Policy last updated
15 June 2020
- School councils
The purpose of this policy is to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders associated with ergonomic arrangements and work design in schools.
- The requires the department to provide or maintain systems of work and a working environment that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health.
- The principal and/or their delegate, in consultation with the health and safety representatives and employees, must identify and assess risk factors in work design that contribute to musculoskeletal disorders work related injuries.
- The principal and/or their delegate must control any risks associated with work design, workstation set up and operation.
- Under the OHS Act 2004, employees while at work must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and the safety of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions.
- Central and regional offices provide a range of supports and services to assist principals and employees to be safe and well, including access to the OHS advisory service and local OHS regional officers who can provide free advice on managing risks related to ergonomics.
- The (in the Procedure tab) must be followed, and sets out the practical step-by-step instructions for implementing this policy.
- This policy forms part of the department’s OHS management system, refer to for further information.
The principal and/or their delegate in consultation with the health and safety representatives and employees must:
- ensure that ergonomic hazards relating to poor design of tools, equipment, workstation or work practices are identified and recorded on the
- ensure that identified ergonomic hazards are assessed for risk. The following templates may assist schools to assess the ergonomic risk:
- establish and implement controls to eliminate or reduce the identified ergonomic or workspace risk in the OHS risk register and or relevant template
- ensure that all employees have been provided with adequate equipment for tasks undertaken
- ensure that employees have been provided with relevant information, instruction and/or training in the use of equipment and work practices
- ensure that completed training is added to the or equivalent
- review the controls implemented to ensure their effectiveness in managing the risk, and incorporate any changes to controls on the OHS risk register
- maintain records of the identification and assessment of ergonomic hazards
The process of designing and/or modifying tools, materials, equipment, plant, work spaces, tasks, jobs, products, systems and environments to match the physical and mental capabilities and limitations of users, including those with special needs and those returning to work following injury or illness. It also involves cognitive processes such as perception, memory, reasoning, decision making and motor response.
An ergonomic hazard is a physical or psychosocial factor in a work system or work environment that can cause biomechanical stress and damage to the human musculoskeletal system. Ergonomic hazards include examples such as repetitive movement, manual handling, workplace / job / task design, uncomfortable workstation set up and poor body positioning.
An injury or illness that affects muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage or spinal discs.
Ergonomics and Workspace Procedure
The Ergonomics and Workspace Procedure must be followed and sets out the practical step-by-step instructions for implementing the Ergonomics and Workspace Policy.
It contains the following chapters:
- Ergonomic hazard identification
- Risk assessment
- Implement controls
- Record risk controls
- Monitor and review risk controls
- Legislation, codes of practice, standards and guidance
1 Ergonomic hazard identification
1 Ergonomic Hazard Identification
Ergonomics is the study of how a workplace, the equipment used 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 schools and employees will relate to:
- workstations (sitting and standing)
- equipment layout and operation
- thermal comfort
- manual handling
- psychological hazards (e.g. work pressure)
If an ergonomic issue is identified it should be reported to the principal or their delegate and/or the Health and Safety Representative (HSR).
2 Risk assessment
2 Risk assessment
The principal and/or their delegate, in consultation with the HSR and employees, must assess the risk using one of the following templates:
In assessing the risk, the frequency and duration of exposure should be established to determine how to best control the hazard.
2.1 Workstation Risk Assessment Request
The principal or their delegate, in consultation with the HSR and employees, must ensure that employees that request a workstation assessment must:
- complete the Department's (login required)
- complete the Workstation Risk Assessment (under Resources tab)
Once completed the principal or their delegate must ensure controls are implemented.
3 Implement controls
3 Implement controls
The principal and/or their delegate, in consultation with the HSR and employees, must ensure that controls to manage ergonomic and workspace risks are identified and implemented using the order of the hierarchy of controls.
- elimination (for example, job re-design)
- substitution (for example, replace a telephone headset with a wireless headset)
- isolation (for example, locating the photocopier in a separate, well ventilated room away from employees)
- engineering (for example, providing noise barriers in a technology room)
- administration (for example, complete the ergonomics eLearning module)
4 Record risk controls
5 Monitor and review risk controls
6 Legislation, codes of practice, standards and guidance
Templates to assist schools in assessing ergonomic risk
Other templates relevant to this policy and procedure
Reviewed 20 March 2020