HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP QUALITY?

A good sleep is essential to good health. Insufficient sleep and poor quality sleep increases the risk of health problems. Sleep is just as important as regular exercise or eating healthy. You spend about a third of your time sleeping during the day. What if you don’t sleep well? How to improve your sleep? What are the benefits of sleep?

Sleep Cycle

How much do you need? Your needs and your sleep patterns change by age but also varies significantly by person. There is no number of sleep that works for everyone. A baby sleeps around 10-16 hours a day, while an elderly person sleeps around 4-5 hours per night. Most adults sleep around 6-9 hours per night. Your sleep quality depends on the sleep cycle you are going through during the night.

Stage 1  is Transmission. This is the changeover from wakefulness to light sleep and this stage last around 5 minutes. You can be easily woken up in this stage.

Stage 2  is Light sleep. Your heartbeat slows down, body temp drops and eye movement stops. During this stage your brain activity slows down. This stage last around 15-20 minutes.

Stage 3 is Deep sleep. The deepest sleep occur, you can have difficulty waking up. Brainwaves become even slower and all the muscles in your body relax. This stage last around 30 min.

Stage 4 is REM sleep. In this stage most dreams occurs. Your eyes move from left to right behind closed eyelids. The brain is becoming more active, breathing becomes faster and irregular, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase to near waking levels. You go through all stages every 90 minutes. Remember that sleep quality is more important than your sleep quantity. 

 

Advantages and Disadvantages

Poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your body. Hormones, exercise performance, brain function as your concentration. When a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality of sleep for a longer period of time, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and obesity.  

 

4 Tips to improve your sleep quality

A good night’s sleep is not normal for everyone. What to do if you don’t sleep well? We have a couple of tips to improve your sleep quality.

1 . Try to increase bright light during the day. Sunlight or bright light helps the inner clock off your body to stay awake and tell your body when it’s time to sleep. 

2. Exercising is good for your body, mind and your sleep quality. Exercise 30 minutes a day but no later than a few hours before going to bed.

3. Relax but don’t lay in bed while you are awake. Try a warm bath, reading, or another relaxing routine. If you can’t sleep, try to do something else, listen to music or read a book. Avoid grabbing your phone to reduce the blue light exposure

4. Routine seems boring, but it is the best for your sleep quality. Set a schedule and go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. This helps you reduce sleep hormones to signal your body is getting tired.  

 

Ergonomics support for your company

To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.

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A SAFE WORKPLACE WHILE WORKING FROM HOME

Keep working from home as much as possible, is WHO’s advice. For many employees this would mean that they continue to work from home now the pandemic taking longer than expected. Many people will continue to work at home after the corona crisis. This raises many questions about a safe workplace for both employers and employees.

 

The offices have changed and most people left the office only with a laptop. For example, not everyone has a good and safe workplace at home. But, who is responsible for a good and safe home workplace? 

 

Responsibility

Did you know that it is the employers responsibility to support the safety of employees? Regardless of where the employee is working. Now that working from home is becoming more structural, we would like to advise employers to pay attention to every home situation of the employees.

 

Healthy and Safe Workplace

By providing a healthy and safe workplace means that the workplace is adapted to the personal characteristics of the employee. This also applies to a safe home workplace. In some cases it concerns an unhealthy or unsafe working place. 

 

Ergonomics

The Fit For Work DSE self-assessment is the solution to help you as an employer and your team. This ergonomic self assessment is an opportunity to be guided through the workstation, even if the employee is working from home or in the office.

How does it work? During the assessment the employee is taken through a step by step evaluation. The same as they would be during in-person evaluation at the office. This provides real time advice and education on setting up the full desk setup as the chair, desk and all other equipment used while working. 

One completed, the assessment will generate an individualized report with adjustments recommended to the user’s workstations throughout the evaluation. The report also includes ergonomics that may improve the posture and their workstation. 

Check out our website to provide you or your employees a safe work environment even when you or they working from home. 

 

Support for your company 

To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.

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POSTURE AND ERGONOMICS – IS IT IMPORTANT?

Good posture – We are sure you’ve heard this phrase! Have you been told to fix your posture or ‘stand up straight’? But, do you know exactly why and what good posture is?

 

Posture is the position of the body while sitting, standing or even when lying down. Your skeleton and muscles are responsible for this. When it comes to your position at work, it is important to remember that even good posture, when held for a long time can lead to fatigue and discomfort.

