Ergonomics and Workspace
Ergonomics is the study of how a workplace, the equipment used there and the work environment itself can best be designed for comfort, efficiency, safety and productivity. Often we can improve our levels of comfort and productivity with relatively simple changes.
Although ergonomics is a broad field, the main areas of concern for DEECD workplaces and employees will relate to:
- workstations (sitting and standing);
- equipment layout and operation;
- computer systems;
- thermal comfort; and
- maintenance tasks performed on plant items.
Where/when will these issues be relevant?
Ergonomic issues can be associated with a wide range of concerns including the physical design of workstations, workspaces, the working environment, tools, vehicles, computer programs and plant. It can also involve cognitive processes such as those involved with workload, decision making, skilled performance and stress. There are procedures for dealing with all these issues to make sure that any difficulties are addressed.
What do I need to do?
- Consult with Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) and employees to identify any ergonomic issues. See Workstation Ergonomic Risk Assessment Form;
- Wherever practicable, make sure that suitable risk controls are implemented for any reported ergonomic hazard;
- Review the OHS requirements relating to noise, lighting and thermal comfort as outlined in the Hygiene Management Procedure;
- Review injury reports paying particular attention to reports of pain in the back, neck, shoulders or upper limbs; and
- Make sure that employees have their workstations set up correctly. See Workstation Ergonomic Risk Assessment Form.
If employees report problems associated with workstation use, they should:
- Undertake a self assessment with their manager;
- If problems persist, seek advice from their HSR and their direct manager; and
- If problems still persist, contact the OHS Advisory Service on 1300 074 715.
Legislation, Guidance and Codes of Practice
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007
WorkSafe Victoria - Officewise – A Guide to Health and Safety in the Office
Australian Standard AS 1680-1976 Interior Lighting and the Visual Environment
Australian Standard AS 2713 Lighting and the Visual Environment for Screen-Based Tasks
Australian Standard AS 1668.2 Mechanical Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality
Hygiene Management Procedure (PDF - 235Kb)
Ergonomics Procedure (PDF - 172Kb)
Screen Based Workstation Ergonomic Risk Management Form (PDF - 254Kb)
DEECD OHS Advisory Service on 1300 074 715
DEECD Regional OHS/WorkSafe Advisors