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What is the standard space between restaurant tables in an exclusive restaurant?
Hi Mfundo, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we are not sure if there is specific legislation regarding this but maybe look at the National Building Regulations which might be more useful. Thanks Jessica
Good day,I would like to enquire regarding courses and the like to become more proficient in dealing with patients and ergonomics.I am a chiropractor in Durban and more information would be greatly appreciated. Kind regards
Hi Danella, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you become a member of the Ergonomics Society (details under membership on our website) and as and when we host conferences etc you can in that way be informed more about Ergonomics. Thanks Jessica
What is the minimum No of toilets according to Regulation per No of people in a building
Hi Bill, Thanks for your question. This is prescribed in the National Building Regulations SANS 10400. Thanks Jessica
Good DayI want to attend ergonomist course. Can please advice me as how much and how long the course takes.RegardsJose BanzeCell: 0783494568 or 0744821510
Hi Jose, Thanks for your question. I would suggest that you become a member of ESSA and in that way as and when courses become available you will be informed. Please visit our membership page on the website. Thanks Jessica
Are there any laws in SA dealing specifically with Display screen use similar to those in the EU? I am unsure whether there is a requirement to give free eye tests to computer users.
Hi Mary, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately there are no DSE guidelines as in the UK in South Africa. Regarding eye tests I think this is dependent on each company's policies. Thanks Jessica
Can you please advise whether there are guidelines in respect of desk measurements and required distance between desks in an open plan office environment and where to find such guielines. Thank you.
Hi Alison, Thanks for your question. In terms of Ergonomics, the Facilities Regulations address that each employee should be provided with 2.25 square metres of space in a working environment. This is part of the Occupational Health and Safety Act of South Africa's regulations. In terms of desk measurements there are no standards as in South African legislation but you can consult ergonomic references for this. Thanks Jessica
HiI would like to know if there is a legislation that states the Maximum weight allowed to be transported by an individual?This is purely for supporting evidence, I have done the NIOSH calculation as wellThanks, Nikhil
HI Nikhil, Thanks for your question. If you have already done the NIOSH equation then unfortunately there is no other "legislation" which states the maximum weight. It will have to be determined through an Ergonomics risk assessment. Thanks Jessica
Hallo,What is the ratio for men and woman toilets in admin building.
Hi JJ, Thanks for your question. Please consult the National Building Regulations, SANS 10400 which prescribes this. Thanks Jessoca
Good day, please can you advise as to what is the maximum size can a cleaner be responsible for. Our organization is 4300 square meters, thus I request the area size per cleaner is required. Your soonest response will be appreciated.If you could also send me documented proof of this regulation, I would appreciate it.Thank you
Hi Avinash, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we do not know the answer but perhaps you may wish to consult the National Building Regulations, SANS 10400 which may be of help. Thanks Jessica
Hi TherePlease can you advise if the statement below is correct. This pertains to a retail store environment.If a person is at their counter and is used for a solid 2 hour period for processing on the PC then it should be deemed as a work station .Please can i also have the necessary legislation.Kind Regards
Hi Jerome, A workstation consists of the Visual Display Unit (VDU) / computer monitor / screen, central processing unit, mouse, keyboard, laptop, chair, desk and any other accessories such as a telephone and radio. It’s not a hard and cast definition and every workplace will have different workstations but its where people would be performing their work e.g. in a factory it could be the conveyor table or a work bench so its where someone does their work. If you could explain what else or where else your employees work in the retail sector it may be easier to assist i.e. what else do they do other than work at a computer. Thanks Jessica
Good day. We moved to new office block and is busy with renovations. According to ISO 14001 can you please tell me what is the minimum and maximum lux in offices
Hi Sonja, Thanks for your question. Please consult the OHS Act (Act 85 of 1993) and the Environmental Regulations where lighting in detail is specified and examples of lux measurements can be found for different working environments. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, can you please advise on which are the best ergonomic chairs available in South Africa. I have tried searching on the web for reviews but there is very little information. Basically I am in the process of buying some affordable ergonomic chairs for the workplace. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks. Deshan
Hi Deshan, Thanks for your question. You may wish to consult the Ergonomists listed on our website which may be able to assist you with suppliers that they use and in this way you will get reviews too. Thanks Jessica
what is the average floor space of a retail pharmacy business in SA
Hi Hlogi, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we dont know this answer but perhaps the National Building Regulations may assist you, SANS 10400. Thanks Jessica
What is the minimum required space per person for an office area/building(including common areas like canteen and toilets)? HI Nicolene, Apologies for the delayed response. It is recommended at each person have 2.25 square metres of space. This just for the individuals personal space and includes space for the desk, chair, workspace, filing cabinets etc. In terms of the size of the bathrooms etc, its best to look at the building regulation act as this stipulates these measurements, and includes measurements for people who may be disabled. If you need any other advice, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thanks JessicaThe question and your comment above refers - where do you get the 2.25m² you promulgate from? I need specific reference to Acts, By-laws, NBR as this recommendation is now being passed down as the be-all and end-all in our company. The NBR clearly states 15m² per person.
Hi Tertia, Thanks for your question. The reference is the Facilities Regulations, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993. Thanks Jessica
Hi. Can you maybe help me. I'm busy with an assignment regarding stuffy office working environments. I would like to know what negative impact this type of environment has on employees as well as on the company, maybe in terms of absenteeism and thus ROI. Your help will be much appreciated. Kind Regards
HI Natali, Thanks for your question. Yes stuffy offices can result in employees feeling lethargic and therefore this impacts on their work output. It can also impact on their wellness and therefore may result in absenteeism, illness and reduced morale. People may become sick easily as there is less fresh air to remove the germs and also keep them awake. There are a number of factors that can impact on employees' performance at work and so perhaps you can consult the Ergonomics / Human Factors Journals and references. Thanks Jessica
We need to rent office space for a call centre and need to establish what the SANS Regulations require as the minumum square meters per person for a call centre. Thank you.
HI Karin, Thanks for your question. It is recommended that each employee be provided with 2.25 square metres of office space and this is stipulated in the Facilities Regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Thanks Jessica
Which Regulations and Standard is applicable to space allocations for office who need space larger than 2.25m for confidential purposes or discussing intellectual property, dealing with a lot of paper based data - 2.25 seems very small.. Also what reg & SANS deal with ablution facilities, Chemical stores, Waste accumulation areas, storage space for archiving.
HI Elza, Thanks for your question. It is best you consult the National Building Regulations SANS 10400 for your queries. Thanks, Jessica
Hi,Are there any standards for what the maximum weight for MANUALLY lifting equipment and other things in the workplace according to the person's age?If so, where can i obtain these standards?
HI Liezl, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately this is not legislated but the NIOSH equation is generally used to determine this. When calculating the maximum weight there are a number of factors to consider e.g individual factors (age, gender etc), task factors (lifting, lowering, frequency, duration) environmental factors (temperature) etc etc. It is best to determine this maximum weight by means of an Ergonomics risk assessment as there is no one answer given the number of factors which influence the maximum weight. Thanks Jessica
I am planning to get the team members new office chairs. I would like to get chairs that are comfortable and ergonomically sound to keep them comfortable with no body pains as a result of sitting infront of computers for some time a day. Could you please recommend some highback chairs.
Hi Mahle, Thanks for your question. Please consult our Ergonomists listed on the website as they will be able to recommend genuine Ergonomic chair suppliers. Thanks Jessica
Hi, I would like to know the maximum acceptable lifting weight of objects for workers in the hazardous chemical industry
Hi Thabo, Thanks for your question. This does depend on a number of factors: 1. the individual e.g age, size, shape, etc. 2. the task e.g lifting, lowering 3. the duration e.g 8 hours a day 4. the frequency of picking up e.g 5 times per minute 5. the object to be picked up e.g shape, size, weight, handles present or not 6. environment e.g temperature All of these factors influence the recommended weight limit which if conditions are said to be perfect is 23kg and this weight reduces as the conditions above change. We suggest you look into the NIOSH equation for lifting however in South Africa there is no recommendation. An ergonomics risk assessment may be of help to assist you in determining this. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, I suffer from Sciatica and am looking for a kneeling chair, company based in Johannesburg preferably, or delivery to Johannesburg,
Hi Heather, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we do not advise on products or suppliers but I would suggest that you perhaps have someone advise you i.e an Ergonomist as to whether a kneeling chair is the best option for your condition. Thanks Jessica
Good day1.what is the recomended heihgt of knee operated contraols above floor level.2. Working above what height require the use of safety harnesses?thks & regards
Hi Mechman, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately you may wish to rather consult the General Safety Regulations in the Occupational Health and Safety Act for your query. Thanks Jessica
How many toilets would I need for 2 floors spaces each 1000 square meter in size
Hi Radley, Thanks for your question. The answer is prescribed in the SANS 10400 which is the document called the National Building Regulations and they prescribe the number of toilets per number of employees. Thanks Jessica
square footage per employee in a open plan office and distance of dishwashing facilities to toilet facilities.
Hi Adri, Thanks for your questions. The first answer is 2.2.5 square metres of office space and this is in the Facilities regulations of the OHS Act. Your second question you may wish to consult the National Building Regulations, SANS 10400. Thanks, Jessica
Effective ergonomics for various building trades
Hi Kelvin, Thanks for your question. Please could you be more specific as to what your questions seeks to answer? Thanks Jessica
Can you please advise , regarding 2.25 m2 per person space which regulation in the OHS Act or which section in the Act
Hi Zamo, Thanks for your question. This is in the Facilities Regulations. Thanks Jessica
Good daykindly advise;how many staff (male) is required (allowed) to manualy push a trolley safely, that transports a weight of 200 kg. The area of transport is in a building with the passage (corridor) width between walls about +- 1,5to 2.3 meters.the average age group of these staff members is 20 - 35kind regards and thank youBilinda
Hi Bilinda, Thanks for your question. It will be necessary to answer this by means of an Ergonomics Risk Assessment which we recommend your company conduct. Pushing/pulling is dependent on a number of factors and therefore cannot be given in a quick answer. Please feel free to consult one of the Ergonomists on our website. Thanks Jessica
What is the maximum weight a worker are allowed to pull or push according to SA Labour Laws
HI Theunis, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately this is not documented in SA Labour laws and it is recommended that this be calculated through an Ergonomics Risk Assessment. This is because pushing/pulling is dependent on a number of factors e.g. the individual (age, gender), the task (frequency, duration), the floor surface and the environment (e.g temperature) for example. You may also wish to look up the Snook Tables which may help you. Thanks Jessica
What is the legal office space per person in an open plan office.
HI Melinda, Thanks for your question, Please consult the OHS Act and in particular the Facilities Regulations which prescribe 2.25 square metres of office space per employee. Thanks Jessica
what are the factor sfor selecting load constant 23 kg in niosh equation?
Hi Parvez, Thanks for your question. This does depend on a number of factors: 1. the individual e.g age, size, shape, etc. 2. the task e.g lifting, lowering 3. the duration e.g 8 hours a day 4. the frequency of picking up e.g 5 times per minute 5. the object to be picked up e.g shape, size, weight, handles present or not 6. environment e.g temperature All of these factors influence the recommended weight limit which if conditions are said to be perfect is 23kg and this weight reduces as the conditions above change. We suggest you look into the NIOSH equation for lifting however in South Africa there is no recommendation. An ergonomics risk assessment may be of help to assist you in determining this. Thanks, Jessica
I have read all the questions with regards to the temperature of an air-conditioning unit in an office setup. As an individual, what are my rights with regards to the workplace? Our air-con unit is being put on between 28 to 32 degrees Celsius with no windows opened.
