Ergonomics

Good ergonomics means reducing risk factors, this can reduce injuries and supports improved performance and productivity.

Sitting at a desk, using a computer, working in a lab, field work or reshelving books…there’s a wide range of tasks and activities that have the potential to impact on your productivity and comfort.

Your work spaces should be assessed and if necessary, adjusted to ensure they are set up effectively. This includes:

  • When you start a new job at Deakin (including a secondment)
  • Relocating your workstation or being assigned a new desk
  • If your tasks change, usage of equipment varies or your work environment is altered
  • If you are feeling any discomfort or pain
  • If you experience an injury or are diagnosed with a particular medical condition

Healthy work habits

It’s vital to prioritize your health and wellbeing whilst you’re working to ensure you’re making the most of each day and are able to work efficiently. Ensure you stay healthy while you’re at work:

  • Stay active and take regular breaks during the day. This is the best way of avoiding the downside of sedentary work or computer use and reduces the risk of injury. Make the most of our Campus environments by walking to meetings. Alternatively, consider a walking meeting if you and a colleague have some things to discuss and catch up on. A short rest break gives your body the opportunity to relax. It can be even better if you use the opportunity for some light exercise such as stretching or a walk around the office.
  • Aim to spend your lunch breaks away from your desk or usual work area.
  • Where continual use of a keyboard or a fixed or awkward position is required, a break of 10 minutes in every hour is recommended. Use this time to stand up, stretch, talk to colleagues, collect items form the copier or refill your water bottle. Use a reminder on your calendar or phone as an aid.
  • If you’re working in a studio, at a bench, or using a fume hood, glove box or other specialised equipment you may need to adjust your usual work patterns and posture to maintain comfort.
  • Stay hydrated to prevent headaches, lack of focus, fatigue and musculoskeletal pain. Always keep a water bottle or glass of water on hand. If you work in an area where food and drink is not permitted, make a point of having a drink before and after you go in.
  • Make an effort to eat well each day, supplementing main meals with healthy snacks to maintain your energy levels and focus.
  • Avoid or minimise situations where you’re reaching or leaning. If you need to move or lift anything, ensure you’re using safe methods and have access to manual handling aids.
  • Vary your tasks to avoid being seated for lengthy periods.
  • Take a 2 minute eye break: close your eyes or focus on something in the distance.

Workstation Assessments

The ergonomics flow chart shows the steps and tools available to assist you to review work habits, the use of equipment and organisation of the workspace. A well-adjusted work area and healthy working habits can contribute to better health and help make the most of your time.




(#) Seek your manager/ area approval and account code

(#) Seek your manager/ area approval and account code


Prior to having a comprehensive ergonomic assessment, employees are now asked to complete a self-assessment. The exception to this is if employees have a medical condition that has been diagnosed by a health professional or has completed a self-assessment and had no improvement in symptoms.

STEP 1: Workstation self-assessment

The first step to ensure your work area is set up optimally is to download the checklist and complete a workstation self-assessment.

Here are some additional resources for workstation ergonomics:

IF REQUIRED or IF CRITERIA ARE MET: Book a Comprehensive Ergonomic Assessment

If you meet one of the following criteria, please book in for a comprehensive assessment.

  • I have a medical condition that has been diagnosed by a medical practitioner or health professional.
  • I have a disability or health condition or injury that requires me to have reasonable adjustments made to my work arrangements, and to do this I need a review of my workspace ergonomics.
  • I have completed a self-assessment yet as a result of work I am still experiencing pain and discomfort.

Note: if you do not meet at least one of these criteria you are not eligible for an assessment.

If you want to book a workstation assessment, please contact the Health Wellbeing and Safety team for assistance.

Deakin University have engaged an external consultancy, Health by Design, to provide ergonomic assessments for those staff who require expert advice and support.

These assessments:

  • Are conducted by a qualified, experienced health professional
  • Take into account any relevant medical history, your work habits, job tasks and work environment
  • Are conducted at your desk or work area
  • Take a minimum of 30 minutes.

If you need help with this process contact the Health Wellbeing and Safety team for assistance.

Office furniture

Consult your manager/supervisor and get approval to submit a furniture request:

  • If equipment such as a desk, is broken and needs replacement
  • Your chair is not adjustable or provides poor support.

Chairs

If your chair is broken, no longer adjustable or not providing adequate support you can request a new chair using the furniture request form. You must have your manager’s approval prior to ordering any furniture as the costs will be directed to your cost centre.

When ordering, it is important that you specify the name of chair you want; it is recommended that individual chairs are tested prior to ordering. All chairs can be viewed and tested at Infrastructure and Property Services:

  • Burwood: Book meeting room S1.18 in IPG Building S.
  • Geelong: Contact the Infrastructure and Property Group for advice on where to test chairs.

