School operations

Ergonomics and Workspace

Identifying ergonomic and workspace hazards and risks

In a workplace, it is important to proactively assess the environment for ergonomic hazards to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injury occurring.

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

  • workstations (sitting and standing)
  • equipment and classroom layout and operation
  • noise
  • lighting
  • thermal comfort.

The principal or their delegate must identify ergonomic and workspace hazards in their school, in consultation with school staff who are or are likely to be affected, and health and safety representatives (HSR), where elected.

Hazards can be identified through workplace inspections, discussions regarding tasks and staff concerns, reviewing injury records (including eduSafe Plus data), or through the use of ergonomic workstation/workspace checklists.

Ergonomic workstation/workspace checklists

The ergonomic workstation/workspace checklists provide a practical self-assessment tool for school staff to identify potential problem areas and to determine suitable amendments to their setup.

Workstation/workspace checklists are encouraged to be used when:

  • new school staff are onboarded
  • a school staff member changes workstation or fixed location, such as moving to a different school or school office location
  • school staff report pre-existing injury or illness (refer to Ongoing management of ergonomics and workspaces for a full list of relevant policies) or any pain and discomfort at work.

The following checklists are available for use:

Regular review of the workstation setup aims to identify and address issues before they become a concern. Where working in agile environments, such as moving between classrooms, these checklists provide guidance to quickly check and consider the correct setup guidance.

For further support on using the checklists, all staff and principals can contact the OHS Advisory Service on 1300 074 715.

Following the completion of an ergonomic workstation/workspace checklist, staff are encouraged speak with their principal or delegate about their results. The principal or their delegate must ensure the identified hazards are documented in the school’s OHS risk register (XLSX)External Link .

Ergonomic assessment by an expert assessor such as an ergonomist, physiotherapist or occupational therapist

Following the completion of an ergonomic workstation/workspace checklist, an ergonomic assessment or workplace adjustment for an employee by an expert assessor will be required when:

  • there is any pain or discomfort or musculoskeletal injury
  • a staff member requests an assessment or is seeking reasonable adjustment suited to their needs
  • recommended by a health professional.

Ergonomic assessments can be requested by all staff via the OHS Advisory Service at no cost. Staff are encouraged to discuss the need for an external assessment with their principal prior to calling.

Includes information on main areas of concern for schools, checklists and ergonomic assessments

Reviewed 22 March 2024

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