Hi Ruan, Thanks for your question. You have a right as the OHS Act stipulates that you as an employee should work in a healthy and safe workplace; however there is no legislation regarding the air conditioner temperatures for South Africa hence why we rely on overseas legislation. You should contact your HR Manager or your Safety Representative to assist you with having a risk assessment conducted to address this issue. Thanks Jessica
What is the maximum weight per labourer to carry for 200m
Thanks for your question. This does depend on a number of factors: 1. the individual e.g age, size, shape, etc. 2. the task e.g lifting, lowering 3. the duration e.g 8 hours a day 4. the frequency of picking up e.g 5 times per minute 5. the object to be picked up e.g shape, size, weight, handles present or not 6. environment e.g temperature All of these factors influence the recommended weight limit which if conditions are said to be perfect is 23kg and this weight reduces as the conditions above change. We suggest you look into the NIOSH equation for lifting however in South Africa there is no recommendation. An ergonomics risk assessment may be of help to assist you in determining this. Thanks, Jessica
what must the temperature be in an indoor venue like a lecture hall. where can i find a policy or regulation
HI Erna, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately South African legislation is not clear on indoor temperature such as air conditioner temperatures. We use Canadian legislation where it states that the air conditioner should be set at 22-23 degrees Celsius and those who find this too hot/cold should dress appropriately. Alternatively you can visit the Environmental Regulations in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Thanks Jessica
What does the ASHRAE standard recommend for winter and summer temperatures in office buildings? Are these the temperatures at which air conditioning systems have to be set?
Hi Godfrey, Thanks for your question. You may wish to visit the Environmental Regulations and also in terms of air conditioners it is best (based on international legislation) to have them set at 22-23 degrees Celsius. Those that find this too hot or cold should dress appropriately. Thanks Jessica
Hi, What is the role of Security Officers on planned emergency evacuation drill
Hi Nomazizi, Unfortunately we cannot assist with this matter. Thanks Jessica
Can a person be forced to pick up objects that is to heavy for a woman, first of all and secondly is there in any labor law act an ammendmend that fources employees to stand on their feet for 12 hours non stop, first shift starting at 05h45 in the morning and ending at 17h30 in the evening. I have been told that this is law and commen practice in Government Departments. I am disabled and can not lift any object heavier than 10kg's. As I understand no Government Department has any seperate Labor Law or differs from the private sector.Thank you in kind for your assistance.Juliette van der Rijst
Hi Juliette, Thanks for your question. You may wish to use the Employment Equity legislation and particularly the section on people with disabilities. Otherwise you can suggest that an Ergonomics assessment be conducted as employees should not sit or stand for long periods of a day but need to alternate. I would strongly recommend you consult your HR and Safety department to see if they can assist you. Thanks Jessica
Are there SA guidelines on office space allocation, if there can you advise on how to get a copy.
HI Lethu, You may wish to get a copy of the National Building Regulations SANS 10400 which may help you. Thanks Jessica
Hello, I'm trying to find a office lifting table, which will enable me to work while standing and sitting down.. is should be an electrical lifting table. Please help me finding this.. my back hurts when I sit down at the PC all day. Thank you. (I live in Mozambique/Maputo.. so hooping to find something not too far from the border).
Hi Oliver, You may wish to contact Ergonomists on our wesbite for a list of suppliers. Thanks Jessica
Is there any legislation in south Africa regarding ergonomics
Hi Diane, There is legislation that makes mention of Ergonomics and also that contains elements of areas relating to Ergonomics. One being the Occupational Health and Safety Act and then regulations such as the Construction regulations and also the Facilities regulations. Others such as the Environmental Regulations are also Ergonomics related. Thanks Jessica
kINDLY ADVICE ON THE SPACE THAT AND INDUVIDUAL MUST BE ALLOCATED FOR WORKING IN A FACTORY WHEN WORKING WITH MACHINERY AND GENERAL
Hi Constance, Thanks for your question. It is not so easy to answer as it dependent on a number of factors. You may wish to look at the machinery regulations in the OHS Act and also it is advisable that your Safety Representative conduct a study to determine this safe space. Thanks Jessica
Good dayI am employed by the South African Police Service as the Provincial Physical Fitness Coordinator in KwaZulu Natal. I would like for know where I can purchase heat stress monitors/meters that we will utilize during the hot summers in KwaZulu Natal.Your assistance in this regards wil be greatly appreciated.Kind regardsLieutenant Ngcobo
HI Pearl, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you contact Andrew Todd who works at Rhodes University who will be able to assist you. Thanks Jessica
what is the minimum space between tables in a classroom?
Hi Mboyana, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately there isn't much legislation on this in South Africa but a useful website that may help you is ergokid.com Thanks Jessica
I have just been awarded a cleaning tender for departmental offices. I wish to know the acceptable number of square meters to be cleaned by each worker
HI Sindi, Thanks for your question. You may need to consult the National Building Regulations and also the Department of Labour which refers to domestic employee regulations. Thanks Jessica
Hi, Can you perhaps send me contact details for a person that can speak about Ergonomics in the work place- Johannesburg.
Hi Monica, Thanks for your question. Please consult the list of Ergonomists on the website. Thanks, Jessica
Can you please put me in touch with an ergonomics specialist in the Durban area? Someone who can access to whether or not the chairs our Data Capturers and Call Centre Agents are using are in fact the correct chairs for the scope of work. Thanks
Hi Melinda, Thanks for your question. Please consult the list of companies on our website. Thanks, Jessica
I have heard that we could expect ergonomics regulations to be drafted to compliment OHS act. Is this true? and who is doing it?
Hi Robert, Thanks for your question. Yes this is true. We as ESSA are working with the Department of Labour. Thanks, Jessica
I am opening an office and need to know how i can allocate toilet facilities.Do the toilets have to be separate or can i have one toilet with many different stalls?how many stalls per employees?
Hi Jemma, Thanks for your question. Please consult the National Building Regulations and SANS 10400 as this details how many toilets you need and how they should be allocated. Thanks, Jessica
HelloI am commencing with my I/O Psychology internship in July and what to know if there is any Ergonomics workshops I can attend or an introductory course to ergonomics in the workplace during the second half of this year. I want to do my elective in ergonomics and think a workshop will help.Kind regards,Liam
Hi Liam, Thanks for your question. Please just keep checking our website and we will post anything under the news section if this happens. Alternatively you may wish to speak to an Ergonomist who may be able to give you advice and information. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, would a under average sized person (petite) ergonomically have difficulty working in a average office chair? And is this bad for their posture? Thank you
Hi Raeeqah, Thanks for your question. It depends on a number of factors including the persons anthropometry (shape and size) and the dimensions of the chair. I would suggest you contact an Ergonomists to assist you as it is not possible to give advice without seeing the chair and the individual. Thanks, Jessica
Hello, i work in a factory that packs fresh produce and we are looking to change the workers lunch time area. Is there a minimum size that there lunch time area must be?
Hi Sean, Thanks for your question. Please consult the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993 under the Facilities Regulations and also the National Building Regulations, SANS 10400 which should assist you. Thanks Jessica
Hi... I'm busy doing a health and safety course and I'd like to know ' all the sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993 applicable when working in an open office ( IT employee) , I've looked everywhere but can't seem to find the full document on OHS act 85 1993) thank you
Hi Shanice, Thanks for your question. You may wish to consult the Facilities Regulations, Environmental Regulations and the General Safety Regulations. The Department of Labour has all of these and the ACT on its website. Thanks Jessica
Ergonomics;I require info concerning the pushing and pulling of trolley, allowable weight to be pushed, how often daily, wheels size and types... Can you please assist. Nb our company supplies facilties in the material handling logistics field. Trilogiq!
Hi Lucien, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you contact one of the Ergonomists listed on our website and they may be able to assist you. Alternatively you may wish to read up on literature on the Snook tables. Thanks Jessica
Hi, Have any ergonomic studies been completed on the use of manually operated access control booms that security personnel commonly use to control vehicle access into and out of a specific premises?If not, could you provide some guidance on how such a study can be initiated to determine the most appropriate ergonomic design for the control over a manual access control boom?
Hi Marc, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you look into Ergonomics and Human Factors Journals to see what studies have been done and then possibly contact some of the universities to guide you how you could pursue studying this. Thanks Jessica
Good DayI have a degree majoring in Ergonomics from Rhodes University, I work in a recruitment agency that specialises in placing candidates in Africa. I asked to further my studies and they said they would pay if what I do helps the company in any way. My question is what way could ergonomics help apart from office ergonomics to improve productivity in service industries and which courses would you recommend to supplement my qualification?
Hi Phathiswa, Thanks for your question. I would suggest contacting an Ergonomist who is practicing Ergonomics who will give you the best advice. Thanks Jessica
What is the minimum size for a boardroom for 10 people? Or how can I calculate the square meters needed for a boardroom for 15 or 20 people? Thanks
Hi Karin, Thanks for your question. There doesn't appear to be specifications around boardrooms. You may wish to visit the National Building Regulations SANS 10400. Thanks Jessica
what is the regulation on ventilation in an office setup within southafrica?
Hi Carol, Thanks for your question. Please consult the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993 which will provide, under the Environmental Regulations, the requirements for ventilation, temperature etc. Thanks Jessica
What is the minimum torque required by a human's leg to pedal a bicycle?
Hi Molemisi, Thanks for your question. You may wish to contact Dr Candice Christie at Rhodes University who will be able to assist you. Thanks, Jessica
Can you recommend suppliers of ergonomic office furniture and if possible someone to advise on furniture to suit particular problem?
Hi Justin, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you contact the Ergonomists on the website as they may have preferable suppliers and may be able to assist you with your specific query. Thanks Jessica
Hi What does the act prescribe on illumination in a factory environment. Lumens of natural light. Lumens by electric light. Total.Thanks
HI Burt, Thanks for your question. Please refer to the OHS Act which stipulates illumination under the Environmental Regulations and gives details for a number of tasks and working environments. Thanks Jessica
what is the maximum weight employees are allowed to pick up in South Africa?
Hi Pat, Thanks for your question. This does depend on a number of factors: 1. the individual e.g age, size, shape, etc. 2. the task e.g lifting, lowering 3. the duration e.g 8 hours a day 4. the frequency of picking up e.g 5 times per minute 5. the object to be picked up e.g shape, size, weight, handles present or not 6. environment e.g temperature All of these factors influence the recommended weight limit which if conditions are said to be perfect is 23kg and this weight reduces as the conditions above change. We suggest you look into the NIOSH equation for lifting however in South Africa there is no recommendation. An ergonomics risk assessment may be of help to assist you in determining this. Thanks, Jessica
Good dayI would like to know what aircon room temperature should be?Regards
Hi Olivia, Thanks for your question. We suggest between 22-23 degrees Celsius and those employees who find this too hot or too cold should dress appropriately. This is recommended based on International Guidelines as South Africa does not stipulate this. Thanks Jessica
Can you put me in touch with an ergonomics specialist in the Cape Town area? Someone who can access my workspace and make suggestions on how to improve. Thanks
Hi Rianda, Thanks for your question. Please consult the list of Ergonomic Specialists on the ESSA website who may be able to assist you. Thanks Jessica
What is the minimum sqaure meters a closed office space may be in accordance to South African Law?
Hi Candice, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you look at the OHS Act as this stipulates that employees should be provided with 2.25 square metres of office space. Thanks Jessica
Is it ok for workers to sit with heaters under the desk all day?
HI Teresa, Thanks for your question. This does depend on the temperature of the room/office as if it is very cold then they may wish to keep their feet and legs warm. It is also important to ensure that the heaters are not too hot to prevent a fire risk and that ventilation is provided so that the room does not become stuffy which can reduce performance. It may be necessary to determine why the employees are using the heaters and what best can be improved in the workplace to prevent this. Thanks, Jessica
I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and finally did the carpal release surgery. I want to know which mouse can you recommend to avoid the recurrence of the syndrome since my work demands use of computer.
