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The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has released Z412-17 Office Ergonomics – An Application Standard for Workplace Ergonomics. This is the first major overhaul to the Office Ergonomics standard since 2000.

As an Employer, you should be familiar with what this Standard says so you can ensure your staff are set up and working in ways to reduce their risk of musculoskeletal disorders. After reviewing this Standard, our ERGO Ergonomists have compiled a list of the major updates and key considerations.

Health & Safety Program Inclusion

  • This Standard states office ergonomics should be part of your Occupational Health and Safety Program.

Office Furniture, Equipment & Chair Design

  • This Standard promotes the inclusion of an ergonomic review as part of any office design or redesign (adopted from CSA Z1004, including a recommended ergonomics process and steps for the application of ergonomics to the workplace.
  • This Standard outlines design parameters (including dimensions and height ranges) for office furniture including chairs and sit/stand desks. The Standard specifically states that chairs must provide “stable body support” and that lumbar support must be height adjustable. This provides support to our long-standing argument that ball chairs are not appropriate for office seating.
  • This Standard recommends keyboards without number pads or left hand-mousing for individuals who mouse with their right hands. We frequently make these recommendations for those suffering with right arm discomfort.

Cognitive Hazards

  • The Standard highlights the importance of not only considering the physical hazzards in your workplace, but also the psychosocial hazards that can impact employee mental health and wellness.

Employee Training

  • The Standard stated the need for employees to be trained on the use of their equipment, as well as potential health risks associated with improper set-up. Consider, how manny levers are on your workstation chairs. Do your staff know how to use and adjust their chairs properly?

Sit Stand Stations and Movement at Work/h2>

  • The Standard continuously reinforces the need for postural variety throughout the day and seating that allows for changes in posture.
  • Standing and semi-standing are included as recommended postures and the Standard warns against the dangers of both prolonged sitting and standing in one posture.

Laptops and Mobile Devices

  • The Standard recommends an external keyboard and mouse for extended use o a laptop. It states laptops should only be used when we are on the go, not at our desks.
  • The most surprising guidelines relate to the use of mobile phones or tablets, as well as use of the night shift settings for evening and nighttime technology user. With this in mind, perhaps we need to make a better effort to put down our phones and focus on the task at hand, whether at work or at home with our families.

Use of a Certified Ergonomist for Complex Cases and Assessments

  • Recommends consultation with a “person competent in ergonomics” in the case where more than two monitors are used, touchscreens are used frequently, or where the individual performs work in their vehicle.
  • For complex cases, you should use a Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomists? Look for the designation CCPE!