This image shows examples of everyday postures. Note that in each example of ‘good posture’ the back is straight and the natural curves of the spine are maintained.

UNDERSTANDING CORRECT POSTURE

To help us understand what good posture is, we need to consider the alignment of our joints, this is how the head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, and ankles line up. The symmetry between one side of the body and the other is also an important factor. We also need to think about what a ‘neutral’ position looks like. Neutral is when the joints are not bent and the spine is not twisted. For example, the neck; neutral is where we are looking straight ahead and not down, this puts less stress on the spine. In an office, observing people working with bent backs and twisted wrists is common, these are examples of poor postures.


This image shows that when the head moves forward the weight on the spine increases significantly.

BENEFITS OF GOOD POSTURE

  • It can decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
  • Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
  • It can help to improve breathing and blood circulation.
  • Good posture can prevent the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
  • Reduces the risk of fatigue by using muscles more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
  • Prevents muscle strain or overuse problems such as back or neck pain
  • Contributes to a good appearance.

 

4 TIPS TO IMPROVE POSTURE

1. Stand tall! Aim for your earlobes to line up with the middle of your shoulders.

2. Keep your shoulders back and your back straight. Remember to do this when changing postures also.

3. Become aware of and correct habits. For example, standing more on one leg, sitting with your legs crossed, using a shoulder bag on the same shoulder always or tendency to lean on one elbow are postural habits. It is worthwhile identifying what your own postural habits are and acting on them as soon as possible.

4. Change position frequently – often we adopt poor postures because we have been static for too long and our body feels tired. This is your body telling you to move. Change posture at least every 45 minutes.

Have patience! – It is not unusual to feel that correcting your posture feels awkward. Remember that your body has been accustomed to sitting or standing in a certain posture. With discipline, you can make significant improvements that will be beneficial in and outside of the office.

 

ERGONOMICS SUPPORT FOR YOUR COMPANY

To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.

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LIGHTING AND YOUR WORKSTATION

When you set up your workstation, the first things that come to mind are the desk, chair, monitors, mouse, and keyboard. These are all very important aspects to apply ergonomic principals to. Lighting, however, also plays a major role. But it is often something that is missed.

 

WHY IS LIGHTING IMPORTANT?

Correct lighting is essential to prevent eye strain and thus increase productivity at work. Blurred vision, dry or red eyes, fatigue, and headaches are all symptoms of eye strain. Eye strain can be caused by glare or shadows or simply by spending too long looking at a screen. Both too much and too little can be detrimental.

 

Lighting recommendation will differ depending on the type of work you are doing, where your workstation is located and your own personal requirement for light.

LIGHTING CONSIDERATIONS

  • Use task lighting to adequately illuminate writing and reading tasks while limiting brightness around your monitor.
  • Do not position the lamp so that their light bounces off of the screen.
  • Use glare guards to reduce or eliminate glare on your screen if needed.
  • Check that your screen is at a right angle to bright lights such as uncovered windows as much as possible.
  • Use blinds to cover bright sunlight from windows as necessary.
  • Tilt your monitor down to prevent it from reflecting.
  • Lights with more yellow tones are easier on the eyes.

 

THE 20-20-20 RULE

It is important that when using a screen, for every 20 minutes of screen time, stop and look away at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. These regular screen breaks give your eyes some much-needed rest and help prevent eye strain.

 

ERGONOMICS SUPPORT FOR YOUR COMPANY

To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.

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IS YOUR WORK STATION CAUSING YOU PAIN?

Pain at work is not normal! Many believe that muscular neck, shoulder and back pain are to be expected in an office setting. This is entirely untrue! Pain at work including headache and eye strain needs to be addressed. Your body is clever and efficient; pain is a sign that something needs to change.

 

How your workstation is set up is an important factor in keeping your body pain free. This applies to you wherever you work; at home, in the office or on the move. Your work station along with your work pattern – (how many breaks you take, what the variety of your work is) – could be the answer in eliminating your work-related pain.

 

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Here are some of the typical scenarios which cause pain at work.

 

Poor sitting posture. Posture is a major culprit when it comes to the source of pain at work. When you sit, your weight is distributed through all parts of the body which is in contact with a surface. For this reason, it is important to use a chair with a firm backrest.