Hi Tlaki, Thanks for your question. In terms of a mouse we suggest you perhaps do some online research as this may be a personal choice, however what is strongly recommended is a mouse pad which has a gel wrist support area that supports the carpel tunnel area rather than resting your wrist on a flat mouse pad. This will provide cushioning and support. Thanks, Jessica
Good day, I would like to know people who is wheelchair bound must the office workspace also be 2.25 square meters or will it differ as I can't find anything w.r.t it
Hi Ria, Thanks for your question. You may wish to consult the National Building Regulations SANS 10400 and in particular the section which details workspaces for disabled employees. One would need to consider the turning circle of employees who are wheelchair bound and the extra space required for them to move around comfortably and safely. Thanks, Jessica
what is the heaviest a school bag can be in south africa
HI Mohammed, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we do not have the answer for you and suggest you look at a website ergokid which may help you. It would however depend on the age of the child and a number of other factors. Thanks, Jessica
What is the normal work space employee must have while working in a factory?
Hi Mariana, Thanks for your question, Unfortunately for factories this isn't well documented. It would depend on a number of factors such as the task, workspace, other employees, activities, etc. so we would suggest a risk assessment is done to perhaps determine this. Thanks Jessica
advantages of ergonomics
Hi Macdonald, Thanks for your question. There are a number of advantages of Ergonomics 1. Reduction in number of injuries 2. Healthier employees and healthier workplace 3. Safer equipment / processes 4. More efficient employees in terms of performance 5. Reduced costs spent on retraining 6. Fewer accidents 7. Greater productivity for the organisation Thanks, Jessica
Hi Reinhart What are the office open plan ettiquette list of guidelines in terms of the South African labour law.
Hi Anele, Thanks for your questions. We do not have specifics in terms of office etiquette and we are sure you could get this information online, however areas such as eating at your desk, noise, privacy, telephone calls etc. may be issues to look at. Thanks, Jessica
We are a welding operations company, where we have welding machines near each other. I would like to know is there any specification to know how much space should there be between the machines?
Hi Rakhi, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we cannot assist you with this question, but you may wish to consult an Engineer who may be able to advise you further. Thanks, Jessica
how do i bcome an ergonimics and where do i get training in south africa,
Hi. Rhodes University in Grahamstown offers an ergonomics degree. You need to complete your undergrad BSc and then complete an Honours degree in Ergonomics, as well as a Masters degree in Ergonomics. Good luck.
What is the maximum class-room temperature that High School Children can be expected to work in. Are there any regulations, if not for educational purposes, are there any regulations for example office workers?Regards Leon
Hi Leon, Thanks for your question. In terms of children the OHS Act does not deal with this. We suggest you look into the OHS Act with specific reference to the Environmental Regulations which details temperature and ventilation but for office employees. Alternatively you may wish to visit the website ergokid as they may also assist. Thanks, Jessica
Hi. I would like to find out what the weight limit is for manual lifting in the workplace
Hi Ryno In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information or an Ergonomist for an ergonomic risk assessment.
Hi i am currently designing a device which enables wheelchair access to stairs and would like to know the maximum pushing or pulling force of a 7 year old South African school child. In order to wind a crank etc.
Hi Shaylin, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we don't have this information but you may wish to consult British Standards which do have this information and also the website ergokid. Thanks Jessica
What is the number of toilets according to SANS required in office blocks
HI Kemraj, Thanks for your question. We suggest you look at SANS 10400 which details the number of toilets per the number of people. Thanks, Jessica
I need to know what is the maximum temperature we could expect employees to work in without air-conditioning. We are currently in a warehouse environment and the temperatures can soar to above 30 degrees C - can't seem to find anything in H&S Legislation relating to high temps - Regulation 2 refers to below 0.
Hi Ursula, Thanks for your question. Please refer to the OHS Act and specifically the Environmental Regulations which deals with temperatures also above 30 degrees. You may wish to also look at the Ventilation section and bear in mind employees need to be provided with 600ml of cold liquid for working in outside conditions. Thanks Jessica
are workspace sizes regulated statutorily in rsa?
Hi Tshepo, Thanks for your question. Are you referring to workspace size as in office space? If so this is regulated in South Africa in the OHS Act as is 2.25 square metres per person. Thanks, Jessica
can you assist with a contractor that could do a survey in our buildings with regards to the quality of lighting in our building
Hi Johan, Thanks for your question. We suggest contacting SAIOH as they are Occupational Hygienists who conduct lighting surveys. Thanks Jessica
Please advise what is the minimum metres cubed per person in an office.
Hi Annabel Thanks for your question. If you consult the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act) you will find under the Environmental Regulations that employees should be provided with 2.25 square metres of office space. This space includes the chair, desk, computer and accessories. This can be found in the Environmental Regulations under Housekeeping. Thanks, ESSA
Please can you advise what is the changed legislation for the minimum amount of floor space that a call centre agent is permitted.
Hi Ursula, Thanks for your question. In terms of minimum space for a call centre agent we do not have this information but the OHS Act suggests 2.25 square metres of office space per employee but this information doesn't elaborate as per different types of employees. Thanks Jessica
Hi,Is there legislation regarding the number of toilets required per x number of people in an office environment? The details are 13 people in an office (adequate space) with access to 1 toilet. Is this unlawful. Thanks so much for your help.Sally
Hi Sally, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you get a copy of the National Building Regulations which will assist you in determining the number of toilets per the number of people. It is SANS 10400. Thanks Jessica
Our company builds electrical harnesses on a moving production line. The building boards are 600mm from the ground and are approximately 1800mm high from the ground (eye level). What is the ergonomic standard for a standing operator building on such a building board? (arm height for example)Thank you
Hi Johan, Thanks for your question. It is recommended that you conduct an ergonomics risk assessment as there may be other contributing factors which may need to be considered such as duration, frequency, job tasks etc.. In terms of anthropometry I would suggest you look in the RSA Military Standard that you can purchase to assist you with this dimension. Thanks, Jessica
Morning, could you please let me know the maximum weight that a grade 4 primary school child's schoolbag may weigh in order not to cause any damage to his/ her body?
Hi Marlie, Thanks for your question. You may wish to visit the website of ergokid which will be able to assist you. Thanks Jessica
Hi ESSA,Please could you tell me what the average size of desk space is required per person in an office area. Is there any type or formula which could be applied to a area to determine the sizes of desks required. Once we have established this we will look further into lighting, air, e.t.c.Kind RegardsClint
HI Clint, Thanks for your question. Regarding desk size there are no hard and fast specifics but it should be within: 71cm desk depth 65-82cm desk height 120-160cm desk width 38cm clearance under desk for knees 61cm clearance under desk for feet 51 cm under desk clearance for the width Thanks, Jessica
Hi there. My husband is a mechanic and he works in a workshop where all the cars get fixed, so there is always petrol, oil and other gases etc in the air. This summer is much hotter than before, but the workshop often reaches higher temps than it is outside. We are in South Africa.There is hardly any ventilation in the workshop except for two garage doors that open up. There is no fan, extractor fan or airconditioning.I would like to find out what the law is for working in these conditions. Thank you.Chyvonne
Hi Chyvonne Thanks for your question. If you consult the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act) you will find under the Environmental Regulations that if the average WBGT index exceeds 30 deg the employer must if possible take steps to reduce the index to below 30. However, if this is not possible and where hard labour is performed the employer must 1) have employees certified fit to work in such an environment, 2) ensure the employee is acclimatised, 3) inform employee to drink water, 4) train employees in heat stroke prevention and 5) provide means for prompt first aid treatment if required. The details of the above can be found in the Environmental Regulations under Thermal requirements (4). I hope this helps. Thanks, ESSA
is there any specific guidelines regarding the amount office space per person per square metre?
Hi Gustav Thanks for your question. If you consult the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act) you will find under the Environmental Regulations that employees should be provided with 2.25 square metres of office space. This space includes the chair, desk, computer and accessories. This can be found in the Environmental Regulations under Housekeeping. Thanks, ESSA
Good Day I would like to find out how you have established that the workspace rate per person is 2.25? According to the SANS 10400-A the workspace rate is calculated according to the classification of occupancy the building would fall under.
Hi Hermien Thanks for your question. If you consult the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act) you will find under the Environmental Regulations that employees should be provided with 2.25 square metres of office space. This space includes the chair, desk, computer and accessories. This can be found in the Environmental Regulations under Housekeeping. Thanks, ESSA
what is the minimum office space allocation for managers in an office where 2 people are sharing and office - incl. chairs , visitor chairs and cupboards?
HI Jose, Thanks for your question. The OHS Act stipulates 2.25 square metres per person in an office environment. Thanks, Jessica
Hi there, is there any legislation which specify what outdoor working temperatures are unsafe? If so would a contractor have a claim for lost time against a client/contract?
Hi Amor, Thanks for your question. Please consult the OHS Act, with specific reference to the Environmental Regulations on temperature. Thanks, Jessica
I do not know why I did not receive any printed copy of Ergonomics SA journal in 2013. I did pay my renewal fee of R325 Thank you
Hi Adekunle, Thanks for your email. Apologies we look into this for you. Thanks, Jessica
How many toilets and parking bays are required for commercial office space.
Hi Nick, Thanks for your question. We suggest you look at SANS 10400 which are the national Building Regulations and they specifically state the number of toilets and detail parking space. Thanks, Jessica
in a office open plan how many meters per person so i do not force to many in office
Hi Aubrey, Thanks for your question. Each employee should be provided with 2.25 square metres of office space as per the OHS Act. Thanks Jessica
What are the ergonomic hazards and challenges found in home and hostels?
HI Wisdom, Thanks for your question. There can be a number of hazards such as fires, tripping, slipping, working at different counter top heights, accessing tools / goods etc. Please let us know more information so we can assist you further. Thanks, Jessica
HiWhat is the ratio of females and number of toilets on an office floor?
Hi Wilma, Thanks for your question. We suggest you look into the SANS 10400 Building Regulations which makes specific reference to the number of toilets per the number of employees. Thanks, Jessica
Does SA have any legislature with regards to office space for staff at different levels in their career e.gManagement,specialists,Head of departments
Hi Livhu, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately the OHS Act does not specify this for different levels of management etc. but only provide a description for all employees of 2.25 square metres per person. Thanks, Jessica
Are there a definition about the maximun number of passengeres per square meter in subway sistems
Hi Francisco, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you contact subway stations in your country who may be able to assist you as unfortunately we do not have this information. The RSSB in the UK may be of help. Thanks Jessica
What is the average temperature the airconditioner in a open plan office can be set to?
HI Reinhart, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately South African legislation isn't very clear on this. We however use international legislation for thermal comfort which may be of interest to you. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. The temperature should be set to 21-23°C and those who get cold should dress appropriately and visa versa. I hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
Our monitoring centre is a 24/7 365 operation, which has at any given time a staff compliment of 60 people in an oper area space of 420 m2
Hi Lynn, Thanks for your question. Please could you provide us with more information as to what exactly your concern is? Thanks, Jessica
Please provide info on minimum door aperture widths.
Hi Ray, Thanks for your question. Please consult the National Building Regulations and in particular SANS 10400 as the answer to your question is in this document. Thanks, Jessica
Question and response earlier refers, about 24 October, in which you suggested a dry bulb temperature of say 23 degrees in summer. Now - I moved to another division with a new table, RIGHT UNDER an air conditioner (York; could not get the model). Measurable temperature (mercury?) say 22-23 degrees, but due to ice cold wind directly on me the felt temperature (do not know the correct terminology) is quite lower. It blows directly on my right arm I use for the mouse of the computer. The computer or the table cannot be moved; no other suitable desks open. The first day my arm was so cold I could about not use it for a few hours after I left the office. And the wind is also on my head; and sometimes mess with papers on my table. I cannot move the wind flow op, as then others are complaining. What now? If I could, I would get another job; but that also is not likely at my age. I am in Centurion, Pretoria. Please help with new insights! Thanks
Hi Annette, Thanks for your question. This is a difficult one. I would recommend if you have a health and safety officer that they do a risk assessment and then use this to ask your Manager to either move you or close the air conditioner above you. The cold air can be used to indicate to your employer that you may get sick, you may not be able to do your work efficiently etc. and so the alternative must be to either move you, and if this is not possible, then to close the vent of this air conditioner. Thanks, Jessica
Is there a regulation regarding the number of children per square meter at a ECD (Early Child Development Centre) or creche? We have a problem regarding a health inspector where he refuses to issue a health certficate as he says there are too many children at the ECD. There is plenty of space at the ECD and it complies with all health and safety requirements.Please could you assist us in this regard.Kind regardsIrene
Hi Irene, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you do some research on this as unfortunately we cannot assist you. Perhaps you could also let us know on what grounds the Inspector is not giving your crèche a certificate and what regulation he/she is using as we are not sure what regulations there are that specifically address this matter. We would suggest the Inspector needs to advise as to what regulation he/she is using to deny your crèche a certificate. Thanks Jessica
What is the maximum allowed weight for a man or woman to be lifted in the workplace?
