An Ergonomic Assessment is required if you want to address in detail individual requirements to improve health, comfort and productivity in the workplace, when a medical condition or ongoing symptoms are experienced. They can apply to computer workstation assessments, or non-computer task workstations or environments.
This workstation assessment allows implementation of reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 (this replaced the Disability Discrimination Act 1995).
Now that the Med3 ‘sick note’ is a ‘fit note‘ (since April 2010) this type of assessment can assist in the process to get the individual back to work after a period of illness, if a GP considers an individual ‘may be fit for work’.
How an Ergonomic Assessment Works
- We spend 1-2 hours with the employee in the work location, discussing their situation, medical details and assessing how the work tasks are performed.
- Some practical solutions which can be implemented immediately will be made. e.g. Assessing the sitting posture and advise regarding adjusting the chair for individual needs, especially back comfort regarding the height and depth of the lumbar support and the movement in the chair mechanism which is required, to see if a tension wheel is available and what levers adjust the angles of movement that the current chair can achieve. Also to check if the individual is sitting at the correct height to the work surface, as this is linked to the upper arm length and back length, so ensuring the gas stem height range of the chair is sufficient for the user. Correctly positioned arm rests can ensure weight is reduced on the back and can be critical in the prevention/treatment of RSI and other upper limb or shoulder and neck problems.
- Other equipment in use and all work tasks will all be assessed in depth and solutions implemented or advised upon.
- The ergonomics e.g. heights/postures and task methods in which non-computer/seated tasks are performed will also be analysed for suitability and best practice, with alternative methods or other solutions identified.
- Advise regarding the taking of suitable rest breaks and micro breaks to ensure management of symptoms and future prevention of work related ill health, e.g. pain or fatigue management and pacing principles.
- A hand-out will be provided to the individual for future reference regarding setting up the workstation equipment and posture also including pacing/pain management or fatigue/symptom management.
- A written report is sent to the referrer via email with justifications for recommendations, within 48 hours of the assessment (where possible). The report includes suggesting specific models of chairs or other items with specific quotes, product codes, costing, suppliers information and contact details for ease of ordering.
- Reduces the costs of sickness absence, insurance or litigation.
- Allows implementation of reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010.
- Increases comfort and awareness of health and maximises the work environment and individual productivity.
- Reduces the likelihood of the individual requiring lengthy sick leave due to a condition/injury etc.
- Helps in the return to work process if an individual has been off sick and the GP now considers they may be fit to work.
- Gain valuable insight into ‘best practice’ in the workplace.
- This assessment would encompass employer’s duties under the Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992/2002, if a workstation environment.
- This assessment is suitable for an employee experiencing pain or discomfort, who is currently continuing to work or is on sick leave, who may be seeking medical advice and/or treatments for their condition. The employer may have performed an internal H & S / DSE risk assessment but the discomfort and problems have continued. Therefore more specialist advice and help is required.
- This assessment can be conducted prior to an employee returning to work following a period of sick leave, in order to ensure that the work task layout and equipment are the most suitable for them.
- Advice regarding return to work graduated hours can also be recommended.
- This assessment can also help prevent ill health in employees.
See our Useful Links page which includes diagnosis specific advice from organisations which can help.