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Contact centre worker

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As a contact centre staff member, you handle large volumes of phone calls and may also look after electronic requests that come in. You are equipped with a computer, telephone - usually with headset - and task-related information and documents.

Commonly, contact centre staff have little task variation, limited autonomy, and tight performance targets to meet with a higher risk of musculoskeletal injuries than other office workers.

The Office Safety tool can help you identify hazards and risks associated with the work you do so you can take positive action to keep yourself and others safe in the office.

Potential harm

  • Anxiety
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Stress

Top risks

  1. Musculoskeletal disorder.
  2. Customer aggression.
  3. Bullying.

What you can do for yourself

As a contact centre worker, there are actions you can take.

  • If you are not located on the same desk each workday, know how to set up your workstation to suit your physical needs.
  • Take your headset with you.
  • Learn to be a skilful communicator. Each contact with a client will be different so you may need to be able to adjust your communication style to suit each interaction.
  • Try not to raise your voice.
  • Adjust your headset if people have trouble hearing you on the phone.
  • Know and understand your rights to end a phone conversation that is rude or abusive. Your employer should have a policy or procedure in place to instruct you on how to terminate these calls.
  • Take every opportunity you can to take a micro-pause. These are short 10 second breaks where you relax your muscles, stretch and change posture.
  • Take reasonable care to ensure that your behaviour and actions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others.

Communication and consultation is vital to building a strong health and safety culture in the workplace. Ways you can contribute include to:

  • contribute at meetings
  • seek information from your intranet
  • establish an open and constructive approach to talking to colleagues and managers
  • give feedback on policy and procedures when asked.

What you can do for your team

  • Take reasonable care to ensure that your behaviour and actions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others.

What employers can do for contact centre workers

  • Train workers on the correct ergonomic set up and techniques, such as micro-pauses, to temporarily rest their muscles.
  • If staff are not located in the same place each day, allow time at the start of each shift for workers to adjust the workstation to their needs.
  • Consider sit-stand desks to allow workers the opportunity to change position more often.
  • Have a call termination procedure in place.
    This should enable workers to warn clients that abusive or rude behaviour will not be tolerated and that if it continues the call will be terminated. The procedure should also provide an escalation process for calls to be handed to more senior personnel. To accompany this, there should be a process for workers to have access to counselling services.
  • Provide break areas away from the phones.
  • Ensure rostering allows for peak times to be adequately covered while allowing periods of relief to workers through breaks.
  • Consult workers before developing software, or changes to software, to minimise keyboard and mouse use.
  • Ensure procedures are in place and workers are trained in responding to specific calls and incidents such as bomb threats, suicide and threats of violence.

More information

For more information, see:

  • Employees and other workers for complete information on the role and duties of workers, and practical strategies.
  • Ergonomic hazards for information on physical factors in the environment that may cause musculoskeletal injuries, such as sedentary work and slips, trips and falls, and how to eliminate these hazards.
  • Psychosocial hazards.
Page last reviewed: 20 May 2021

Comcare (Office Safety tool)
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 29 Jun 2022

https://www.comcare.gov.au/office-safety-tool/roles/contact-centre-worker