Hi Jaco In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information or an Ergonomist for an ergonomic risk assessment.
I am a Licensee and train ergonomics. I would like to learn more about the subject in order to provide a better solution to my clients. They build heavy duty machines, like tractors, heavy loading machines etc.I do not have the funds to get certified but I would dearly like to become involved as it is a passion of mine and I know the stretches you can do to reduce strains. I have studied on my own by reading articles but I want more knowledge
Hi Diane, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you contact the Society and keep in touch so that we can provide you with details re conferences and seminars. Thanks Jessica
Our company is renting our workshop/offices on industrial premises and have been for the last 3years. There are plenty of offices and workshops on the premises. The workshop next to ours became vacant and 2 months ago a plastic extrusion company moved in. They operate a plastic re-grinder to break their waste material into smaller pieces so they can melt it again for the extrusion process. The re-grinder is positioned right next to our conjoining wall and the noise is unbearable. We can hardly hear what one another says in the workshop and offices. Do we have any option in getting rid of the noise? We haven't measured the noise levels but I'm in no doubt that its higher than allowed by the health and safety act.Please help!
Hi Stephan, Thanks for your question. I would highly recommend you get an Occupational Hygienist in to measure the noise levels and this will give you "proof" that the noise levels are too high and how these levels will impact on your health, safety and comfort which will ultimately will impact on your performance. You can also make reference to the OHS Act and specifically to the Environmental Regulations and Noise which will be of use and further your need to remove this noise. We hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
hello . I am a fourth year physiotherapy student , was wondering what steps i would need to talke, and any further learning ,igf i was interested in becaming an ergonomics
Hi Kgopotso, Thanks for your question. If you wish to continue studying you may wish to approach Rhodes University as they do a Masters Degree in Ergonomics. Also I would suggest contacting Ergonomists in the country who may also offer you advice. Thanks, Jessica
Hi Jessica,We are claims assesors for the freight industry. I see from other posts that the amount that can be manually lifted in not prescribed in SA legislation.You make reference to NIOSh but this is Canadian legislation.Surely a person cannot be expected to pick up 100 kgs manually?
Hi Steve, Unfortunately South Africa does not have legislation regarding the maximum weight that can be lifted and therefore it is imperative that an Ergonomics Specialist be involved to determine this limit as the NIOSH recommended weight limit (RWL) is 23kg...but that is if all the different conditions are perfect! In terms of lifting it is not all about the weight that is being lifted but factors such as the environment, individual, object etc. must also be factored into consideration. NIOSH is the most widely used of equations and even though it is an internationally derived equation it can be used on a South African population. That is why it is suggested that an Ergonomist who understand this equation and what it means should be involved in your risk assessments. We hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
We are an IT company working in a open office environment. Are their any laws/guidelines/Standards wrt room temperature. Some people like temp of 24C and higher and some prefer 23C and lower. Can you help with this please?
Hi Carinus, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately South African legislation isn't very clear on this. We however use international legislation for thermal comfort which may be of interest to you. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. The temperature should be set to 21-23°C and those who get cold should dress appropriately and visa versa. I hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
Hi. I am the Ergonomics co-ordinator at the company I work for and am required by company policy to do an Ergonomics diploma/certificate/course. Please advise as to whom I can contact to obtain the relevant information. As far as I can ascertain, there are only degrees available in South Africa.
Hi Graham, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you contact one of our listed Consultants on our website who may be able to assist you with presentations/training/lectures/courses etc. and possibly cater these to your particular industry. Thanks, Jessica
I need to know what are the regulations regarding having a tea room for your department. Eg: in a hospital are the nurses doctors radiographers pharmacists dentists supposed to have their own tea rooms? at the moment my department has none and we eat in the store room basically.
Hi Janet, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you familiarize yourself with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, with particular reference to the Facilities regulations. Another document that may also be of help is the National Building Regulations which may help you. In terms of Health Laws and Regulations you may wish to consult the HPCSA as they may have further information. Thanks, Jessica
Information Tegnology employee is working in a open plan office,name all the sections of Occupational Health and safety act.85 of 1993 which are applicable in this situation
Hi Michelle, Thanks for your question. The OHS Act must be read in conjunction with the Regulations. There are many Regulations and some may not be applicable, however the OHS Act is applicable to every employer and employee. I would suggest you obtain a copy of these and either get your HR or your Safety Practitioner to assist you. Thanks, Jessica
How best do we accomodate employees with physical disabilities in our organisation. i.e. wheelchair bound?Thank you
Hi Boitumelo, Many thanks for your question. I would suggest you consult an Ergonomics specialist to assist you. Thanks for your question. Jessica
Problem is aircons that is not switched on irrespective the temperatures outside. There is a wind flow with the aircons that cannot be switched off, causing people to complain. The suggested solution is to switch it on for a while and then off again. That causes variances in the temperature that is unhealthy. I am resorting to a fan, but that is the same - being hot and sweaty and then getting wind on you is a sure recipe for being more ill than not. The majority are ladies doing jerseys in the summer. There should be a way to resolve the problem with a constant, maybe higher temperature - but then they complain about the wind. Please help. I feel they want to get rid of me, and due to my age a move will not be easy. Help!
Hi Annette, Thanks for your question. You may wish to consult the Occupational Health and Safety Act under the Environmental Regulations which specifies temperature and ventilation. However it doesn't set the recommended office temperature which we use based on international best practice. We however use international legislation for thermal comfort which may be of interest to you. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. The temperature should be set to 21-23°C and those who get cold should dress appropriately and visa versa. I hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
What is the minimum workspace per employee for Government buildings and different departments within the government in South Africa (or alternatively where can obtain this information)
Hi Li-Alet, Thanks for your question. If you consult the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act) you will find under the Environmental Regulations that employees should be provided with 2.25 square metres of office space. This space includes the chair, desk, computer and accessories. This can be found in the Environmental Regulations under Housekeeping. Thanks, Jessica
I would like to find out if there any minimum design guidelines / standards / norms which prescribe the minimum distance a child needs to be seated from the black / white board in order to not negatively impact physical well being or learning. The particular instance I make reference to is having the child seated right up against the chalk board, bearing in mind the teacher will be behind the child so will have to strain to see the board, and will not see / view actions made during explanation by the teacher.
Hi Massi, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately this information is not well documented in SA. You may wish to visit a website www.ergonomics4schools.com where you may find the answer there. It would seem unfair and the child may be disadvantaged in terms of not being able to see the teacher so I would suggest that the class is probably too big for the size of the room and perhaps you need to take this up with the school. We hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
Good day, At what intervals after a construction project has started should ergonomic surveys/ checks be done.Regards,
Hi Ingrid, Thanks for your question. Ergonomics should be considered from the very start of any project. Reason being is you need to conduct an Ergonomics risk assessment to determine what are the hazards and risk likely to be and what will the employees be required to do. This will determine what measures you will need to put in place to ensure that the health and safety of the employees is managed. Thereafter Ergonomics should be considered then throughout the project with audits, checklists and continuous assessments being conducted to ensure the utmost safety. Ergonomics is not a quick fix or something that should be considered after the fact. Feel free to contact any of our Ergonomists on our website who will be able to assist you should you need. Thanks, Jessica
I need to order a Safety Step for one of mycolleagues & this website was given to me.Kindly let me know whether you could supply it?
Hi Anita, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we do not supply safety steps, but perhaps you may wish to consult either one of our ergonomists or perhaps contact one of the Safety organisations in South Africa. Thanks, Jessica
Good day, Please may you advise me where I can purchase a good quality ergonomic dental operating chair that would support my lower back while seeing patients. Thank you.
Hi Busi, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you contact one of the Ergonomists listed on our website who will be able to assist you with a list of suppliers. Thanks Jessica
Hi pls help how much mostly can I charge per square miter for commercial,industrial,retail and window cleaning??
Hi Matome, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we cannot assist as we are an Ergonomics Society and do no specialize in window cleaning etc. Thanks, Jessica
I run a kitchen is there a square meter formula as to how many staff per square should be in the kitchen at any one time
Hi Jacque, Thanks for your question. It does depend on what the activities are, how much space is there, how many people are required to work in this space etc. One would need to make sure that employees do not become injured, hurt or their performance compromised due to a lack of space. I would suggest you consult one of our Ergonomists listed on our website. Thanks, Jessica
can the employer weld the office windows closed of a building?
Hi Rimelda, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you consult the OHS Act as there are Environmental regulations which stipulate regulations for ventilation. This includes windows and air supply through mechanical means e.g. air conditioners. Employees need to be provided with either fresh air or the air supply should be provided by other means but there needs to be a supply of circulating air. Thanks, Jessica
What is roughly the hourly rate to have an ergonomist consult?
Hi Thelma, Thanks for your question. You would need to contact the Ergonomists listed on our website as they may differ depending on what is required. Thanks, Jessica
Hi,please clarify the following for me in regards to open plan office space. You indicate that the workspace must be 2.25m2/person, does this 2.25m include area space for the office desk or is it excluding area space taken up by the office desk. Thank you,anusha
Hi Anusha, Thanks for your question. Yes the 2.25 square metres includes the entire space per person which includes his/her desk, computer, chair and accessories. In addition to the space required to move around. Thanks, Jessica
Good day - please can you tell me how many square meters are required per employee in a factory / warehouse area. I know its 2.25m2 for office / machinery workers, but does this apply to factory workers as well ?
Hi Carmen, Thanks for your question. It does depend on a number of factors e.g. activities, number of people, space etc. For office work it is recommended to be 2.25 square metres so it will depend on the above factors for a factory. The best would be to consult an Ergonomist for assistance. A list of names and companies are on our website. Thanks, Jessica
Where can I find recommended specifications for a chair for a computer workstation where a PA sits and works on the computer as well as recommended layout of the workstation?
Hi Brynt, Thanks for your question. You are welcome to contact one of our Ergonomists listed on our website who will be able to give you names of recommended Ergonomic chair suppliers and Ergonomic specifications for office layout (desk, chair and computers). Thanks, Jessica
I would like to study and qualify as an Ergonomist. i have qualified as a chiropractor (M.Dip.C) and also have a Masters:Sports Medicine, but would like to study further. Please can you help direct me?RegardsAndrew Jones
Hi Andrew, Thanks for your email. Please contact Dr Candice Christie, the HOD of the Department of Human Kinetics and Ergonomics as Rhodes University. Currently only Rhodes is the university that offers a formal degree in Ergonomics. Her email is: c.christie@ru.ac.za Thanks, Jessica
Good day,I would like to know whether there is a document/guideline, other than the OHS Act, describing best practice in terms of office furniture for open a cellular offices, e.g. thickness and height of desk top etc.? As well as best practice in terms of office quality in terms of layout, lighting, temperature, squares per person/office etc.Kind regardsSankia
Hi Sankia, Thanks for your question. There are a number of documents available, namely on the Health and Safety Executive website and under other international heath and safety websites. However I would suggest contacting an Ergonomist in South Africa (a list of names/companies are on our website) who should be able to assist you. Thanks, Jessica
Is there a prescribed method for an ergonomic study to be done on bending and lifting, or pushing and pulling? Should the Occupational Health Practitioner draft a formal report to state findings and recommendations?
