Physical Environments / Ergonomics - Webinar Q&A

Headshot of webinar presenter Lisa Mathess.  PEAT and IAAP logos.

Questions and Answers from Webinar 2: Physical Environments / Ergonomics

Q:  Does JAN only service the US?
A:  JAN is a service provided by the United States Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy.  But they have resources on their website available to anyone.  Other consulting regarding ADA / employer legal requirements would only apply to US.

Q:  Does JAN provide interpreters for Spanish-speaking callers?
A:  JAN offers services in Spanish, has a Spanish consultant and you can view the JAN website in Spanish.

Q: How can you conduct an ergonomic evaluation virtually during these times?
A:  It would be possible to do over video, but primarily the tips provided are for self evaluations.  (will be adding a list of companies from Lisa who offer evaluations).

Q:  What color temperature should my lights be? I have lamps with lightbulbs that can change colors and also the white temperature as well.  I've heard warmer temperatures are better for less eye strain.
A: (from attendee) Regarding lighting when working on computers - I work with Low Vision Specialists and Blue Blocker Technology is a big talking point for reducing eye strain and Computer Vision Syndrome.  Appropriate lighting depends on an individual's eye conditions and can change through the day for various reasons.  The National Eye Institute and Prevent are great resources.
A: (from presenter) Full Spectrum light ( is usually considered to be the best fit for most people.  However, individual needs vary.  For example, blue light can negatively impact those with glare issues, macula problems, and sleep disorders.  There is also some research indicating that green light may be helpful to those with migraines. Anecdotally warm tones may be more comfortable, and lack the disadvantages of blue light.  However, I haven’t personally seen research on this. I personally, find yellow hues more comfortable for reading, but individuals with lighting concerns should consult their medical providers.

Q:  Can you talk more about the apps for concentration issues and where to find resources?
A:  Go to and sort by Limitation on the A-Z page.  Select Concentration and you’ll find a list of resources and companies.

Q:  Working primarily with people with visual impairments do you have recommendations for compounding considerations?
A:  We’d need to look at it on an individualized basis, because what each person needs for their ergo/vision needs could be an infinite amount of combos.  Below are two links for reference:  blindness  low vision

As for compounding concerns, I’m guessing that they are referring to things that make it harder to accommodate right now.  For one thing State AT offices and VR offices vary in terms of the services that they are offering at this time. Many AT projects have suspended device and equipment lending and in person demonstrations.  This may make it unfeasible to try before you buy as employers often want to do.  It may also be harder to get assessments.  Employees may also be deferring treatment as many ophthalmology offices are closed or are prioritizing urgent cases. Workers who need specific equipment not available in their home in order to do all functions effectively may need job restructuring, leave, or assistance to retrieve equipment from their worksite or acquire equipment for home use. Particularly for those with other health conditions, they may be unable to safely use public transportation, ride share services or taxis at this time. This is occurring as we are reaching a stage where home office set ups that work well for short term or intermittent use are no longer adequate.  

Q: Can I receive a certificate of attendance to be used for continuing education credits?
A: Yes. Email Rachel Paul at to request one.

Q:  Ideas for people with limited hand function?
A: First consideration is speech recognition programs.  Dragon comes to mind.  Also Nuance will work with your IT department to work out any technical issues.

Q:  What accommodations can be made for individuals who are deaf-blind during COVID-19 when haptic interpreter interaction may be unsafe?
A:  You can suggest the use of a refreshable braille display with the Interpretype captioning program. But that only works if the person is also a braille user.  I haven’t seen an official protocol, but a number of Deaf focused and DeafBlind focused organizations have released statements and resources related to communication needs and services such as interpreting and tactile interpreting during the current public health emergency.
Here is a link to a statement by DBI, the DeafBlind Interpreting National Training & Resource Center

Here is a link to a statement from the president of RID, the Registry of interpreters for the deaf

AADB, the American Association of the DeafBlind, has an open letter on their homepage with information on communicating with patients and for patients who are DeafBlind who need to prepare for the possibility of a hospital stay.  

Anecdotally, interpreters including tactile have been encouraged to use clear facemasks, gloves, and in some cases gowns when interpreting in medical settings, but all of these are currently in short supply.  Additional resources on DeafBlind

Q:  Where can I find the pictures and diagrams you used in your slides?
A:  On slide 15, the image was taken from
And on Slide 37, images were pulled from the Department of Defense Workbook guide

Q: I work at a Big 10 university and we are currently working remotely. Some of our employees are asking to be reimbursed for purchasing the same items for their home that they have at work. For example: if they have an ADA Accommodation for a specific chair or sit stand station, they want one at their home. We have given them the opportunity to take those items to their home., but they want them in both places. Are we responsible for providing those items at work and for their home?
A: Equipment is not always clearcut.  Is the telework being done as an accommodation vs. as a benefit of employment?  If telework is an accommodation because someone can not physically come into an office, then it makes sense to provide the equipment.  If it’s done as a benefit of employment, there is less obligation because they could come into the office and have access to any equipment they would need.  With the pandemic, requests should be considered, absent hardship, and could go through your approval process.

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