 

When sitting, ensure your feet are placed firmly on the floor. Your knees need to be at a 90- degree bend and in line or lower than your hips. Sit all of the way back in your chair, keep the backrest in contact with your back. If you have an adjustable chair – ensure you take some time to understand how it can be altered to fit you.

 

Excessive Laptop Use. Laptops are not ergonomically designed. It is common to hear those who use laptops frequently, report neck pain. If you are using a laptop, use a laptop stand and an external keyboard and mouse.

Limit Laptop Use Where Possible

 

Use of Multiple Screens. This encourages excess head-turning. This is both fatiguing for your neck and eyes. To combat this, work from one screen as much as possible

The use of Multiple Screens should be avoided where possible.

 

Poor Lighting or Glare. Glare causes your eyes to work harder than normal. Ensure your workstation is adequately lit. Check that your screen is at a right angle to bright lights such as uncovered windows as much as possible.

 

Equipment too far away from the user. Your keyboard and mouse need to be close by, this prevents excessive reaching and stretching. Keep your shoulders relaxed, elbows at 90-degrees and wrists straight. In this position, place your keyboard where your hands hover over the keyboard as you type.

In this image, the Keyboard and Mouse are too far away from the user.

 

Prolonged Static Posture. We are not designed to remain static. Move and stretch throughout your workday.

 

ELIMINATE PAIN; SIT LESS AND MOVE MORE

Remember that even with an optimal ergonomic work station, movement is crucial. Change your posture frequently to prevent and eliminate pain. Change position, even briefly, every 45 minutes and never remain static for longer than one hour. Why not challenge yourself to walk a lap of the office every hour. If you are working from home, why not walk outside for a moment. Don’t accept pain while you work, as normal!

 

Above are just some of the scenarios which can lead to pain at work. An Ergonomics Specialist can help you to identify the cause of workstation related pain. Luckily, the solution can often be quite simple and easy to implement.

ERGONOMICS SUPPORT FOR YOUR COMPANY

To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.

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TABLET USE AND HOW TO IMPROVE ERGONOMICS

Tablets – do you always have yours with you? Have you ever considered the impact that tablet use could be having on your body? Tablets are convenient and easily portable pieces of equipment, this makes them popular for use at home, on the move, and in the office.

 

We need to consider the ergonomic implications of tablet use. It is very likely that if you are a frequent tablet user, the position in which you are using it is not ideal! The big ergonomic concern with tablets is that the keyboard/mouse and the screen are all on the same device. This will mean that both the neck and wrist will have to maintain an awkward posture. Frequent overuse of a tablet can, unfortunately, be responsible for a number of health issues.

 

A positive aspect of using tablets is that due to their portability, it is easy to change postures. For example, go from sitting to standing. However, the portable nature of tablets can also mean that we are using them for long periods while in an awkward posture. For example, sitting on a sofa, the kitchen table, on a train or plane. All of which are not ideal ergonomic settings.

 

Tips for Tablet Use

 

  • Hold or position the tablet at eye level. Try to ensure that you are using your eyes and not your neck to look down.
  • Use a tablet stand, this means that you will not have to hold the tablet. It will also reduce the amount of bending required at the neck. The screen should be placed arms distance from you. The tablet should be placed at a height where your eyes comfortable focus on the top third of the screen when looking straight ahead.
  • Use a separate keyboard and mouse.
  • Use voice recognition software. This will mean you can control your device without even having to touch it.
  • Frequent breaks – Ensure you are changing posture every 45 minutes to on hour.
  • Take it off your lap – this is a posture of extreme neck flexion. If you are in a situation where you have no choice, place your tablet on a cushion or pillow to increase its height. Take very frequent breaks.

 

ERGONOMICS SUPPORT FOR YOUR COMPANY

To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave

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BREAK REMINDER TOOLS – REVIEW

Do you move regularly as you work? It is not uncommon to sit for hours at a time without even realising it! Our bodies are not designed to stay static or in any one position for long periods of time. For this reason, the use of a free break reminder software can be an ideal tool for reminding you to keep moving.

This week we took some time to use a number of popular break reminder tools.

POSTUREMINDER

Posture Minder is a Google chrome web extension, it reminds you to sit up straight with pop-up notifications at specified time intervals. I have used this one for some time and find it really helpful and easy to use.  You can specify the time intervals and add in walk reminders also. This is a great free option when it comes to break reminder tools. Of course, you will need to be a google chrome user to utilise this.