HI Vijay, Thanks for your question. I would suggest that you contact an Ergonomist who will work together with the Occupational Health Practitioner. There are a number of tools/techniques available and it is best that an expert advise as to which of these you should use e.g NIOSH Lifting equation etc. Feel free to contact an expert Ergonomist on our website. Thanks, Jessica
Good morning,I would like to know what is the minimum temperature that is allowed to work in an office/shop in South Africa as the most buildings are very cold in the winter and we do get sick because of it. Sitting infront of the computer and doing your work and working with an open door in the shop you are freezing and your hands are ice cold. The shops in the mall's are not as cold as this shop's. What is the maximum temperature that food (flours, sugar etc) and medicine (supplements) should be exposed to. The normal room temperature I do know of is 20 degrees? I do need proof of the legislation to put on the table.
Hi Annelise, You may wish to consult the Occupational Health and Safety Act of South Africa and under the environmental regulations you can read up about cold temperature and hot temperatures. I would also suggest you look at redesigning your workplace and perhaps look at closing the door or moving employees so that they are not in the cold wind. Thanks, Jessica
Can you advise me where we can buy ergonomic industrial chairs for production lines,please? Stellenbosch- Cape Town area.
Hi Elsa, Thanks for your question. You can check up Cecil Nurse or you can also look at Herman Miller chairs. Thanks., Jessica
what is the acceptable weight a person may lift at work?
Hi Ellouisa Thanks for your question. In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information or an Ergonomist for an ergonomic risk assessment. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, My office chair at home and work keeps breaking, wheel break and wondering what is the problem. * Can a person's weight cause this how problem?* Is there a standard/guidelines on how to select or buy suitable chair for an employees?* Is there standard chart available for a suitable chair selction relating to weight?
Hi Musa, Thanks for your question. The chair may be cheap quality or it may be that the chair is old. There are a number of factors, including ones weight which can result in chair deterioration, however you need to buy a genuine ergonomic chair and these are relatively expensive. Are you moving your chair over a carpet? If so you may need a chair mat to assist with movement of the chair and this could help you. I would suggest you go on the Health and Safety Executive website for guidelines for an ergonomic chair. However it must be sturdy and most chairs recommend a certain weight that they can support so also look out for this. Thanks, Jessica
Hi JessicaWhat are the requirement re square meter per child in a primary school? Thanx
Hi Mpho, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately there is no legislation regarding this in South Africa, pertaining to school children. The OHS Act states 2.25 m2 per person in an office environment but it doesn't mention schools. Thanks, Jessica
what is ergonomics in the workplace and how we can get it assessed in the workshops.
Hi Khetelani, Thanks for your question. Ergonomics aims to ensure workplaces are healthy and safe by ensuring employees are considered in the design of tools, equipment and work environments. It can be applied in any workplace. You can visit our website for more detail and if you need an Ergonomist consult our list of specialists who would do Ergonomic risk assessments. Thanks Jessica
We am seated in an open plan office with three other employees. Our employer wants to remove our current desks and replace it with smaller ones, in order to fit two more employees. Thus, there will be a total of six employees within the office space. The office is
Hi Jatheen, You would need to ensure a number of factors are not compromised with the increase in personnel in the available space: 1. More people, the hotter the workplace so ensure a comfortable temperature is maintained and there is a constant supply of fresh air. 2. Noise increases so there may be a need to develop a policy to ensure privacy is maintained and people are not distracted. 3. Space. Employees according to the OHS Act need 2.25m2 of space so this should still be maintained. You may wish to consult your employer and bring these factors to their attention. Thanks, Jessica
Hi There please can you tell me what tempreture is considered too cold for an open plan office enviroment?Many thanks
Hi Leigh, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you consult the OHS Act and look at the Environmental regulations under temperature. Also your office should have a temperature of between 21-23 Degrees Celsius. Thanks Jessica
2.25m2/person. is this area the area behind the desk or the total floor area divided by the number of people? How do I accomodate this regulation in a Call Centre where the width of the desks are 1.2m?
HI Paul, The 2.25 m2 is the floor area in terms of space. You can consult the OHS Act under the Environmental Regulations. Thanks, Jessica
In a warehouse environment, how much is a person required to fit (in weight)? and Please consider the frequency with the weight.
Hi Theledi, Thanks for your question. In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up, carried, pushed and pulled. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, frequency, duration, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information or an Ergonomist. Thanks Jessica
Is it legal to build a new building where some of the offices are built in the centre of the building. These offices will have light fittings and glass windows into the passage, but no windows to the outside and no natural light.
Hi Hanna, I would suggest you look at the OHS Act under the Environmental Regulations and Facilities Regulations. These may be of help to you. Thanks, Jessica
Maximum weight allowed to lift in a hour
Hi Piet, Thanks for your question. In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up, carried, pushed and pulled. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information or an Ergonomist. Thanks Jessica
Good Day I trust you are well. Just a Question about Employees and chairs/ sitting. If they have a desk and chair and are required to sit because of the work they do, can other Co- workers complain about them sitting and doing their work? Is there a law/Ergonomics. This person also have poor blood circulation on their leg and has some sort of ulcer , but they stand when they need to serve customers etc. Thank you Take Care
Hi Jamie, Sitting all day and standing all day can be equally dangerous. In order to best assist you it is suggested the employee concerned go for a medical check as part of fitness for duty and medical surveillance. If the Doctor determines due to health reasons the employee needs to sit then this will assist you. For the other employees I would suggest an Ergonomics risk assessment to determine if they should be provided with chairs or sit/stand chairs as standing all day can result in health complications and impact on employees performance. Thanks Jessica
I find going to visit my son in hospital really uncomfortable, as the AC's are always above 25 and sometimes 30. What should they be and is there a standard, as I believe bacterial infections are caused when AC's are too warm. I want to send your reply to the hospital, as the staff think I am crazy when I complain. Thanks Bev
Hi Bev, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately South African legislation isn't very clear on this. We however use international legislation for thermal comfort which may be of interest to you. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. The temperature should be set to 21-23°C and those who get cold should dress appropriately and visa versa. However in terms of hospitals they may have their own requirements given the spread of bacteria and diseases and the need to keep certain medication and equipment under certain temperatures so you may need to investigate this. I hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
Where in the ohs act is there legal refrences for ergamonics laws and regulations
Hi Jeanine, Thanks for your question. You can consult the OHS Act and under the following you will have references for Ergonomics: 1. Construction regulations e.g ergonomic design 2. Facilities regulation e.g. ergonomic chair Also the COID Act: 1. Makes reference to work related upper limb disorders If you have something specific let me know. Thanks Jessica
What is the ptescribed light, temperature, and noise levels for administrative officws
HI Pierre, Thanks for your question. You may wish to consult the Occupational Health and Safety Act of South Africa and refer in that to the Environmental regulations. It is detailed the requirements for noise, lighting and temperature. Thanks, Jessica
My question;-) I am an AHPCSA REG Therapeutic Massage Therapist andwould like to know how i can obtain certification to become a REG Ergonomist?Thank you
Hi Warren, Thanks for your question. To be a registered Ergonomist according to the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) one has to have a Masters Degree in Ergonomics or a related field. Thanks, Jessica
Hello, is there any legislation or best practice of maximum weights for lifting, both for males and females? Please advise
Hi James, Thanks for your question. Thanks for your question. In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up, carried, pushed and pulled. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information or an Ergonomist. Thanks Jessica
What is the maximum weight that one person can carry over a distance with two hands
HI Francois, Thanks for your question. In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up, carried, pushed and pulled. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information or an Ergonomist. Thanks Jessica
HiWe are currently busy with a IMS risk assessment and I have mostly food safety and quality experience. I would like to know where I will find acceptable levels of ergonomics e.g. amount of weight to be picked up to certain distance that will enabel me to review our current processes.Regards, Adel
Hi Adel, Thanks for your question. In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information. Thanks, Jessica
Hi how much an average reinforced steel fixer carry
Hi Nkululeko, Thanks for your question. In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up, carried, pushed and pulled. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information or an Ergonomist. Thanks Jessica
I want to have my boiler stoker trolley tables certified(as you would do with ladders). What procedure do i have to follow and who do i speak to?Kind regardsLitha
Hi Litha, Thanks for your question. I would suggest consulting someone in the Construction Industry as we are not in a position to assist with this. Thanks. Jessica
We have an open plan office with windows, but the employees refuse to open the windows because they get cold. The same employees keep on setting our aircon to
Hi Lisa, hanks for your question. We however use international legislation for thermal comfort which may be of interest to you. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. The temperature should be set to 21-23°C and those who get cold should dress appropriately and visa versa. I hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
hello what are the requirements in high school with regards to chair and desk heights?
Hi Debra, Unfortunately there is no legislation regarding this in South Africa, however what could assist in answering your question is that the desk height, i.e working height is usually sitting elbow height. You may wish to try and find anthropometric data (probably in the UK) which looks at the anthropometrics (body shapes and sizes) and this data could give you sitting elbow height for the age groups you are interested in. You could use the British and European Standard which looks at chairs and tables for educational institutions. It is not free so you may need to purchase it or try and find a free copy. The reference is BS EN 1729 Chair and Table Guide. Let us know how you get on. Thanks, Jessica
what is precribed office desk space or working surface space in south africa?
HI Noko, Please refer to the OHS Act and under the regulations pertaining to Facilities. Each employee should be provided with 2.25 square metres of space. Thanks, Jessica
What is the role of the Ergonomics Society Of South Africa
Hi Nkosi, Thanks for your question. Please refer to the main page of the website. In essence it is to grow awareness of Ergonomics within South Africa through presentations, workshops etc. Thanks, Jessica
what are the references for all this information?
Hi, Please could you expand on your question. Many thanks, Jessica
how to reference for this
Hi Could you please expand on your question? Many thanks, Jessica
What is the requirements for school children in primary school with regards to chair and desk hights. Are these requirements legally enforsable or just sugestions.? What health risks are there in desks being too high for a child?
Hi Leonie, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately there is no legislation regarding this in South Africa, however what could assist in answering your question is that the desk height, i.e working height is usually sitting elbow height. You may wish to try and find anthropometric data (probably in the UK) which looks at the anthropometrics (body shapes and sizes) and this data could give you sitting elbow height for the age groups you are interested in. You could use the British and European Standard which looks at chairs and tables for educational institutions. It is not free so you may need to purchase it or try and find a free copy. The reference is BS EN 1729 Chair and Table Guide. As there is no legislation it may be that there is no enforcement. Health risks for sitting at a too high desk can result in muscular, neural and skeletal injuries to children. It can also cause pain and tension which then may impact on the child's ability to learn if they are working in an uncomfortable work environment. This can impact on a child's mental and physical development. Thanks, Jessica
Hi thereIn a call centre environment how many square metres per employee is needed and in which regulation is this stated?Jason
Hi Jason, Thanks for your question. It is stated in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) in the Environmental Regulations that each employee in an open plan environment should be provided with 2.25 square metres of space. Thanks, Jessica
We have a staff member who has thrown out her office chair and replaced it with a huge exercise ball. This person is working on her laptop whilst sitting on this ball. Should we allow this practice.
HI David, Thanks for your question. It is difficult as the Occupational Health and Safety Act states that employees should be provided with an Ergonomic chair, however this is not well defined as to what exactly this is. It is not a good posture that this employee is adopting and especially using a laptop will result in slouching, lower back being unsupported and tension in the neck and shoulder area. Overtime this could result in musculoskeletal problems. The employee should be discouraged from working in such a poor posture, but whether you can force the employee to not work like this is debatable. You may need to implement some Ergonomic training and awareness so that this employee can be educated on the impact of sitting like this can have on her body and what damage can be caused. Thanks, Jessica
What is the standard Area of an office in Squre meters?
