risk management

Ergonomics in the workplace

A knowledge of ergonomics can help employers maintain a safe and healthy work environment, reducing the risk of workplace injuries. Such injuries can include lower back pain, neck injuries or gradual onset Injuries.

Reducing the risk of such injuries can also reduce the need for your employees to claim for Workers Compensation.

Creating an ergonomic workplace

Your workers' work environment can greatly impact their physical and mental health. In turn, this can impact the productivity of your business. Workplace ergonomics takes into consideration the design of the overall working environment, while workstation ergonomics takes into consideration the individual needs of each worker. Some organisations employ independent auditors or assign a team to assess, report and make recommendations.

As an employer, you have a duty of care to provide a safe work environment for your employees, team and the general public. Alongside having an awareness of ergonomic risk factors, business owners have an obligation to take out Workers Compensation Insurance to protect their most important asset – their employees.

Know more about Workers Compensation Insurance

Ergonomics and your workers

It’s important to be proactive as an employer. You could provide guidance on safe work procedures to your employees and encourage your team to report on their current work environment and make changes — this may allow workers to design their environment to suit their individual needs.

For example, you may have a graphic designer and a sales representative on your team. They might have the exact same computer mouse, but their usage may be very different.

The graphic designer may rely on their mouse more intensively, whereas someone in sales may spend more time communicating via phone than with their keyboard. The graphic designer may, in time, experience issues with a strained wrist. Rather than changing an entire workstation, you could recommend switching to an ergonomic mouse and provide the designer with a selection.

By being proactive and working on a solution with employees, you may find solutions that promote healthier workplace practices.

Ergonomic assessment template

An ergonomic assessment may be used to identify risks in the workplace, along with potential solutions. Using ergonomic checklists in the workplace highlights employees' routine physical activities. Considerations for your list may include:

  • an employee’s workspace
  • hot desks or pop-up workstations
  • meeting and communal areas
  • car set-up for those who travel for their work
  • bathrooms and kitchens
  • your own workplace, and
  • remote or home offices.

Ergonomic office equipment

Ergonomic office equipment often encourages a healthy posture, while also being adjustable. For example, a mouse may have contours to support a worker’s hand and wrist whilst operating a computer. Other ergonomic office equipment may include:

  • office chairs or stools
  • computer keyboards
  • monitors and stands
  • standing or adjustable desks, and
  • laptop and computer lecterns.

Training and professional assessment

You may choose external ergonomic trainers who provide resources and suggestions to upskill your employees. Another option is ergonomic auditors who assess the current work environment, survey employees, and provide ergonomic solutions to improve the health, safety and efficiency of your team and office.

If your business has a GIO Workers Compensation Insurance policy, you also have access to discounted training courses through our partnership with the National Safety Council of Australia Foundation (NSCA). They provide specific ergonomic training alongside many helpful resources.

The benefits of ergonomics

If someone is uncomfortable in their seat or experiencing pain as they perform their tasks, then they can’t get into a rhythm with their work. Addressing ergonomic considerations in the workplace can increase efficiency, posture, morale and reinforce healthy habits. This can reduce the risk of workplace injuries and absenteeism, work-related insurance claims and the associated costs to the business.

GIO offers Workers Compensation Insurance for businesses in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, the ACT and Tasmania.

Training courses are available for GIO Workers Compensation Insurance customers to help organisations prevent workplace injuries and reduce associated claims costs.

Explore Workers Compensation Insurance

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In NSW, AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO is an agent for the Workers Compensation Nominal Insurer ABN 83 564 379 108/003, also known as icare workers insurance. In WA, ACT, TAS & NT, insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.