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Office Ergonomics Policy

PURPOSE

This policy establishes how Company X will enhance employee comfort and well-being by identifying and correcting ergonomic risk factors on the job.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all Company X employees who are exposed to ergonomic risk factors.

REFERENCE

This procedure is developed in accordance with HSE recommendations regarding ergonomics and the Health and Safety etc Act 1974 requirement to keep workers in the workplace safe.

RESPONSIBILITIES

The following responsibilities apply to various levels within the company.

Senior management will: 

  • Require the full application and integration of this policy into daily operations, as applicable, in all areas of responsibility and with all direct reports 
  • Assess managers and supervisors on their ability to apply this policy in their areas of responsibility

The Safety Administrator will administer all aspects of this policy to include:

  • Maintaining and updating the written programme as required
  • Coordinating training for affected employees
  • Providing necessary technical assistance to managers and supervisors
  • Periodically assessing the effectiveness of this programme and its implementation in all affected areas of the company

Managers and supervisors will:

  • Know how this policy applies to those areas under their direct control
  • Integrate and enforce the provisions of this policy in their areas of responsibility
  • Periodically audit the effectiveness of this policy in their areas of responsibility
  • Coordinate training for affected employees
  • Provide appropriate coaching and corrective action when necessary to ensure this policy is fully integrated

All affected employees will:

  • Integrate the provisions of this policy into their daily activities as applicable
  • Follow all training, instructions and directives relative to this policy
  • Seek clarification whenever there are questions concerning the application of this policy into daily operations

POLICY EVALUATIONS AND UPDATES

It is our goal to maintain a safety programme that is understandable, effective and promotes a safe work environment. Any employee can make recommendations for improvement to this programme or any other aspect of our safety system. These suggestions should be directed to any member of management, any safety committee member, or to the safety administrator.

As a matter of policy, this programme will be reviewed on an annual basis by the safety administrator to determine if all aspects still meet the needs of this organisation. If there are significant events that take place during the year that indicate the programme is less than effective, an immediate evaluation will be conducted with appropriate steps taken to increase the reliability of this plan.

Date of ReviewName of ReviewerChanges Required Yes or NoCurrent Revision Number
Published date Original issue#1
    
    
    
    

DEFINITIONS

The following definitions help to clarify words or phrases found in this policy:

Ergonomics: The science of fitting the job to the worker.

Ergonomics Assessment: The process of documenting the job/task MSD risk factors including force, repetition, posture and others created by the workstation design.

Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD): Disorders of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, nerves and blood vessels; usually a result of repetitive or forceful motions that place strain on the body.

INJURY/MEDICAL MANAGEMENT

Employees are responsible for recognising and reporting early symptoms of musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses. The employee should direct reports to an immediate supervisor or to Human Resources.

After any report of an employee job-related musculoskeletal disorder, injury or illness, the Ergonomics Team will be responsible to determine if additional practices, procedures, or redesign of the workstation could be implemented to prevent similar injuries.

IDENTIFYING PROBLEM JOBS

There are several methods used to the identify jobs that are most likely to result in ergonomic disorders.  

  • Reactive: Company X annually reviews its injury and illness records to identify any patterns of ergonomic-related injuries and illnesses.
  • Proactive: Company X reviews jobs with significant ergonomic risk factors.  They may include, but are not limited to:
    • Repetition: Performance of the same motion or motion patterns every few seconds for more than two hours at a time.
    • Awkward Postures: Fixed or awkward postures including overhead reaching, maintaining a twisted or bent back, maintaining bent wrists, stooping and squatting.
    • Vibration: Use of vibrating tools.
    • Heavy Material Handling: Lifting, lowering or carrying anything weighing more than 12 kgs more than once an hour.
    • Force: Pushing, pulling or tight gripping of objects for more than two hours at a time.

Additionally, employees with individual concerns about their workstation may request an in-person evaluation by contacting the Ergonomics Team. 

ERGONOMIC ASSESSMENTS

The Ergonomics Team will conduct an ergonomic assessment of a workstation when triggered by a reactive or proactive request. The Ergonomics Team will use the checklist identified in Appendix B.

SOLUTIONS

When problems are identified for correction, supervisors and employees in the affected areas are notified. The Ergonomics Team, in conjunction with the affected employee(s), will develop possible solutions, choose the most appropriate solution, implement the changes, and follow up to determine the effectiveness. Appendix C provides recommendations of possible solutions for common office ergonomic risk factors.

For each problem job that has been altered, a file of the improvements and changes completed will be maintained. The file contains documentation of ergonomic-related illnesses or injuries, actual changes made, and any similar incidents which occurred after the changes were implemented. These files are kept in the [ENTER LOCATION].

In addition, employees will take steps to prevent musculoskeletal disorders by taking brief breaks and stretching periodically throughout the day. Stretching is an effective way to reduce the effect of risk factors on the body. 

EMPLOYEE TRAINING

Training will be conducted on sound ergonomic principles and practices to include the following:

  • How to recognise workplace risk factors associated with work-related musculoskeletal disorders and the ways to reduce exposure to those risk factors.
  • The signs and symptoms of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, the importance of early reporting and proper medical management procedures.
  • Reporting procedures and the person to whom the employee is to report workplace risk factors and work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Opportunity to practice and demonstrate proper use of implemented control measures and safe work methods that apply to the job.

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This SAMPLE policy is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of all matters relevant to its subject matter. The content should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly. © 2012-13 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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