 

RSI GUARD

RSI-Guard is a break reminder tool used by many large scale organistaions, it has numerous features which make it a good option when 45-day free trial

TIME OUT 

This app is exclusive to macOS. Time Out allows you to customise how frequent break reminders appear and how long breaks are for.

TAKE A BREAK FROM YOUR SCREEN - USE AN APP REMINDER!

These are just a few of the many options available to you when it comes to break reminder software. Remember to give your eyes regular screen breaks – at least a 20 seconds break for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen. Also remember to change posture very frequently, move at least every 30 minutes.

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EU ERGONOMICS AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. Improving health and safety at work has been an important issue for the EU since the 1980s. When the Lisbon Treaty entered into force, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union became legally binding, making health and safety policy an even more important area of EU legislation. In this blog, we will discuss  EU ergonomics and health and safety requirements, key legislation and Guidelines to be followed in the European Union.

 

European Union Ergonomics Requirements

There is no specific ergonomic regulation that covers workplace ergonomics across the EU. Instead, EU Directive 89/391, the OSH ‘Framework Directive” sets out the requirements for member states to put in place a structure for assessing and monitoring workplace health and safety with the ultimate aim to reduce injuries and illnesses at work for the benefit of employees.

Under Article 5, General Provision of the Directive, the employer has the responsibility to;

  • ensure the safety and health of workers in every aspect related to the work.
  • take the measures necessary for the safety and health protection of workers, including the prevention of occupational risks and provision of information and training, as well as the provision of the necessary organization and means.
  • be alert to the need to adjust these measures to take account of changing circumstances and aim to improve existing situations

 

European Union Environmental Health and Safety Requirements

All member states of the EU are to abide by the EU Directive 89/391

The framework directive provides clarity on several things, such as:

  • definition of the working environment
  • Establishing equality in health and safety for the benefit of all workers
  • Obliging employers to take appropriate preventive measures to reduce injuries
  • Introducing risk assessment as a key element of the directive and defines the elements of a risk assessment
  • Putting emphasis on health and safety management

Under Article 5, General Provision of the Directive, the employer has the responsibility to.

  • ensure the safety and health of workers in every aspect related to the work.
  • take the measures necessary for the safety and health protection of workers, including the prevention of occupational risks and provision of information and training, as well as the provision of the necessary organization and means.

Under Article 9, Various obligations on employers, the employer shall also

  • keep a list of occupational accidents resulting in a worker being unfit for work for more than three working days.
  • draw up, for the responsible authorities and in accordance with national laws and/ or practices, reports on occupational accidents suffered by his workers.

The reported data help the relevant authorities to identify persons and industries at risk, as well as to identify new and emerging ones to prevent future incidents.

Current Legislation

Updated information on staying COVID safe is available off the website, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, an agency of the European Union. Useful information that you can find here are as below:

  • How to protect yourself by practising good hygiene such as washing your hands well,
  • avoiding touching your face,
  • wearing a face mask
  • physical distancing between people

What can you do as an Employer to ensure compliance?

Develop and/or Update the COVID-19 Response Plan

Some of the key action as below:

  • address the level(s) of risk associated with various workplaces and work activities in the COVID-19 business plans and OSH risk assessments. For example, where, how and to what sources of COVID-19 might workers be exposed, including the public, customers, co-workers etc.
  • consider worker’s individual risk factors (i.e., older workers, presence of underlying medical conditions, etc.).
  • include in the plan a response plan to deal with a suspected case of COVID-19.

Communication channels

  • Regular update to staff on updates on work arrangements or other useful information via appropriate channels, i.e., Intranet, emails, virtual town hall meetings, etc.

Keeping updated with legal updates is as important as having to comply with them.  It is a chargeable offence to be non-compliant which can result with penalty along with jail term depending on the severity of the event.

How can Fit for Work help?

To learn more about setting up or managing an ergonomics programme that supports staff working from home or in the office or support with staying legally compliant, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com. For more information on our Ergonomics Self-Assessment and Education Tool, visit www.deskeval.com

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NEW ZEALAND ERGONOMICS & ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS

It is the wish as all other countries in the world to put an end to the prevailing COVID-19 situation. Sustaining the economy during this tough period, is a challenge that businesses can overcome with the right support. In this blog, we will discuss New Zealand Ergonomics and EHS requirements, key legislation and guidelines to be followed.

