Workstation Ergonomics Assessment & Training
I was wondering what other PCBUs have done to support staff members who spend a large portion of their day sitting or standing at a desk? Any good resource materials to promote good posture, correct sitting/standing? Or training providers used that you found really good/relevant who give tips or demonstrated good practice?
We have an in house occ health nurse which is the ideal solution.
Not everyone can do this, though, so
has some good basics.
We have an occupational healthcare provider, OK Health, that do our pre-employment and annual health checks, they also do out workstation assessments when an issue is identified. When an issue is identified in an individual, we generally offer the service to the entire team.
ACC has some fairly good guidelines
A really good step forward for any workplace is providing adjustable height desks or similar and then teaching staff how to adjust them properly. I injured my back this year and can testify that without my sit/stand desk, I would not have been able to return to work as quickly as I did.
Marion Edwin, HASANZ registered ergonomist from Optimise Ltd
puts on courses to teach people how to manage workstation risks. She uses the ACC guidelines, applies a H&S risk management approach and makes it practical. Best thing is you come away with knowing how to support the workplace with overall healthy desk set-ups and work practices and you learn when it is time to engage an ergonomist or occupational provider for further assistance. I found this course provides great value as we can now manage most of our requirements inhouse, and in a proactive and preventative way.
After doing this course my eyes were opened as to how many products are on the market which claim to be ergonomic but actually only cater to a few people's needs. One of the biggest barriers is procurement and the fact that a lot of manufacturers appear to be catering to the average (tall) European. Sadly, I have not managed to find a sit/stand desk with a full height range to cater for both short and tall people. What complicates this is that in a modern open-plan office setting, desks tend to be integrated rather than standalone.
On a side note - In the past ACC had an online resource which included stretching posters for different work environments/industries, offices being one of them. Sadly, last I looked this resource has been taken off-line. Perhaps other Safeguard users still have these posters saved somewhere and can share them via the forum?
the ACC website on Discomfort, Pain and Injury is still very useful.
Thanks to Michelle Dykstra for covering some of the key messages! If you look under resources on my website Jennifer, I have a free DIY computer workstation setup sheet that you are welcome to use -
The musculoskeletal health risks and guidance around this has not yet been picked up by WorkSafe but I am hopeful that 2020 will see a range of helpful resources in this field, and greater clarity about what good looks like. It has not yet received the attention it requires. Unfortunately the WorkSmart Tips web resource was several months ago taken down by ACC (without consultation) and has not been replaced with anything similar. HabitAtWork is getting 'clunky' on many IT systems, but is still a useful resource if you can get it to go (try it on Internet Explorer if it is being problematic).
I don't believe that it is always necessary or desirable to use external assessors, and believe we could do much better at ensuring that managers and operational teams have appropriate knowledge to manage the day to day risks appropriately - along with H and S generalists. However these people do need to be given the right expertise, so should be able to demonstrate some specific training in the field. There are providers out there offering what I believe are pretty sketchy assessments and recommendations.
Through HASANZ we have done some initial work on breaking down the skills of professionals from the various H and S disciplines and their contributions to this issue. Ensuring effective job and task design, and making sound equipment procurement decisions is critical. I note that rehab providers focused on individual injury rehab needs may not have the requisite skill sets to provide this knowledge.
Desks and chairs might not be rocket science... but it sure is people science.
Merry Christmas folks!
Marion, Ergonomist, Optimise Ltd
At Napier, we have got most staff in the offices with sit / standing work stations. It is fabulous. Those with extra issues, re backs for example, have fatigue mats. The fatigue mats certainly make a huge difference if standing for long periods of time.
Interesting topic. Anyone remember ANZ? Back in the day every tom dick and harry was getting RSI / OOS. You don't hear so much about it nowadays. Supplanted by stress, now bullying.
I'm a firm advocate of keeping things simple. Micro pauses and restbreaks. Essentially keep moving. Fancy desks and chairs etc do nothing if you dont keep moving. We are simply not designed to stay static with un-relenting repetitive actions.
Top tip. Encourage getting up for a glass of water (Can be any liquid of your choice) at regular intervals. Then let nature do its job - the person will be off to the loo in no time. Repeat.
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