Workstation Ergonomics in the Office

What is workstation ergonomics?

Workstation Ergonomics is an applied science of designing systems and environments to most suit the human body and work processes.

Consequently, it helps to increase productivity and meet health & safety obligations.

Ergonomics in the office can increase productivity in two ways:

  1. by examining an individuals workstation and arranging it in such a way that they can more easily perform their tasks

  2. by helping to alleviate pain and discomfort

Why is workstation ergonomics important?

Manual handling is broadly accepted as a significant source of workers compensation claims and ‘lost time’ due to injury, what is not as well know is that sitting at a workstation all day in a poor posture can cause significant damage to your musculoskeletal system as well.

Workstation ergonomics for the office targets this problem and looks to adjust workstations to fit individual users because an incorrectly set-up workstation predisposes a worker to injury.

Training in workstation ergonomics

The law requires provision of “any information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety” (WHS Act 2011, Section 19 F).

We have services that can assist with this:

individual attention to each employee in our “Workstation Ergonomics Assessments” where an assessor will spend one-on-one time with each worker and help them to set up their workstation ergonomically. The assessor will also be able to answer individual questions or concerns about office ergonomics: Workstation Ergonomic Assessment

Practical training for all staff in how to set up their workstation, including why it is important. Training can also cover safe manual handling practices.

BackBasics Workstation Set-up Course

Workplace health & safety law and workstation ergonomics

Persons conducting businesses or undertakings have a duty under workplace health and safety law to ensure the health and safety of their staff in regard to ‘hazardous manual tasks’. (WHS Regulation 2011, Clause 60)

While it may not even appear that working at a computer is a ‘manual task’ it in fact has the following characteristics of a ‘hazardous manual task’ (as defined in the Regulations)

  • it involves repetitive movement, and

  • it involves a sustained posture

These two characteristics directly stress the body and can lead to injury or disease.

This means it could contribute to a Musculoskeletal Disorder (a disorder of the muscular or skeletal system resulting from overuse – see Manual Handling Training for more information). Employers are required to manage the risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders to their workers (WHS Regulation 2011, Clause 60).

You are welcome to download and distribute the article in your workplace if you feel it may be useful

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Courtenell Pty Ltd

as Trustee for the Vowles Family Trust

WHS Training Specialists, Sydney, Australia  

train@courtenell.com.au ~ PO Box 622 Broadway NSW 2007

ABN: 42164393628 ~ ACN: 050109281