Ergonomics applies information about human behaviour, abilities and limitations and other characteristics to the design of tools, machines, tasks, jobs and environments for productive, safe, comfortable and effective human use. Ergonomic assessments allow for recognition of the hazard, an evaluation of the overall risk and the recommendation of a control mechanism to combat any residual risks.
Benefits of Workplace Ergonomic Assessments
It assesses the risks and hazards associated with:
- The individual’s capacity or ability to do the required work: – does it require unusual capability; endanger those who are pregnant or with a health problem; call for special training or instruction etc.
- the task of work itself: – does the work, systems of work etc, need to be changed; are technological developments reasonably practicable to utilise; is it suited to the individual concerned; could less dangerous articles, substances and system be used.
- the work environment:- is there excessive heat, cold or slippery floors; are lighting levels adequate; is there restricted movement or posture constraints on employees; are there variation in floor/work levels, strong air currents etc.
- manual handling:- can it be avoided by company organisation or mechanisation; where unavoidable, can other reasonable practicable methods such as mechanical aids be utilised; are employees instructed, trained and informed where manual handling is unavoidable; are they fitted for, and using, PPE etc.
- office work stations; chemical safety; VDUs; hazardous substances, articles etc.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 requires all employers to provide a safe place and safe system of work for the protection of staff and anyone else who may be affected. This encompasses all places of work and all hazards.
General Applications Regulations 2007, require that the employer to take measures necessary for the safety & health of employees and these measures to account of the changing circumstances and General Principles of Prevention. Accordingly, he/she must assess hazards and risks associated with the workplace, systems of work, work machinery, substances, articles, PPE, VDU, manual handling etc, as they apply to employees, self employed or others.
These findings must be recorded in the Safety Statement and be acted upon as part of the safety plan. Any changes in (or affecting) the workplace needs a review of the existing assessments.
An Ergonomic Risk Assessment is the only suitable method to investigate incidents of WRULDs (work related upper limb disorders), RSI (repetitive strain injuries), Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, “Back Problems” etc – as they might develop or occur in the workplace.
EazySAFE [incorporating Phoenix Safety] can provide a consultant to carry out a comprehensive Ergonomic Workplace Assessment, including a full written report, on your behalf.
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