New Zealand Ergonomics Requirements

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 , a person may have more than 1 duty imposed on the person by or under this Act if the person belongs to more than 1 class of duty holder

The Act requires the person— (a) to eliminate risks to health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable; and

(b) if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate risks to health and safety, to minimise those risks so far as is reasonably practicable.

In the context of this Act, a person conducting a business or undertaking or PCBU— (a) means a person conducting a business or undertaking— whether the person conducts a business or undertaking alone or with others; and

(ii) whether or not the business or undertaking is conducted for profit or gain.

but does not include— (i) a person to the extent that the person is employed or engaged solely as a worker in, or as an officer of, the business or undertaking:

(ii) a volunteer association:

(iii) an occupier of a home to the extent that the occupier employs or engages another person solely to do residential work:

(iv) a statutory officer to the extent that the officer is a worker in, or an officer of, the business or undertaking:

(v) a person, or class of persons, that is declared by regulations not to be a PCBU for the purposes of this Act or any provision of this Act.

Knowing and setting up an ergonomic workstation at home is a tricky situation for most of us as it is not the same as our office after all. This has been eased with the information available in this guidance document, Ergonomics. This document shares useful information on how to use a computer safely and how to correct your posture while sitting or standing to work.

 This guidance document also provides information to prevent Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) at the workplace, which are muscle, tendon or nerve disorders caused by repetitive exertions, rapid motions, awkward postures, high force contact stresses, vibrations, and/ or low temperatures. Work-related MSDs are also referred to as cumulative trauma disorders, repetitive strain injuries, or repetitive motion illnesses. Here are examples of some common MSDs.

 

New Zealand Environmental Health and Safety Requirements

All companies based in New Zealand are to abide by the Work Health and Safety (WSH) Act and its subsidiary legislations. The Act requires all employers to conduct a risk assessment to identify hazards. Hazard here means anything with the potential to cause bodily injury, and includes any physical, chemical, biological, mechanical, electrical, or ergonomic hazard. It is the duty of the employer to ensure that all risks assessments must be reviewed periodically and communicated with all staff. Given the current situation where our home has been our new workplace, It is more relevant to ensure that the risk assessments are updated accordingly. This is to ensure that companies are legally compliant as well as reviewed their Business Continuity Plan for any emergency or unforeseen situation.

The sections from 35 to 39 (Incident Notification) from the Act, require a PCBU to notify the regulator as soon as they become aware of death, serious injury or illness or dangerous incident that arises out of the conduct of the business or undertaking. A serious injury or illness means that results in:

  • work-related injury
  • immediate hospital treatment as an in-patient
  • immediate treatment for serious injuries (for example amputation, scalping, a spinal injury, loss of a bodily function or a serious laceration, burn, head injury or eye injury), or
  • medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance.

The reported data helps the authorities to identify persons and industries at risk, as well as to identify new and emerging ones.

Current Legislation

Updated information for businesses is available off the Unite against COVID-19. There is a 4-level alert system for New Zealand.   is in a specific Alert level, i.e., Alert Level 1, 2 and 3. You can learn on the safety measures to take in each of these alert levels to stay COVID safe.

 

What can you do as an Employer to ensure compliance?

Develop and/or Update the COVID-19 Response Plan

Some of the key action as below:

  • address the level(s) of risk associated with various workplaces and work activities in the COVID-19 business plans and OSH risk assessments. For example, where, how and to what sources of COVID-19 might workers be exposed, including the public, customers, co-workers etc.
  • consider worker’s individual risk factors (i.e., older workers, presence of underlying medical conditions, etc.).
  • include in the plan a response plan to deal with a suspected case of COVID-19.

Communication channels

  • Regular update to staff on updates on work arrangements or other useful information via appropriate channels, i.e., Intranet, emails, virtual town hall meetings, etc.

Keeping updated with legal updates is as important as having to comply with them.  It is a chargeable offence to be non-compliant which can result with penalty along with jail term depending on the severity of the event.

How can Fit for Work help?

