Your questions answered: How much is too much?

By Jeff Salton on February 13th, 2018
  1. Employee health & wellbeing
  2. Wellbeing Programs

Q
We are getting requests from staff who are wanting things such as the following:

  • ergonomic assessments – because they feel they have developed a sore neck at work;
  • ergonomic assessments – because they have aggravated a pre-existing condition at work;
  • adjustable standing desks; and
  • specific styles of chairs.

Do we really have to provide these things to workers? We are concerned that we will be opening the floodgates.

 

A
The provision of ergonomic equipment would be considered a reasonably practicable step that the organisation could take to assist in reducing the risk of harm to staff. Unless the cost would be grossly disproportionate to the gravity and likelihood of the harm the ergonomic equipment seeks to control, then the organisation would need to consider providing assessments and then, depending on those assessments, appropriate ergonomic equipment.

As cost is often a concern, organisations often look to discharge this obligation by assessing on a case-by-case basis.

The Office Safety chapter in the Health & Safety Handbook has plenty of advice and tips on what you have to provide, according to health and safety legislation, and what you might consider providing to workers.

The chapter discusses how to optimise office layout – by allowing sufficient space for equipment and workers, including foot traffic, and whether:

  • there is adequate space to perform all tasks;
  • there is sufficient room for staff to walk around the office safely; and
  • dedicated areas can be provided for tasks such as photocopying so as not to interfere with other workstations.

There is also information about how to manage the hazards in your office. For instance, you must:

  • identify what hazards exist in your office;
  • assess the risks of the hazards;
  • put control measures in place to reduce or eliminate the risks; and
  • monitor and review your control measures.

Order your copy of the Health & Safety Handbook today to ensure your office workers are not exposed to unnecessary risk or before you over-commit to requests for equipment that is not beneficial or mandatory.





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