Workstation ergonomics

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 RMIT University workplaces and employees will relate to:

  • workstations (sitting and standing)
  • equipment layout and operation
  • computer systems
  • noise
  • lighting
  • 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.

If employees report problems associated with workstation use, they should:

  1. Undertake a self assessment;
  2. If problems persist, seek advice from their HSR and their direct manager; and
  3. If problems still persist, please contact your relevant Senior Advisor, Health and Safety, ext. 50600.

What you need to do

  • Consult with Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) and employees to identify any ergonomic issues.
  • 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;
  • 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.