When should you consider implementing an ergonomic workstation consultation for a worker?
Author: Heath Williams, Occupational Health Osteopath
One of the most common questions we get from companies that we work is “when should an ergonomic workstation assessment be conducted for a worker?”.
Often the answer to this question will depend on the circumstances, however I have tried to summarize below the most common situations for when an ergonomic workstation consultation should be implemented.
- Workers who spend a considerable amount of their working day at a workstation and interacting with the inputting devices, viewing monitors and either sitting or standing at their workstation. The more time a person interacts with the workstation, the greater higher the risk of issues arising if hazards are present.
- Workers who have no or limited knowledge about the hazards and risks associated with working at workstation. This may include the basics relating to how to set up the chair, desk, monitors and inputting devices to suit their needs, but may also relate to those who have limited knowledge around the various risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders.
- Workers who have a change in job role, job tasks or work environment should undergo a workstation risk assessment as hazards and risks may change. This might look like a worker who has changed roles from a more active office based role that has them interacting across a variety of work areas to a more sedentary job role. This can also look like a worker who job tasks change and therefore how they interact with their equipment changes. Workers whose environment changes i.e. moving from an office based role to a hybrid office/home model means they should have new work environments reviewed.
- Workers who have a previous or current history of musculoskeletal complaints where their job tasks and interaction with the work environment either aggravates or maintains their complaint.
- Workers who have been provided new or additional equipment as part of their job role or tasks. Reviewing their set up can assist in educating them on best practice ergonomics and how to adjust the equipment or how they work to suit to their needs.
The second most common question we get from companies we work with is “what type of ergonomic consult is most suitable?”
Again the answer to this will depend on the circumstances. For large organisations looking to educate workers on best practice and raise their awareness of hazards and risks, whilst also reviewing their set up and making changes to optimise their set up, then a 10 or 15 minute desk check is likely to suffice. For workers who have aches and pains that may or may not be work related, a longer consult is recommended i.e. 30 minutes. For workers who have multiple musculoskeletal complaints and/or other challenges relating to their job tasks and workstation, then a 45-75 minute consultation is recommended.
Following all of our ergonomic consults we will also look to provide the company with reporting that reflects the consult undertaken. Our 10 minute desk sweeps will come with a broad overview of findings and recommendations, whereas our 15 minute will come with a 1 page report per worker. Our longer consults i.e. standard 30-45 minute or specialised 45-75 minutes consults will come with longer multiple page reports.
If you would like to find out more about our various ergonomic services, please click the link below:
This blog post was written by Occupational Health Osteopath and Director of Corporate Work Health Australia Heath Williams.