The Need: A lady working in Central London with neck pain and aches in her wrists upper limb pain which had worsened despite previous assessments and adjustments in the workplace. She was on long term sick leave, for more than 1 year and wanted to return to work.

The Objective: To assess the work tasks with the lady present with a view to her returning to work with suitable adjustments and a graduated return to work programme. Therefore an Ergonomic Assessment and Return to work programme were required.

The Solution: The lady attended the workplace in Central London for the assessment. The medical problems were discussed and advice was given on future management.

The workstation was assessed, which involved assessing the desk, chair, computer equipment in use and layout and optimal functioning of the equipment when performing various tasks. Also the performance of other tasks were assessed and the task mix and the taking of breaks and postural changes were discussed. Lighting and other environmental factors were also considered. Improvements that could be made during the assessment were conducted.

A return to work plan was agreed with the lady and with the manager, to re-introduce her to work and to gradually increase her hours over the following weeks. It was important that she did not return until the recommendations were in place and follow ups were also recommended to support her in the return to work process.

An advice sheet was provided to summarise the recommendations made and to provide the main points to consider when setting up the work area.

A full written report was compiled after the visit, summarising each factor of the work area and the recommendations. This included recommending suitable furniture and desk top items to make her more comfortable. Listing the specific products and the supplier details. Also detailing a specific plan of hours for her to commence.

The Result: The equipment was purchased and the lady was able to return to work and gradually increase her hours. She was able to implement the advice and recommendations. She gained more understanding regarding managing her medical condition when performing work tasks. Several follow up visits were conducted to provide further support, advice and set up longer work hours. Overall, contact was maintained for a further 14 months.

This lady is now working full time, managing her condition successfully and knows what her working abilities, needs and solutions are.