairs as fit in your space for two weeks for a $50 delivery fee. Fregoso underscored that the chairs are a good investment for departments: not only do all of them have warranties, they are all very adjustable and can fit a variety of users.

The showroom itself is part of a campus program called Ergonomics@Work that offers classes in computer health matters, trains departmental computer workstation evaluators, and provides ergonomic evaluations in non-computer environments such as labs, custodial, or kitchen settings.

The program has existed for 10 years. In that time, says Barbara Pottgen, Ergonomics@Work manager, “A lot of departments have become proactive.” And, happily, the number of reported injuries has leveled off. According to Pottgen, people know to report their injuries earlier. When injuries are treated at an earlier stage, they’re easier to reverse.

For information on the Ergonomics Showroom and the program’s other services, visit http://uhs.berkeley.edu/FacStaff/Ergonomics.