What is ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the study of the interaction between human beings and their working environment. It can be applied directly to the user or to the design of equipment and systems within a number of industries to improve health and safety and work efficiency. It is most commonly thought of in relation to computer use.
Why do I need an ergonomics consultant?
Health and safety legislation dictates that employers assess work tasks, especially those with a foreseeable risk, and make reasonable adjustments to ensure the health, safety and comfort of employees. In particular, with regards to computer use, the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 states that all employees should be assessed at their workstations; that they should receive health and safety training and information about using their workstations and that reasonable adjustments are made to their workstations to ensure their health, safety and comfort. An ergonomics consultant, particularly one with knowledge of posture and body mechanics such as a physiotherapist, can help to identify the contributing factors to discomfort and provide reasonable, cost-effective solutions to meet legal requirements, ensure staff health and enhance productivity.
How long does an ergonomic assessment take?
For workstation assessments, this can vary from 15-20 minutes for ‘primary intervention’ assessments, designed to prevent the uninjured worker from developing symptoms, to approximately one hour for people with more complex difficulties associated with DSE use, such as employees who are registered disabled. Return to Work Assessments depend on the nature of the role and can take up to 2 hours. A full ergonomic assessment of a job role or roles usually takes 1-2 days.
What is DSE?
DSE stands for Display Screen Equipment and can mean any VDU including video screens and security monitors but usually refers to computer users. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 sets out a set of standards that employers must adhere to if their staff are classed as DSE ‘users’ (that is that they use a computer for a significant part of their role).
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