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While it’s understandable that some people may see ergonomic assessments as a ‘nice to do’ or just another legal responsibility, these offer real value to workplaces.
Workstation risk assessments are a legal requirement under EU Directive 90/270/EEC, but they also bring a host of benefits to businesses.
A workstation risk assessment is designed to help people to work more efficiently and comfortably and reduce workplace injuries. This makes the working day easier, improves health and wellbeing and boosts productivity.
These assessments can put a big focus on workstations because there are considerable health implications of working at a desk for long hours. The ergonomic workstation assessment is designed to make sure that desk work doesn’t lead to injuries or long-term health issues.
With any assessment it’s always recommended that you look at the whole workstation environment and the needs of the person working within it. It’s important to talk to users to find out how they carry out daily tasks and whether they experience any aches or pains.
Assessments should be carried out regularly, or whenever a new workstation is set up, when a new person starts, when a workstation is changed or if anyone says they are experiencing pain or discomfort.
Download our workstation assessment checklist here. You can also complete our Online Healthy Workstation Assessment for free here, and you will receive instant personalised results to improve your comfort, health and productivity at your workstation.
1. Can the chair height be adjusted so that the user’s thighs are parallel or slightly sloping to the floor?
If no: The user should be provided with an adjustable chair.
2. Can the user’s feet rest flat to the floor?
If no: Lower their chair or get a footrest so that the user’s feet can rest flat to a surface. If lowering the chair, ensure that the desk surface is still positioned at elbow height.
3. Does the chair support the user’s lower back?
If no: Adjust the chair back or add a lumbar support to the chair.
4. When the user’s back is supported, can they sit without feeling pressure from the chair seat on the back of their knees?
If no: Adjust the seat back or add a lumbar support to the chair.
5. Do armrests allow the user to work close to their workstation, with forearms horizontal to floor and elbows bent at 90°?
If no: Adjust or remove the armrests so that the user can sit close to their desk, with their keyboard and mouse within easy reach.
1. Are the keyboard, mouse and work surface at elbow height of the user?
If no: Raise or lower the workstation, chair or keyboard to ensure the user’s elbows are at the same height as the desk’s surface.
2. Are the user’s most frequently used items within easy reach?
If no: Rearrange the desk accessories and consider using ergonomic accessories, such as a document support.
3. Is the keyboard close to the front edge of desk with enough room for the user’s wrists to rest on their work surface?
If no: Move the user’s keyboard to the front of the workstation.
4. Are the user’s wrists straight, and their upper arms relaxed when they are using the keyboard and mouse?
If no: Check the chair height, the user’s posture and the height of the keyboard so that the user can work with straight wrists and their upper arms’ in a relaxed position.
5. Is the mouse the same level as, and close to, the keyboard?
If no: Move the mouse closer to the keyboard. A good position could be to the immediate left or right of the keyboard.
6. Is the mouse comfortable to use, with no pain or aches being caused to the user’s wrist?
If no: Consider getting an ambidextrous or ergonomic mouse to relieve wrist pressure for the user.
1. Is the monitor directly in front of the user?
If no: Reposition the monitor on the workstation so the screen is in front of the user.
2. Is the monitor about an arm’s length from the user?
If no: Reposition the monitor so it is an arm’s length away from the user.
3. Is the monitor slightly below eye level?
If no: Ensure the monitor is at the eye height by using a monitor arm or monitor support.
4. Is the monitor free from glare?
If no: Adjust any overhead lighting or lower any blinds at windows to adjust the natural lighting, or use an anti-glare screen.
1. If the user is required to regularly work with papers and documents, is there a sloped desk surface for reading and writing?
If no: Give the user a writing slope so they can view documents from a more ergonomic position.
2. Is there a document holder next to the screen if required?
If no: Give the user a document holder so that they can view documents more easily if they are referring to these while working at a screen.
3. Does the user need to regularly use the phone while writing or typing?
If no: Provide the user with a headset so that they can make and take hands-free phone calls while using their keyboard and monitor.
1. If the user usually works on a laptop, is the laptop screen positioned just below their eyeline and do they have a separate keyboard and mouse?
If no: Give the user a laptop riser that will help to position their screen at the right height. Always use a separate keyboard and mouse to help the user work in an ergonomic position, at the correct distance from their laptop.
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