Chairs are not to be removed from these rooms under any circumstances.

Remember

  • You must have your manager’s approval prior to ordering any new furniture.
  • Delivery takes at least 4 weeks.

Which chair is right for me?

The following guide may assist you choose one that’s best for you, based on your body type and preferences:

ModelI am shorter in height (<1.625m)I am of average height (1.61-1.74m)I am taller in height (1.71-1.855m)I have a larger stature and require a roomier seatI need very good lumbar supportChair weight rating

Gesture


X

X

X


>180kg

Think

X

X




>130kg

X Code


X

X



>127kg

TNK Flex


X

X

X

X

>150kg

Schiavello World

X

X




>130kg

Not sure which chair would be best for you?  Contact Health Wellbeing and Safety on hrd_ohs@deakin.edu.au

Further information on furniture can be found in IPG’s Deakin Furniture Guidelines.

How to adjust your chair

Sit-stand desks

Most areas of Deakin University have a number of sit-stand desks.   These are available for staff to use permanently or by booking them for a period of time when you would like to use them.

If you would like to use a sit-stand desk for wellbeing reasons:

  • Ensure you’re incorporating movement into your daily routine by taking breaks and varying your tasks.
  • Check to see if a communal sit-stand desk is available in your work area and use that for periods of time when it is available.
  • If use of a communal desk is not possible, discuss the request with your manager and seek their approval to have a desk purchased.  The cost of this will be charged back to your cost centre.  Be aware that the cost for a desk may vary depending on the type of work area you are in.  A quote may need to be obtained from Infrastructure and Property Group.
  • If you do not have a medical reason to have a sit-stand desk provided for your exclusive use then it is up to your manager to determine if one will be purchased.

If a medical practitioner has advised that you should use a sit-stand desk:

  • Obtain a letter from a GP or physiotherapist that explains what is required and supporting reasons (for example a diagnosis of a condition).
  • Book in for a comprehensive ergonomic assessment, and provide this letter to the consultant during the assessment.

For more information refer to the standing workstation guidelines.

Make a furniture Request

Consult your manager/supervisor and get approval to submit a furniture request:

  • If equipment such as a desk, is broken and needs replacement
  • Your chair is not adjustable or provides poor support.

Chairs

If your chair is broken, no longer adjustable or not providing adequate support you can request a new chair using the furniture request form. You must have your manager’s approval prior to ordering any furniture as the costs will be directed to your cost centre.

When ordering, it is important that you specify the name of chair you want; it is recommended that individual chairs are tested prior to ordering. All chairs can be viewed and tested at Infrastructure and Property Services:

  • Burwood: Book meeting room S1.18 in IPG Building S.
  • Geelong: Contact the Infrastructure and Property Group for advice on where to test chairs.

Chairs are not to be removed from these rooms under any circumstances.

Remember

  • You must have your manager’s approval prior to ordering any new furniture.
  • Delivery takes at least 4 weeks.

Which chair is right for me?

The following guide may assist you choose one that’s best for you, based on your body type and preferences:

Gesture


X

X

X


>180kg

Think

X

X




>130kg

X Code


X

X



>127kg

TNK Flex


X

X

X

X

>150kg

Schiavello World

X

X




>130kg

Not sure which chair would be best for you?  Contact Health Wellbeing and Safety on hrd_ohs@deakin.edu.au

Further information on furniture can be found in IPG’s Deakin Furniture Guidelines.

How to adjust your chair

Sit-stand desks

Most areas of Deakin University have a number of sit-stand desks.   These are available for staff to use permanently or by booking them for a period of time when you would like to use them.

If you would like to use a sit-stand desk for wellbeing reasons:

  • Ensure you’re incorporating movement into your daily routine by taking breaks and varying your tasks.
  • Check to see if a communal sit-stand desk is available in your work area and use that for periods of time when it is available.
  • If use of a communal desk is not possible, discuss the request with your manager and seek their approval to have a desk purchased.  The cost of this will be charged back to your cost centre.  Be aware that the cost for a desk may vary depending on the type of work area you are in.  A quote may need to be obtained from Infrastructure and Property Group.
  • If you do not have a medical reason to have a sit-stand desk provided for your exclusive use then it is up to your manager to determine if one will be purchased.

If a medical practitioner has advised that you should use a sit-stand desk:

  • Obtain a letter from a GP or physiotherapist that explains what is required and supporting reasons (for example a diagnosis of a condition).
  • Book in for a comprehensive ergonomic assessment, and provide this letter to the consultant during the assessment.

For more information refer to the standing workstation guidelines.

Make a furniture Request

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