Ergonomics and Workstation Assessments

Work Health and Safety Ergonomics and workstation assessments

One of the biggest contributors to injuries in the tertiary education sector is in the area of ergonomics.

Ergonomics encompasses a range of elements, including the interface between the employee and the job, and considers factors such as:

  • The physical and psychological demands on the employee that are necessary to perform the job
  • The mechanical equipment used to perform the job, and
  • The work space in which the employee is required to perform the task.

What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics examines the relationship between a person and the elements of their workplace associated with the task at hand. Ergonomics can apply to three levels of activity in the workplace:

  1. Workstation design
  2. Workplace design, and
  3. Job design

Ergonomic workstations assessments can be beneficial and help reduce the risk of injury by taking into account the workstation design, workplace design and job design to ensure best practices are in place.

What is a workstation assessment?

The goal of a workstation assessment is to assess you at your workstation, to identify potential problem areas, and to determine suitable amendments and recommendations that can be made.

The assessment will take into consideration fundamental ergonomic principles to make your workstation layout more comfortable for you.

When to consider a workstation assessment

You should consider a workstation assessment if you:

  • Are a new employee
  • Are experiencing pain and/or discomfort throughout the day
  • Find you are feeling more fatigued than usual
  • Have recently experienced an injury, and/or
  • Have long-term chronic injury or illness.

What types of workstation assessments are available?

Different types of workstation assessments available include:

  • A self-assessment using an approved checklist
  • Assessment by the Health, Safety and Environment Unit's Injury Prevention and Management Advisor, or
  • Assessment by an external provider.

Self-assessment checklist for employees

The self-assessment checklist is a free tool available for all employees to assess their own workstation. The self-assessment form and guidelines can be found here:

Assessment by a JCU Injury Prevention and Management Advisor

The Health, Safety and Environment Unit can provide workstation assessments for employees. A workstation assessment with the JCU Injury Prevention and Management Advisor is free of charge to employees, and should be considered if an employee has completed the self-assessment form and would like further assessment. To request an assessment, please contact rehab@jcu.edu.au.

External provider assessment

An external assessment can be arranged by contacting the JCU Injury Prevention and Management Advisor. An external assessment would only usually be arranged under special circumstances and is not a common practice. For further information, please contact rehab@jcu.edu.au.

Who pays for an external provider assessment or new equipment?

If it has been identified that an external assessment would be beneficial, the cost of the assessment will be payable by the employee's business unit. Specific furniture or items for your workstation must also be covered by the employee's business unit if deemed necessary. It is the responsibility of the employee's business unit to purchase such items.

What happens when the assessment is complete?

  • If you have completed the self-assessment checklist, you should forward a copy to the JCU Injury Prevention and Management Advisor at rehab@jcu.edu.au.
  • If you have identified necessary changes, such as new furniture or items, you should discuss this with your supervisor and the JCU Injury Prevention and Management Advisor.
  • If the JCU Injury Prevention and Management Advisor has conducted an assessment, you and your supervisor will receive a report with recommendations.
  • If an external provider has conducted an assessment, you and your supervisor will receive a report with recommendations.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Health, Safety and Environment Unit for further information or assistance:

Injury Prevention and Management Advisor
Phone (07) 4781 6182
rehab@jcu.edu.au