Ergonomics Regulations for Employees

 Bruce McFadzean   2022-03-31  Comments
Deskzones

Section 8 of the OHS Act makes it compulsory for an Employer to provide a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of his employees. Ergonomics Regulations supports the Act further by prescribing that every employer has an Ergonomics Risk Assessment conducted by a competent person before the commencement of any work.

 

What is Ergonomics?

 

In Ergonomics Regulations, Ergonomics is defined as “the scientific discipline concerned with the fundamental understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human well-being and overall system performance;”
 
In simple terms, Section 8 is supposed to keep you safe from breaking bones and shedding blood, while Ergonomics Regulations keep you safe from injuries to, or disorders of, the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs (Musculo-skeletal Disorders, or MSDs)
 
In most cases, employees are not aware of ergonomic hazards and risks, which makes it all the more important for the employer to have their Ergonomics Risk Assessment conducted by a “competent person”.


 

Don’t wait for symptoms

Employees should insist on participating in, and seeing the results of, the Ergonomics Risk Assessment. The Risk Assessment must evaluate your personal physiology (age, height, weight, BMI, muscle tone, disabilities, etc) together with the tasks and tools of your job – what is low risk for one employee may be high risk for another. Waiting for symptoms is too late, the damage to your body is already done – often irreversibly.

 
Information, Instruction and Training

Employers are also obliged to address to employees’ ergonomic safety through educational programmes (Ergonomics Regulations 3). Ask your OHS rep about this, if you have not been informed.

You may download the regulations at

https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/201912/42894rg10177gon1589.pdf

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