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Ergonomic hazards

For: Employers and managers Information seekers

Ergonomic hazards are physical factors in the environment that may cause musculoskeletal injuries.

Types of ergonomic hazards

The main areas of concern for ergonomic hazards include:

  • equipment layout and operation
  • lifting, pushing and pulling (manual handling)
  • lighting
  • noise
  • systems and computer programs
  • task, job and workplace design
  • workstation design and height.

Virtual office is tool we have developed to help you identify ergonomic health and safety risks found in office-based workplaces.

Identify risks in your office

Eliminate ergonomic hazards

Good work design

Good work design is the most effective way to eliminate hazards as the process considers health and safety issues during the concept and planning phases.

In these early stages you have the best chance to:

  • design out hazards
  • effectively control risks
  • design in efficiencies.

See Good work design for a set of principles and a handbook for good work design we helped produce as well as other guidance.

For more information see:

Manual handling (Lifting, pushing and pulling)

Hazardous manual tasks are where you must lift, lower, push, pull, carry, hold or restrain something. These tasks can include factors which stress the body, such as:

  • repetitive movement
  • high or sudden force
  • awkward postures
  • exposure to vibration.

For more information see:

Sedentary work (Sitting and standing)

Too much sitting—sitting for longer than 30 minutes without a short break and sitting all day—can harm your health.

It is associated with an increased risk of being overweight, type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, some cancers and depression.

For more information see:

Slips trips and falls

Slips, trips and falls cause thousands of preventable injuries each year. Most common are musculoskeletal injuries, cuts, bruises, fractures and dislocations, but more serious injuries can also happen.

Environmental factors which lead to slips, trips and falls are:

  • slippery surfaces following a spill or rain
  • poorly designed or maintained walkways
  • poor lighting on stairs and walkways
  • trip hazards such as badly stored materials.

For more information see:

Page last reviewed: 15 December 2019
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Date printed 27 May 2020