Radiology & Sonography

Ergonomics for Clinical Support & Diagnostic Services – Radiology & Sonography

As an occupational group, sonographers and those in other imaging fields have been identified as high risk groups for developing work-related musculoskeletal injuries such as inflammation of the tendons (tendonitis), bursitis, muscle strains, and pathology of the nerves in the upper extremities, neck, and back. Common risk factors include awkward and static postures related to the design of workstations and repetitive forceful exertion associated with manual patient transfers and lifting. The following resources should provide information about the extent of the problem, as well as guidance and resources for solutions.

On this page:

Guidelines & Toolkits

White Papers


Other Resources

Also refer to Resources on the Safe Patient Handling Acute Care and Equipment Guide and Resources Pages

Guidelines and Toolkits

Industry Standards for the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Sonography – Developed through a consensus conference hosted by Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. This consensus standard outlines ergonomic equipment considerations that should be made prior to equipment purchase and set-up.  It is also intended to assist stakeholders in making informed decisions about administrative control options and working best practices.

Preventing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Sonography (2006)NIOSH Publication No. 2006-148.

White Papers

Sound Ergonomics, provides a collection of White papers written about sonography/scanner interface, including:

  • Scanner/Sonographer Interface
  • Minimizing Workplace Injuries among Sonographers
  • Ergonomics and Sonographer Well-being in Practice
  • The Value of Ergonomically Designed Ultrasound Systems
  • Ultrasound Ergonomics
  • Sonographer Occupational Musculoskeletal Disorders: What Are They and How Can They Be Prevented
  • Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMDs) in Sonography: The Ergonomics and Economics of Properly Designed Exam Room Equipment

Articles & Publications

An Update on Ergonomic Issues in Sonography (2000). Murphy, C and Russon, A.  HealthCare Benefit Trust.

Morbidity among X-ray technologists (2004). Kumar, S., Moro, L., and Narayan, Y. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 33(1): 29-40.

MSI Prevention Bulletin 1 – General X-ray Technologist. General X-ray technologists are exposed to many different musculoskeletal injury (MSI) risk factors. This bulletin from WorkSafe BC provides information regarding the typical musculoskeletal issues faced by these workers and some possible risk control measures to either eliminate or minimize the MSI risk.

Quantification of scan-specific ergonomic risk-factors in medical sonography (2010). Burnett, D.R., and Campbell-Kyureghyan, N.H.International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 40(3): 306-314.

Preventing Occupational Injury among Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (2006). Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

Sonography Ergonomic Guidelines. This document contains in place stretching ideas as well as some photos of correct positioning and incorrect positioning.

Sound Ergonomics has gathered numerous articles related to sonography ergonomics. Their collection can be found at : The article titles available include:

Cardiovascular Sonography: The Painful Art of Scanning

Industry Standards for the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Sonography

Musculoskeletal Injuries: An occupational health and Safety issue in Sonography

Musculoskeletal Pain in Cardiac Ultrasonographers: Results of a Random Survey

Musculosketal Symptomatology and Repetitive Strain Injuries in Diagnostic Sonographers

Preventing Occupational Injury Among Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Prevalence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Other Work-Related Musculoskeletal Problems in Cardiac Sonographers

Sonographers And Work Related Upper Limb Disorders (WRULD)
An overview of current knowledge

Surface EMG Evaluation of Sonographer Scanning Postures

The Causes of Musculoskeletal Injury Amongst Sonographers in the UK

The Potential Reduction in Musculoskeletal Injury Risk in the Non-Scanning Arm by Utilizing Voice-Scan Technology During Ultrasound Examinations
The Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Disorders and Related Work and Personal Factors Among Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Ultrasound Clinics: Preventing work-related injuries among sonographers and sonologists

Work Site Assessment: A tool for Reducing Risk Exposure for Work-Related Injury and for improving Productivity

Work-Related Musculoskeletal Complaints in Sonologists

MRI Technician

Other Resources

Improving Design through Ergonomics Analysis (2004). Presentation completed by students at Cornell describing their approach to ergonomic issues in the Laboratory and Radiology settings.

The OSHA Hospital E-Tool Healthcare Module for Radiology. This site contains some ideas for ergonomics as well as other common hazards that might be found in the Radiology department.

Working Safely In Health Care a Practical Guide (2007).  Ed - D. Fell Carlson. Thomson Delmar Learning. Chapter 3 discusses how to Perform Clinical Tasks Safely by applying ergonomics principles to prevent injuries.