Hi Sabelo, Thanks for your question. It is stated in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) in the Environmental Regulations that each employee in an open plan environment should be provided with 2.25 square metres of space. Thanks, Jessica
I am working as an occupational health medical practitioner in Durban. One of my sites has employees who are exposed to vibration among other ergonomic hazards. Please advise who could do a risk assessment and advise on interventions, if any.
Hi Dr Zodwa, Thanks for your question. Please consult the list of companies on the ESSA website for consultants / companies who can assist you. Thanks Jessica
Hi Jessica,What should be the distance between a desk and a wall to allow free flow of movement.
Hi Livingstone, Thanks for your question. It is not so easy to answer your question, but in terms of how much space each person should be provided with you can consult the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) with specific reference to the Environmental Regulations that each employee in an open plan environment should be provided with 2.25 square metres of space. The space between your desk and a wall should allow you enough movement to swivel your chair and to walk between without causing any unnecessary harm to you. Thanks, Jessica
Where can you purchase a quill mouse?
Hi Linelle, Thanks for your question. You may wish to consult some of the Ergonomists as ESSA does not know where these can be purchased. Do let us know if you are successful. Thanks Jessica
Do ergonomic professionals also sell ergonomic chairs ?If so, would this not be a conflict of interest in assessing existing office chairs to be non-compliant?
Hi Yashmeen, Many thanks for your question. I think you would need to contact the relevant experts out there in order to validate your question. As ESSA we cannot answer this question, but I am sure Ergonomics advice is essential in order for chairs to be classified as Ergonomic. Thanks, Jessica
Hi Jessica,I was wondering what the stipulated amount of space per person in an office space is?Thanks
Hi Tegan, Thanks for your question. In the OHS Act it is stated that employees working in an open plan environment require 2.25 square metres of space. Many thanks, Jessica
Hi Jessica, I'm an mechanical engineering student at a well know South African university. I have to design a rigid chair without a backrest for vibration testing. The seat will be used by dynamic seat comfort testing and needs to be applicable for individuals ranging between the 5th percentile female and 95th percentile male (south african). To do complete my design i need the heights and weights of a 5th percentile female and 95th percentile male. i also require the popliteal heights, seat widths and seat depths for the 5th percentile female and 95th percentile male. is there anyway you can helping me in this regard or refer me somewhere else. Thanks Petrus
Hi Petrus, Thanks for your question. You may wish to consult the RSA Military Standard on Anthropometrics data, however this is taken from a military population, but is the only information for anthropometrical data for South Africans. Thanks Jessica
Hi Jessica, I work in an IT environment, and spend all day on the computer. About 5 months ago, I tore the tendonitis in my wrist. I do craft work as a hobby so it’s hard to determine if the injury was as a result of the crafts or the mouse and keyboard. The doctor said the tears occurred due to over working the hands. I went on a month’s holiday after the injury so my wrist had sufficient time to recover. 5 months later, I have been back to the doctor as I have developed chronic tendonitis in my wrist. The doctor said that since I work in IT I would enviable require surgery so time down the line. (I have not done any craft work since the initial injury, which leaves only the mouse and keyboard at work) I’ve noticed that over a weekend my wrist feels better but after about 30minuts of working on the mouse and keyboard my wrist begins to pain. The tendonitis is now developing in the other wrist as well. It has been recommended that I use a “Quill” mouse which is designed for tendonitis. Would it be fair to ask my company to purchase the equipment as it is rather expensive or would that be something I would have to purchase privately for work purposes?
Hi Jenine, Thanks for your question. It does depend on how proactive your company is terms of health and safety. We suggest that you request for an Ergonomics Assessment to be done and that together with your Doctors suggestion it would help to identify exactly what poor ergonomic features may be contributing to your tendinitis. A recommendation from this would be the mouse and there may be other factors that could be adjusted / suggested to improve your condition e.g. stretching exercises etc. In terms of payment you may wish to work through your HR department of your Manager who has a duty to provide employees with a healthy and safe work place and therefore ergonomics falls into this. You may find that nobody understands Ergonomics and the costs of a poor work station on employee health and safety and the costs implications for the company. This information may be useful to your Manager. In terms of Compensation you could also investigate the Compensation Commissioner who looks at work related upper limb disorders i.e. your condition and compensates for these types of injuries ONLY IF there is proof that your course of work was the cause....again the importance of having first and foremost an ergonomics work place assessment. Thanks Jessica
Hi Jessica. Could you please advise me if having a morning meeting with 13 people in an office of 13 square meters is permissable? Further is there any legislation I could use in my defence for refusing to attend such a meeting due to the lack of space? The office also has a large desk and cabinets, limiting the space even further.
Hi Morne, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately the OHS ACT stipulates work space for people who work in an open plan office and states one should be provided with 2.25 square metres of space. However in terms of a meeting room there is no specifics and nothing is specified for space in terms of holding a meeting. You may suggest that the tight space may not be conducive to people paying attention, may impact on people being distracted and may defeat the purpose of people actually taking in any of the important information. Thanks Jessica
Hi AllI form part of management and would like to take leave after constant working for 18 months, but top management refuse after consulting them two months ago. Can anyone maybe assist me and what is the risks employers can face if someone experienced health issues due stress , over worked and if the person collapsed in workplace..Your input and guide is appreciated.
Hi Pikez, Thanks for your question. In terms of your question, you may wish to consult your HR Department as well as a Labour Lawyer as leave should have been granted especially given that you have suffered as a result of no breaks, resting etc. You can also make reference to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Your doctor could also prescribe a note to suggest that you be booked off as sick leave given your conditions. It is imperative that people take their leave and that their employer recognizes that leave is important to ensure the safety and health of their staff. Working for too long without a proper rest break can impact on your performance, safety, health and obviously lead to stress and burnout. We hope this helps. Thanks Jessica
Hi Jessica.Sorry my question should have been, recommended working temperature in an open plan office .thanks.Clinton.
Hi Clinton, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately there is very little legislation regarding maximum temperatures in South Africa. The OHS Act mainly makes reference to the thermal requirements for cold temperatures but for hot temperatures the following is stipulated: -if the WBGT index increases to above 30 the employer shall take steps to reduce it to below 30 or -if it is not possible to reduce the temperature to then have employees who if are performing hard manual labour, be certified fit to work in these conditions, - ensure every employee is acclimatised to work in such conditions, -inform employees to partake in 600ml of water every hour, -train employees in the precautions to take to avoid heatstroke, and -provide first aid for employees wth heatstroke We however use international legislation for thermal comfort which may be of interest to you. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort in an office is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. For people who find 21-23°C too cold, they should dress appropriately and visa verse for those who find it too hot. When temperatures get very warm we would suggest that in order to remain alert and to concentrate effectively that the temperatures be reduced to the above. I hope this helps. Thanks Jessica
Hi Jessica,Could you please confirm what are the minimum requirements for toilets in South African Schools.My question particularly relates to the acceptable ratio of pupils to toilets.Where do i find out about minimum standards for schools, with regards to ablutions.RegardsBalan
Hi Balan, Thanks for your question. You may wish to consult the National Building Regulations which specify the number of toilets, however I am not sure whether they mention schools specifically. The code is the SANS 10400. Thanks, Jessica
I am designing a portable winch to be carried by one or may two males. It is going to have good weight distribution and will probably be about 400x400x300 mm (lxbxh). I would just like to know the maximum weight that this object can be if it is to be purely lifted and carried approximately 10m? I have found from various sources that it is about 20-25kg for a male but I somehow think that it is higher than this as a bag of cement is carried by one male quite easily and this weighs about 50kgs. Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you. Kind Regards Matthew
Hi Matthew, Thanks for your question. With regards to the weight etc. you may wish to familiarize yourself with the NIOSH Lifting equation, as the weight of an object to be lifted is dependent on a number of factors of which include: distance lifted or carried, height to be lifted to, load characteristics, individual factors, environmental factors and task factors. All of these can change the maximum permissible weight of an object. A bag of cement may appear to look "easy" but it places a large amount of strain on the skeletal, muscular and physiological system of a person and caution should be given to using this example as an acceptable measure. Thanks Jessica
Hi thereDoes one get a degree or diploma for studying Ergonomics?How long is the qualification?KInd regardsJerry
Hi Jerry, Thanks for your question. In order to be an Ergonomist you need to have a Masters Degree in Ergonomics or a related field. You may wish to contact Andrew Todd who is a lecturer at Rhodes University for further information. Thanks Jessica
Please can you confirm for me what is the recommended working in an open plan office where people are doing admin work, no physical work
Hi Clinton, Thanks for your question. Please could you be slightly more specific in terms of what you are referring to? In terms of space in an open plan office, the Occupational Health and Safety Act states that each person should be provided with 2.25 square metres of space. Hope this helps. Jessica
I have a back problem and would like to buy a matrass suitable for my bach ache. Thanks. Thembi
Hi Thembi, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we do not know of any suppliers in South Africa who manufacture ergonomic mattresses so you may wish to consult an Occupational Therapist who may be able to assist you. Thanks, Jessica
why is room temperature an ergonomic issue?
Hi Shivani, Thanks for your question. Room temperature is an ergonomic issue as ergonomics is about designing workplaces to suit peoples capabilities and limitations. Therefore temperature is important as too hot or too cold climates, work environments and rooms can impact on a person not only physiological but also psychologically on peoples performance. If you imagine working in an environment where it is too hot, it can cause you to become fatigued, drowsy and can cause you to lose concentration, become distracted resulting in possible risks for injuries and accidents. Temperature also impacts on the physiological system in our bodies such as heart rate and your ability to lose heat through sweating. If the temperature is too hot you need to sweat to cool down but if the temperature exceeds your bodies ability to cope it can cause heat stroke and heat exhaustion which can be very serious. Similarly too cold temperatures can impact on your ability to work safely, grasp tools and perform work safely. Inside your body, the too cold temperatures in a workplace can cause you to get hypothermia and this can be fatal. Hope we have helped. Thanks Jessica
Hi there. Can you please provide me with info on what the Act says about proper lighting provided for employees in a corporate office. Thank you
Hi Rita, Thanks for your question. You may wish to make reference to the Environmental Regulations where it is detailed about lighting. It is detailed and also gives recommendations for lux (lighting measurement) levels for different workplaces and you can refer to office spaces. Please bear in mind that for lighting, it is not only the levels i.e. lux measurement but cognizance should be given to the effects of lighting on employees performance which is where Ergonomics comes in, as bright overhead florescent lights can result in glare on paper and computers and can result in eye fatigue and eye strain. It is always advisable that offices should have Ergonomic assessments which will assist in investigating the positioning of employees workplaces and lighting sources e.g lights, windows etc. Please see the regulations for more detail. Thanks Jessica
Any chance you could help me with regards to South Africa's Occupational Health and Safety Act- how many cleaning/maintenance personal should be allocated to a certain no. of employees or office space in a South African organisation? i.e. 1 cleaning to staff to every ten employees, or 1 cleaning staff to every 100square meters office space etc?Thank you
HI Amanda, Thanks for your email. Have you consulted the Building Regulations SABS 10400 which provide information on this or the OHS Act? Thanks Jessica
Hi there, Does anyone know how many maintenance or cleaning technicians should be allocated to a certain office space? ie: if the office space is 100 square meters, how many cleaning personal should be hired? Thanks ;)
Hi Amanda, Thanks for your question. We are not sure, but will try and investigate for you and get back to you. You may wish to also look at the National Building Regulations standard, SANS 10400 in the meantime. Thanks Jessica
I have just competed my Masters in Industrial psychology and one of the courses we were required to do was ergonomics. I find this field very interesting and just started an internship at a consulting company. I would like to focus my internship on ergonomics. So basically I will be starting up an ergonomics department. I was wondering if there is scope for industrial psychologists in the ergonomics field and what organisations could I join to get more information.