To learn more about setting up or managing an ergonomics programme that supports staff working from home or in the office or support with staying legally compliant, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com. For more information on our Ergonomics Self-Assessment and Education Tool, visit www.deskeval.com

 

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AUSTRALIA ERGONOMICS & ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS

In this blog, we will discuss Australia ergonomics and EHS requirements, key legislation and Guidelines to be followed in Australia.

Australia Ergonomics Requirements

Under Section 19 of the Work Health and Safety (WSH) Act, the Primary duty of care, requires all PCBUs (Person conducting a business or undertaking) to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of:

  • workers engaged, or caused to be engaged by the person, and
  • workers whose activities in carrying out the work are influenced or directed by the person, while workers are at work in the business or undertaking. This primary duty of care requires duty holders to ensure health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable, by eliminating risks to health and safety. If this is not reasonably practicable, risks must be minimised so far as is reasonably practicable.

Setting up an ergonomic workstation at home is a challenge as not all of us know what needs to be done the right way. This has been eased with the information available in these guidance document, Ergonomic principles and checklists for the selection of office furniture. These documents share useful information on designing a workplace ergonomically by considering

  • The tasks to be done at the workstation
  • The materials and equipment required; and
  • The dimensions of the operator/s (anthropometry).

Similar principles could be applied when you set up your workspace at home.

The following report, Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disease in Australia, provides guidance to understand and prevent Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) at the workplace, which are muscle, tendon or nerve disorders caused by repetitive exertions, rapid motions, awkward postures, high force contact stresses, vibrations, and/ or low temperatures. Work-related MSDs are also referred to as cumulative trauma disorders, repetitive strain injuries, or repetitive motion illnesses. Here are examples of some common MSDs.

 

Australia Environmental Health and Safety Requirements

All companies based in Australia are to abide by the Work Health and Safety (WSH) Act and its subsidiary legislations. The Act requires all employers to conduct a risk assessment to identify hazards. Hazard here means anything with the potential to cause bodily injury, and includes any physical, chemical, biological, mechanical, electrical or ergonomic hazard. It is the duty of the employer to ensure that all risks assessments must be reviewed periodically and communicated with all staff. Given the current situation where our home has been our new workplace, It is more relevant to ensure that the risk assessments are updated accordingly. This is to ensure that companies are legally compliant as well as reviewed their Business Continuity Plan for any emergency or unforeseen situation.

The sections from 35 to 39 (Incident Notification) from the Act, require a PCBU to notify the regulator as soon as they become aware of death, serious injury or illness or dangerous incident that arises out of the conduct of the business or undertaking. A serious injury or illness means that results in:

  • work-related injury
  • immediate hospital treatment as an in-patient
  • immediate treatment for serious injuries (for example amputation, scalping, a spinal injury, loss of a bodily function or a serious laceration, burn, head injury or eye injury), or
  • medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance.

The reported data helps the authorities to identify persons and industries at risk, as well as to identify new and emerging ones.

Current Legislation

Updated information for businesses is available off the Safe Work Australia website under COVID-19 Information for Workplaces. Employers can have access to knowledge on how to keep their workplace safe through the implementation of safe measures to ensure.

  • a risk assessment is conducted with respect to prevention and management of COVID-19
  • physical distancing to keep people apart by at least 1.5 metres is implemented
  • to ensure workers and others maintain good hygiene at the workplace.
  • cleaning and disinfecting the workplace to protect workers and others from the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

 

What can you do as an Employer to ensure compliance?

Develop and/or Update the COVID-19 Response Plan

Some of the key action as below:

  • address the level(s) of risk associated with various workplaces and work activities in the COVID-19 business plans and OSH risk assessments. For example, where, how and to what sources of COVID-19 might workers be exposed, including the general public, customers, co-workers etc.
  • take into account worker’s individual risk factors (i.e. older workers, presence of underlying medical conditions, etc.).
  • include in the plan a response plan to deal with a suspected case of COVID-19.

Communication channels

  • Regular update to staff on updates on work arrangements or other useful information via appropriate channels, i.e., Intranet, emails, virtual town hall meetings, etc.

Keeping updated with legal updates is as important as having to comply with them.  It is a chargeable offence to be non-compliant which can result with penalty along with jail term depending on the severity of the event.

How can Fit for Work help?

To learn more about setting up or managing an ergonomics programme that supports staff working from home or in the office or support with staying legally compliant, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com. For more information on our Ergonomics Self-Assessment and Education Tool, visit www.deskeval.com

 

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