The following guide is intended to assist managers, supervisors and operators in preventing occupational overuse syndrome. Managers, supervisors and operators should work together to establish systems of work which include:
- where practical, minimise long periods of keyboard work by using task variation (which promotes variation in posture such as sitting to standing and walking) and taking rest breaks;
- frequent changes in routine are essential. No more than 45-50 minutes in each hour should be spent on keyboard work. More frequent breaks may be preferable for some individuals;
- locating equipment such as printers so that workers have to get up and walk to the printer;
- considering if the task can performed in another way (for instance, moving a hole punch from the desk to another room where the worker has to walk to a bench and stand to perform the task instead of sitting at the desk);
- rotating job tasks between workers, where it is reasonably practicable;
- job and task design which enables flexibility of work activities to promote task variation, where possible; and
- monitoring and managing workload;
- the avoidance of a situation where an operator is overloaded when one or more other operators in the work unit are absent for any reason. Consideration should be given to rescheduling the work and, if necessary, to the employment of temporary staff.
Managers are responsible for ensuring that safe working procedures in their area incorporate these guidelines where reasonably practicable. For further suggestions, please refer to the Sit less, move more information brochure.
In those areas where work currently provided is of a restricted or specialised nature (for example, administrative data processing entry), jobs may need to be redesigned. Assistance in this area may be obtained from the WHS unit.