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Ergonomic hazards

An ergonomic hazard is a physical factor within the environment that harms the musculoskeletal system. Ergonomic hazards include themes such as repetitive movement, manual handling, workplace/job/task design, uncomfortable workstation height and poor body positioning.

Ergonomics is the study of how a workplace, the equipment used there and the work environment itself can best be designed for comfort, efficiency, safety and productivity. Often we can improve our levels of comfort and productivity with relatively simple changes.

Although ergonomics is a broad field, the main areas of concern for workplaces and employees will often relate to:

  • workstations (sitting and standing)
  • equipment layout and operation
  • computer systems
  • noise
  • lighting
  • thermal comfort
  • maintenance tasks performed on plant items.

Ergonomic issues can be associated with a wide range of concerns including the physical design of workstations, workspaces, the working environment, tools, vehicles, computer programs and plant. It can also involve cognitive processes such as those involved with workload, decision making, skilled performance and stress. There are procedures for dealing with all these issues to make sure any difficulties are addressed.

Page last updated: 10 May 2019