Hi Shaneen, Good to hear you are interested in Ergonomics. Yes there is definitely scope for a linkage between Ergonomists and Industrial Psychologists and they should be able to work in a team. However, in order to practice as an Ergonomist the International Ergonomics Association states that one should have their Masters Degree in Ergonomics and that if one is from a related field, i.e. Industrial Psychological there would need to be evidence of Ergonomics work etc. To start I would suggest you become a member of ESSA, our society so that you can be kept in the loop of Ergonomics work and attend any conferences etc. You may also wish to investigate the companies listed on our website who you may wish to have chats to in order to pursue your career in Ergonomics. Thanks Jessica
Hi thereI am a qualified Chiropractor and would like to know how to get a qualification in Ergonomics?Could you please asssist in directing me in the correct direction.ThanksCharmaine
Hi Charmaine, Thanks for your question. In order to be an Ergonomist it is recommended by the International Ergonomics Association that you have at least a Masters degree in Ergonomics or related field. If one is from a related field it would be necessary to go through the certification process (which ESSA is busy setting up) and would need to provide evidence of Ergonomics work etc. You may wish to contact Andrew Todd, our chairman and lecturer at Rhodes University. Thanks Jessica
In terms of ergonomics what is the legal allowable weight to be pushed(on a trolley, say in a warehouse type enviroment where alot of picking takes place?
Hi Lucien, Thanks for your question. In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up, carried, pushed and pulled. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information. Thanks Jessica
I am designing alterations to an existing school, making classrooms bigger and I cannot find any ergonomic information regarding the space requirements for primary school children. Also desk sizes, chair sizes and even locker sizes. Please cna you help me?Thank You,Kind regards,TJ
Hi TJ, Thanks for your question. Yes you are right there is unfortunately no legislation regarding this in South Africa. Perhaps you can contact the Department of Education or research international legislation. All the OHS Act states regarding space for office employees is 2.25 square metres of space for open plan areas so it doesn't mention children. Let us know how you get on. Thanks Jessica
Hi Jessica, I see that someone asked previously about Ergonomic training courses and you responded to them, that they should look at the website. I have looked at the website and I see the registered Ergonomists and societies and health and safety links etc, but I don't see anywhere that addresses Training Service Providers. Please help... Thanks, Kris.
Hi Kristina, Thanks for your question. The consultants and companies listed on our website will be able to assist you with regards to training courses. Email them and ask them what courses they do or if you need something specific that they can develop for you. Thanks, Jessica
Is it a legal requirement to do an Ergonomic study in a factory? please cc, k.honiball.co.za in your reply mail.
Hi Dave, Thanks for your question. It is legal to ensure employers provide their employees with a healthy and safe workplace, which is what Ergonomics is about. Therefore you should depending on your type of factory ensure ergonomic assessments are done to determine any ergonomic hazards and their risks to prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace. You may wish to refer to the Occupational Health and Safety Act for reference. Thanks Jessica
I had a discectomy operation in October 2012.The doctor recomended a lumber support chair after the operation cause . Do Ihave a claim against employer since the operation was caused by how i sit at my workstation
Hi Z Thanks for your question. You may need to refer to a labour lawyer to investigate whether you have a claim and then you will need to have an Ergonomics risk assessment done in order to prove that your chair or workstation or workplace was in fact the cause. Thanks, Jessica
good day, thank you for your valuable assistance. I am a foreman in a boilermaking maintenance workshop in the hazardous chemical industry. the workers under my care have not been supplied with changeroom facilities. They change in the workshop. management have been prolonging this request. Please advise.
Hi Robin, Thanks for your question. You need to make reference to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and specifically at the Facilities Regulations which clearly state that employers must provide employees with change room facilities, sanitation, facilities for safe keeping etc. You may wish to bring this to your Managements attention and that it is their duty to provide employees with a healthy and safe workplace which is essential in the chemical industry. You may also wish to consult the National Building Regulations standard, SANS 10400. Good luck, Jessica
Hi JessicaYou often make reference to international legislation with regards to regulation for workplace temperature. Could you kindly provide me with full reference (preferably a document link) which I can use to reference a recommendation for my employer.Warm regards,Nicolette
HI Nicolette, Thanks for your question. You can make reference to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Thanks, Jessica
We are 5 adults in 1 office. What are the Health & Safety requirements for this. How many people should by law be in 1 office. Previously we only had 3 people in this office and it was already cramped. Thank you Marlyn
Hi Marlyn, Thanks for your question. The Occupational Health and Safety Act stipulates under the Environmental Regulations that employees working in an indoor workplace be provided with 2.25 square metres of open floor space. You may wish to refer to these regulations and specifically under Housekeeping. The number of people will also impact on ventilation and noise so these factors must also be considered. Thanks Jessica
I would like to know what is the maximum weight a person is allowed to lift up by hand and to what height in a FMCG working environment?Thanks Jandré
Hi Jandre, Thanks for your question. In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information. Thanks, Jessica
My child goes to a primary school, and the school has only one break at 11am for 25 minutes , the school wants to now reduce this break to 15 minutes. Is there any law regarding tea and lunch breaks for primary school children due to their attention span. My child complains that he gets hungry and has to wait for 11am to have his lunch. I need some advice before i approach the school. Thank You Sagie
Hi Sagie, Thanks for your very interesting question. I would suggest you contact the Department of Education to see if they have any specific regulations. Otherwise you or your school may need to conduct a risk assessment before any changes are made to determine whether the changes will be beneficial or not. Thanks Jessica
How much space does an individual has to occupy in an office, are there any specifications in terms of m2?
Hi Livingstone, Thanks for your question. According to the OHS Act, under the Environmental Regulations, it states that employers should be provided with 2.2.5m2 of space. Thanks Jessica
Kindly advice, I've been granted permission to verify and confirm new/changes of office layouts before being occupied by staff members. Please give me keypoints or checklist of what I should be aware of or look out for so the layout complies with Health and Safety standards.
Hi Lerato, Thanks for your question. Things you will need to check with the OHS Act for are: -ventilation -temperature -lighting -noise -seating -workspace You can also refer to the SABS 10400 for the National Building Regulations to determine the size of buildings, windows and the number of toilets etc. Thanks, Jessica
Hi. HOW MANY TOILETS MUST A COMPANY HAVE FOR ITS EMPLOYEES
Hi Ravin, Thanks for your question. Please consult the National Building Regulations which is now the SABS 0400 standard and they will explain in detail for you how many toilets you will need. You can also make reference to the OHS ACT and specifically the Facilities Regulations. Thanks Jessica
Hi. Is there any temperature limit in law beyond which work must be ceased by employees?
Hi Paul, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately there is very little legislation regarding maximum temperatures in South Africa. The OHS Act mainly makes reference to the thermal requirements for cold temperatures but for hot temperatures the following is stipulated: -if the WBGT index increases to above 30 the employer shall take steps to reduce it to below 30 or -if it is not possible to reduce the temperature to then have employees who if are performing hard manual labour, be certified fit to work in these conditions, - ensure every employee is acclimatised to work in such conditions, -inform employees to partake in 600ml of water every hour, -train employees in the precautions to take to avoid heatstroke, and -provide first aid for employees wth heatstroke We however use international legislation for thermal comfort which may be of interest to you. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. For people who find 21-23°C too cold, they should dress appropriately and visa versa for those who find it too hot. When temperatures get very warm we would suggest that in order to remain alert and to concentrate effectively that the temperatures be reduced to the above. I hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
What is the legal temperature limits for working in an engineering workshop which has machines such as lathes, drill presses, milling machines and spark eroders? Please refer me to the appropriate South African safety regulation(s) in this respect. Thank you.
Hi Nad, Thanks for your question. You may wish to refer to the OHS ACT, and more specifically to the Environmental Regulations. Thanks, Jessica
I understand that at a certain temperature schools are not allowed to have athletic competitions.Is there a maximum or minimum temperature what a school is obliged to stop teaching activities?
Hi Terance, Thanks for your question. You may wish to refer to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, under the Environmental Regulations where they mention temperatures exceeding 30degrees, but this is more for people who perform hard manual labour. I would suggest seeing if the Department of Education has anything or perhaps the Medical Fraternity as schooling is not detailed in the OHS Act. Thanks Jessica
hi there i'm busy arranging ergonomics training for a group of 42 employees. as per policy i have to obtain at least 3 quotes and so far only managed to get only 1, Ergomax. are you able to assist with more providers around cape town or even anywhere in SA if there isnt more in cape town.
Hi Thandi, Please refer to our website for a list of people who may assist you. Thanks Jessica
Hi, should all school chairs be fitted with rubber feet (as opposed to exposed sharp jagged metal). What is the regulation regarding this? Thanks
Hi Estelle, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately this is not specified in the OHS Act. Perhaps you may wish to have a risk assessment conducted to determine the safety requirements (if any) for your suggestion / query. Thanks Jessica
Hi, I would like to know what the minimun temperature should be in a factory where the employer is obliged to supply freezer suits to its emplotyees. Melanie
Hi Melanie, Thanks for your question. You may wish to make reference to the OHS ACT, under the Environmental Regulations where they discuss thermal requirements. It is stipulated that: -no employer shall permit an employee to work in an enviornment in which the time-weighted average dry bulb temperature, taken over period of 4 hours is less than 6degrees celcius, UNLESS the employer takes reasonable steps to protect the employee against cold and to ensure their safety.... - no employer shall require or permit an employee to work in an refrigerated enviornment in which the actual dry-bulb temperature is below 0 degree unless... then there are stipulations. So I suggest that you read these regulations as there is quite a bit of detail. You can find it on www.actsonline.co.za or on the www.dol.gov.za website. Thanks Jessica
Hi, I work in a manufacturing environment.(boats). Basically, our building is 100m x 50m , I share an office 7.5m x 5.5m with 3 others, constructed from wood and other material within the 100m x 50m building which has perspex roof and 2 large doors which stays open during the day. This is all the ventilation we get. we work in a very dusty environment with fibreglass, wood and chemicals and have no fans or air conditioning. temperatures reach between 32 and 35 degrees. We asked our boss(who sits in the main office where it is much cooler) on many occasions and even obtained quotes to have AC installed and he keeps brushing it off. I sweat all day long so much that my clothes are damp all day. What are my rights where this is concerned. Most times I leave work with a headache and still have to see to the children and cook when I get home. I really cannot handle it any longer as it is affecting my home environment..
HI Tracy, Thanks for your question. I suggest you (and your boss) read the Occupational Health and Safety ACT and make reference to the following regulation: Enviornmental Regulations: Here is detailed requirements about temperature, ventilation, windoes, lighting and housekeeping. You have a right to a safe work enviornment and legally your employer should provide you with a healthy and safe workplace. Your employer is legally obligated to this ACT and its regulations and must see to it that you health and safety is not at danger. He/She will then need to ensure a risk assessment is done to determine the hazards and what risks they pose for you and his/her company. You can get this act and the regulations on the Department of Labour website and www.acts.co.za or www.actsonline.co.za Good luck and we hope this is resolved for you. Jessica
I am working in Benoni Industrial area.what is the norm aircon temperature that is suggested.We are 5 ladies and 1 gentleman in a big office.One lady is always complaining about the aircon and say it is cold.I normally set the temperature on 23 degrees.
Hi Annette, Thanks for your question. We however use international legislation for thermal comfort which may be of interest to you. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. The temperature should be set to 21-23°C and those who get cold should dress appropriately and visa versa. I hope this helps. Jessica
Hi just wanted to found out on what icon should the temperture be placed on in summer time with the aircon being between 21c - 23c1. Snowflake2.Sun3.Fan
Hi Olga, Thanks for your question. We however use international legislation for thermal comfort which may be of interest to you. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. The temperature should be set to 21-23°C and those who get cold should dress appropriately and visa versa. I hope this helps. Jessica
Hi, we are in the process of setting up a training room and someone mentioned to me that in terms of the OHS Act our chairs must have arms? I cannot find anything in the act stipulating this. Is this a requirement or is just better for comfort? Many thanks.
