Audit of staff with musculoskeletal disorders in large county council

Staff had special needs which ranged from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) to specific disabilities. In most cases the staff member had been given specific equipment such as ball chairs, alternate mice, and assistive software – in many cases recommended by advisors who were not qualified. Unfortunately, the success of these assessments were hit and miss – which left staff vulnerable and frustrated, and impacted other staff members and line managers, which then were raised at directorate level.

The ergonomic audit found a number of problems, i.e. equipment incorrectly specified by outside advisors, equipment not setup correctly, user not trained or understanding the purpose of the assistive device. Accessibility of parts of the building were poor and had not been considered in some assessments, daily living requirements in many cases had been ignored, and for some staff the requirement of a PEEP had not been considered.

A comprehensive ergonomic assessment was then undertaken for each staff member, which resulted in a robust system to be put in place to manage specialist assessments and to ensure that all outside assessors were qualified and competent, to ensure that equipment was not purchased without a trial period, and that all assessments follow a standard model based on the 4EQ model.

An ergonomic audit is essential for organisations that have had a number of different risk assessors carry out specialist ergonomic assessments, and who employ staff with special requirements. The objective of the audit is to ensure that the organisation is meeting its legal and moral obligations and is able to demonstrate that it is proactive in its use of ergonomics in safeguarding its workforce. To do this they must use the skills of a registered ergonomist (MIEHF).

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