Q. What action can I take as a Leader where an employee has declared they have an ergonomically friendly working station i.e. desk, chair etc but the photograph of the home environment provided raises concerns that this may not be the case?
A. As the approver for the working from home request you are responsible for ensuring the working station is safe and ergonomically friendly. Where it is evident that this is not the case you can request the employee purchase, at their own cost, ergonomically friendly equipment and until this is purchased it is reasonable to ask the employee to perform duties from a UTAS campus.
Q. What if the working station at home does not appear to adhere to safe ergonomic practices i.e. posture, monitor distance from employee etc.
A. You can request that the employee perform a self-assessment to ensure an ergonomically safe set up is in place. A guide can be accessed here: Workstation Design and Set Up
Alternately you can, at a cost to the school/division request an Occupational Therapist undertake an assessment of the home working environment and provide a report which will contain any relevant recommendations for changes/adjustments to the environment. These recommendations would need to be implemented prior to approval of the working form home agreement, at a cost to the employee. To arrange an assessment: Ergonomic Assessments
Q. What if an employee is using non-standard equipment that has not been recommended by an Occupational Therapist?
A. Employees must not introduce non-standard or their own personal equipment without prior approval. An ergonomic workstation assessment and consultation with an allied health professional or ergonomist is required before the purchase or introduction of non-standard or personally owned equipment.
The health professional will provide advice, training, equipment recommendations if needed, and a written report. You can then discuss the report and the implementation of the recommendations with the employee, at their own cost.
Q. Are Fitball’s considered ergonomically safe?
A. WorkSafe Victoria states that Employers will not satisfy their legal duties to make work safe by providing fitness balls as furniture for their workforce.
For more information: Fitness balls are not suitable as chairs
Q. Where can I go for assistance/guidance on approval of working from home requests?
A. Where you have significant concerns or questions regarding specific working from home requests you can lodge a Service Now request with the Safety & Wellbeing Team.