Safe workstation setup
What is a Safe workstation setup?
A workstation is a place where work of a particular nature is carried out. A safe workstation set up is the setting up a workstation in such a way to prevent injuries from prolonged work and overuse of arms, neck, hands and back.
What is the purpose of a Safe workstation setup?
Safe workstation setup seeks to prevent injuries that can occur from poor posture created from a poorly setup workstation.
The purpose of a safe workstation set up is to reduce the risk of employees suffering from ill health and to keep employees’ body posture in a neutral position to reduce pain and strain.
To minimise the risk of ill health the following general principles should be applied:
To assess the task to minimise the amount of physical work, (e.g. automate, use correctly designed equipment);
To assess who is going to use the workstation, (e.g. able bodied or disabled, exceptionally short or tall);
To keep the body posture in a neutral position, (e.g. no twisting of the neck or the back and no bent wrists).
Where does setting up a safe workstation fit in the establishment of a new project task?
- What comes before? A new work task or a new worker is required to work within a designated workspace
- Setting up a safe workstation
- What comes after? Monitoring of the effectiveness of a safe workstation
What are the different aspects of a Safe workstation setup?
- Correct workstation setup Workstations should be designed so that workers can carry out their work in a comfortable, upright position with shoulders relaxed and upper arms close to the body
- Chairs Chairs should be fully adjustable to accommodate different sized workers and should have the ideal specifications for comfortable and efficient use.
- Desks Desks should also be height adjustable to suit different people and also to provide adequate knee and leg clearance under the work surface.
- Rest-Breaks Take regular rest breaks if you are working at your computer for long periods. You should take a 2-3 min rest break if you have been typing for 30min.
- Self–Assessment checklist A self assessment checklist is for managers, supervisors and workers to identify and correct workstation issues. After completing the checklist, areas that require improvement are identified and forward the checklist to the relevant manager.
What are the components or elements of a Safe workstation setup?
There are many components of a safe workstation setup and these two are the most prominent ones:
Workstation Assessment Procedure
The individual needs to complete an ergonomic training which teaches how to adjust your own workstation, then he adjusts their own workstation (in the office and at home).
If the individual has specific concerns then the Health and Safety Unit can carry out a workstation assessment.
The H&S Safety Unit can make recommendations for special chairs/ergonomic equipment. Any items identified are purchased by the individual’s work unit and must be approved by the supervisor/head of unit before the purchase is made.
If an individual has a medical condition which may have been attributed to their workstation, this should be recorded as in injury in a special online system.
Workers with disabilities or special needs
If an individual has a disability a special third party screening or assessment should be done to find out the ideal solution in the workplace. They can also provide funding toward any adjustments needed (e.g. new chair/desk). Generally this is for a temporary or permanent disability that affects every day work activities and has lasted or is likely to last 2 years.
If following a workstation assessment it’s determined that the reasonable adjustments required are costly, funding may be sought for the provision of these special equipment. A work unit can claim for costs of items necessary for the individual and this includes temporary as wells as long-term disabilities. The costs are spread between the individual’s unit budget and the central funds, depending on the cost of the item. However the costs of building modifications to the building and ramps, remain the responsibility of FM.
Steps to setting up your workstation
A well formulated safe workstation set up guide has efficient and well-discussed step by step guide on how it is done. There should be properly labelled illustrations on how the employee should sit, use different facilities and how different equipment and tools that employees usually use should be placed in an office or business. Setting up a workstations may also benefit different kinds of individuals like short people, differentially abled people and pregnant women. All these should be considered in creating a safe and healthy work environment.
Where can I find more information about a Safe workstation setup?