Health and safety at work is a big deal and employers are usually pretty clued up about their responsibilities in keeping you safe and healthy whilst you’re working.
However, being safe and looking after your wellbeing isn’t just the job of your employer. They can put every safety precaution possible in place, but you should still use your common sense and make sure that you’re looking after yourself, too.
An example would be if your employer provides you with an ergonomic chair for whilst you’re using a computer and then makes sure that it’s set up properly and correctly. This is great, but if you then slouch or sit with crossed legs all day, you’re still going to be putting your back under unnecessary strain that can cause long term pain.
Ergonomics in the workplace
HSE guidance suggests that applying ergonomics to the workplace can improve performance and productivity, whilst reducing the potential for injury, ill health and accidents.
The types of ergonomic factors that an employer should be looking out for include:
- The demands of the job e.g. does the job involve shift work, tiring work, fast paced, strenuous work or just a high volume of work?
- The equipment being used for the job e.g. its size, shape and how appropriate it is for a person to be able to carry out a task safely and comfortably.
- The physical environment e.g. is it too hot or cold, too noisy or not bright enough?
It is an employer’s responsibility to make sure that the ergonomics associated with your job are a good fit for you personally, in line with your size, strength, ability, experience and knowledge.
Example of ergonomic problems in an office
To go back to the example of working in an office, employers can provide the means and the guidance to make sure that your workstation is ergonomically assessed and proven to be compatible with you as an individual, but keeping it that way is partly your own responsibility.
A workstation layout for people working in an office should take the following ergonomic features into account:
- Your chair should be properly adjusted so that it supports your whole body comfortably
- The work surface should be an appropriate height to make sure that you can carry out tasks comfortably without having to reach or twist awkwardly
- Items that you use often should be in easy reach
- Lighting should be bright enough so that you don’t have to strain your eyes
- Your screen should be an arm’s length away from you and positioned so that the top of the screen is level with your natural line of sight
- You should be able to get up to have breaks from your screen every so often
If you work in an office and recognise that one or several of these features aren’t quite right with your workstation, you should speak to your employer about it. If your posture is uncomfortable, or you experience aches or pains at work, they will want to know about it and should work with you to put measures in place to make you more comfortable.
Other ways that you can look out for your own wellbeing at work include not taking on excessive amounts of overtime, not skipping lunch breaks and not working late too often, particularly if as a result of extra hours at work, you’re feeling exhausted, achy or in any form of pain.
Advice about posture and ergonomic assessments at work
At Positura, we offer postural health assessments that can be carried out in conjunction with one of our workplace ergonomic assessments, on behalf of both individuals and employers.
Our postural health assessments are suitable for those interested in how their posture may be impacting on their musculoskeletal health and wellbeing, as well as their productivity at work.
For more information, or to book an assessment, call us today on 07794 311201 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.