Must we provide workers with specialist ergonomic furniture?
We are getting requests from staff who are wanting things such as the following:
- ergonomic assessments – because they feel they have developed a sore neck at work;
- ergonomic assessments – because they have aggravated a pre-existing condition at work;
- adjustable standing desks; and
- specific styles of chairs.
Can you provide information as to what is our organisation’s responsibility to provide these things?
One of the concerns we have is that if we provide something for one staff member then we may open ourselves up to further requests from other staff, which could lead to a huge expense to the organisation.
The provision of ergonomic equipment would be considered a reasonably practicable step that the organisation could take to assist in reducing the risk of harm to staff. Unless the cost would be grossly disproportionate to the gravity and likelihood of the harm the ergonomic equipment seeks to control, then the organisation would need to consider providing assessments and then, depending on those assessments, appropriate ergonomic equipment.
As cost is often a concern, organisations can look to discharge this obligation by assessing on a case-by-case basis.