Hi Sharon, Thanks for your question. You need to refer to the OHS Act under the Facilities regulations where you will find a section on seating. This will assist you with your question. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, i would like to know if there is a set rule for how much max weight a person can pick up and carry? Thanks
Hi Linel, Thanks for your question. In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information. Thanks, Jessica
how many metres is legally regarded as work at he heights, also are cherry pickers regarded as Work at heights? which legal document can i refer to? i have read construction regulation but it's not clear for me
Hi Andiswa, You need to consult the OHS Act under the General Safety Regulations where you will find the section on Working at Heights as well as the Construction Regulations. Thanks Jessica
I am busy redesigning an office layout in order to fit more people in. It is an open plan office with panels deviding the workstations. I want to know if there are any regulations about how big a
Hi Ruandi, Thanks for your question. The Occupational Health and Safety Act stipulates in the Environmental Regulations under Housekeeping the following (they do not specify per industry): An employer shall with the exclusion of workplaces where building work is performed, make at least 2.25 square metres of effective open floor area available for every employee working in an indoor workplace; make available and maintain an unimpeded workspace for every employee .... and so on. Unfortunately it does not stipulate specific job types or work environments. I hope this helps. You can go onto www.acts.co.za to read a copy of the Environmental Regulations. Thanks, Jessica
Hi JessicaAll recommendations point to using a keyboard & mouse tray in order to have one's elbows closer to ones body and so maintaining a healthier sitting position. This makes sense, especially when one is doing computer work for long hours a day, and I for one often put my mouse on my lap when the pain in my shoulder gets acute. Yet, a keyboard tray seems to be the hardest thing to find in the market (certainly Cape Town, and even generally in the whole SA). Every major (and minor) office furniture / computer equipment company we've contacted has either never heard of it, discontinued their supply, or simply don't stock it at all. Do you know where one can find a decent keyboard tray (and why it is so difficult to find)?Desperately hoping to hear from you soon.Thank youMia
Hi Mia, Thanks for your question. Have you tried Medsport? Fellowes? Let us know. Jessica
Does the OSHACT / Factory act stipulate in a factory enviroment, a maximum tempreture that if exceed , a suspension of working activities should occur?
Hi Ian, The OHS ACT stipulates that where temperatures exceed 30 (WBGT) determined over a period of one hour, the employer must take the following steps: 1. Reduce the WBGT to below 30; or 2. Where it is not practicable to reduce the temperature to below 30 and where hard manual labour is performed, have every employee beforehand and thereafter certified fit to work in such an environment...so i.e the annual medical; 3. Ensure every employee is acclimatised to work in such an environment before he / she is permitted to work in such an environment; 4. Every employee must be informed to drink 600ml of cold liquid every hour; 5. Train employees in the precautions to avoid heatstroke; 6. Provide prompt first aid to employees for heatstroke. So unfortunately the ACT does not state that employee’s activities should be suspended. Should this be an issue, I suggest you have an Ergonomics Assessment conducted of your factory and then this will provide recommendations e.g. installing cooling systems etc. Thanks Jessica
After a knee replacement operation a staff member must recuperate from the operation for up to (6) six weeks. Can the company utilise his annual leave to cover the recuperation period after he utilised his 30 days sick leave for the (3) three year cycle.
Hi Andre, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you contact your HR department or a Labour Lawyer as we are not in a position to assist you. Apologies. Thanks Jessica
Hi...Is there a formula to calculate the maximum weight that a person can lift for a set frequency ?For example: The maximum weight that a person should lift in a 12 hour shift is 30 kg ?
Hi Taarik, Thanks for your question. Thanks for your question. In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation / formula which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information. Thanks, Jessica
Which Recruitment or Employment Agencies that hires Employee Assistance Programme Practitioners(EAP) in South Africa
Hi Busi, Thanks for your question. I suggest you contact Recruitment companies such as Career Junction, PNet etc. who can assist you as we do not do recruitment. Thanks, Jessica
I'm starting to study for my Masters Degree in Food Security in 2013. I want to know if I can register as a student member of ESSA. I want to explore land tenure reform policies and its successes and failures and I think I want to include an ergonomic aspect to it to some extent.
Hi Lunga, Thanks for your question. Yes anyone is able to join ESSA. Go onto our membership section and complete the forms and submit to us. Thanks, Jessica
Hi...we are based in a factory area where the office temperature rises to 35C and up to 42C, currently the aircon is broken and this temperature becomes unbearable to work in the small office space. I need to know: what is the maximum temperature we can work in and do the company I work for have to replace the aircon? Note, there is no air ventilation.
Hi Virginia, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately there is very little legislation regarding maximum temperatures in South Africa. We however use international legislation for thermal comfort which may be of interest to you. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. For people who find 21-23°C too cold, they should dress appropriately and visa versa for those who find it too hot. 35°C is very warm and we would suggest that in order to remain alert and to concentrate effectively that the temperatures be reduced to the above. I hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
I have handed in my notice at work and I am contractually bound to give two months notice. My replacement has already started and now I have no work station. I am roaming around unable to do any duties and I have conducted a full handover with my replacement. I have no desk, chair, telephone, computer. I still have six weeks of my notice period ahead of me the situation has become unbearable. What can you advise?
Hi Melanie, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we are not in a position to assist you but we cannot understand how you are able to continue to do your work without the necassary tools. You may wish to contact your HR or a Labour lawyer. We hope you are able resolve this. Thanks, Jessica
I would like to purchase an erogonomic chair its medically prescribed I weigh 130 my height 158cm
Hi Madubaduba, Thanks for your question. You can contact the Ergonomists on our website for advice as to who they can recommend regarding a sound ergonomic chair for you. Thanks, Jessica
Hi... Our aircons in our office get used mainly in summer. After a wet winter in Western Cape our aircons smell a bit like dead socks! they need to be cleaned. The were cleaned little over 6 months ago. Is there any legislation on aircon maintenance? Our management is refusing to call out an aircon maintenance team again. What advice could you give to try and persuade them should there be no legislation regarding this?
Hi Robert, Thanks for your question. You may wish to consult the OHS Act, the National Building Regulations (SABS 10400) and perhaps an environmental regualtion with regards to possible hygiene issues. Thanks Jessica
hi...i would like to know, what maximum wieght does the OHS say that a person should lift at work and how is it determined?
Hi Jabu, Thanks for your question. Thanks for your question. In terms of SA legislation this is not prescribed. However when we refer to international standards you need to make reference to the NIOSH equation which assists you in determining the recommended weight to be picked up. The weight is dependent on a number of factors: the task, the object to be lifted, where the object is being lifted from, where the object is being lifted to, the shape and size of the object, the individual (e.g. age, gender etc.) and the environmental conditions (weather, humidity etc.) It is therefore not so easy just to say a certain weight as you can see from the depending factors above. Consult the NIOSH equation for further information. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, I would like to find out, I have seen on your page that people have enquired with regard to temparature ranges of aircons. I see 22 - 23 is the going temparature but we are a lot of people sectioned off in different areas, some being smaller than others, with less people and others with larger areas and more people. There is an opening at the top and we are told as this affects the entire airflow of the aircon it has to stay on 22, no one is allowed to change this, we will not have access to the aircon settings. In some areas it is really freezing, is this right? Also we have been told that no windows whatsoever are to be opened at any time to promote the correct working of the aircon. I really prefer to have fresh air and would like to find out what the rule is on this?
Hi Vicky, Thanks for your question. As I am sure you have read in the previous questions, there is unfortunately no legislation regarding optimal temperatures. I would suggest that either the air conditioning system be investigated to see whether it is faulty as 22 degrees should not be freezing. In terms of the windows the only answer we can give is that the OHS Act stipulates provision of ventilation either naturally or mechanically i.e. an air conditioner. So long as the carbon dioxide levels are healthy and the air breathed in is healthy. Perhaps in this difficult situation you could consult your HR, Safety Reps and perhaps see if other employees are complaining and send a letter to your Managers requesting them to either attend to the air con system or review the window issue. Let us know how you get on. Thanks Jessica
What is the maximum workplace temperature at which one is expected to work? It is 30 degrees in our Laboratory and rather uncomfortable. Are there any regulations stated in the LRA or OHSA?
Hi Vida, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately there is very little legislation regarding maximum temperatures in South Africa and more importantly for laboratories. We however use international legislation for thermal comfort which may be of interest to you. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. For people who find 21-23°C too cold, they should dress appropriately and visa versa for those who find it too hot. 30°C is very warm and we would suggest that in order to remain alert and to concentrate effectively that the temperatures be reduced to the above. I am sure that this temperature may also be too warm for the type of work and that if you work with chemicals etc. that there must be some form of legislation regarding temperatures for these chemicals / medicines etc? I hope this helps. Thanks Jessica
Hi...I would like to get advice in as far as my studies are concerned. I have a ND in management Services (organisational and work study) and currently looking for employment in a related field. I wish to know if people like myself are beneficial to your industry and also need a related course to study in order to boost my career? I am however interested in getting exposure in the the relevant field and wish to work for a company that will groom my career. Thank you
Hi Ntando, Thanks for your question. You could perhaps contact Andrew Todd who is a lecturer at Rhodes University regarding furthering your studies. Also in terms of work opportunities perhaps contact the companies listed on our website to see what they can suggest. Keep us posted and all the best. Jessica
Hi...I would like to know how much would it cost for an Ergonomist to do an inspection in a building that accomodates between 100 and 200 employees. Our people complain about things like chairs and space in between one another in an open plan. Also, were do I find this inspectors???
Hello Andrew, Thanks for your question. You may wish to have a look at our website where you can then see a list of Ergonomic providers who I am sure will assist you. Thanks, Jessica
I am interested in getting a sit-to-stand desk, and am wondering if there are stockists in South Africa? Thank you.
Hi Vanessa, Unfortunately we do not endorse any service providers. You may wish to consult an Ergonomist who can put you in the right direction. On our website are a list of Consultancies. Thanks Jessica
Greetings,i want to study Ergonomics but currently im studying sport administration at Boston College.353 credits NQF
Hello, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately the only university offering a full course in Ergonomics is Rhodes University. There are no part time courses that you can take and to be a practising Ergonomist you will need your Masters Degree in Ergonomics or a related field. Thanks, Jessica
The law does not prescribe maximum temperatures in classrooms, we draw this from international standards. Does SABS ISO 9001 have any guidelines regarding this?
Hi David, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately there is very little legislation regarding maximum temperatures in South Africa and more importantly for classrooms. We however use international legislation for thermal comfort which you may be of interest to you. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. For people who find 21-23°C too cold, they should dress appropiately and visa versa for those who find it too hot. I hope this helps. Thanks Jessica
About workplace Ventilation -- does population number or density affect the ventilation required for an office space? the more people, the lower the temp should be? If yes, what is the std temp for a specific population density?
Hi Ivy, Thanks for your question. Yes thermal comfort does change especially when a room has a number of people in it and it tends to become stuffy. Unfortunately there is not much legislation in South Africa on thermal comfort and you may wish to consult the OHS Act and namely the Environmental Regulations which deal with ventilation. However, based on international recommendations, in summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. Unfortunately this is not legislated as detailed as above in SA legislation and we use the Canadian Legislation for thermal comfort. You may also want to visit the National Building Regualtions (SABS 0400) and see what they say regarding population density and ventilation. Thanks, Jessica
Can a person be forced into an open plan office after 26 years working for the same company during which the person had an individual office.
Hi Bodo, Unfortunately you may need to seek other advice as we would not be able to answer this. As far as we know there is no 'legislation' regarding this and it may be a company policy. You may wish to consult a labour broker or a Union representative to assist you in your request to remain in an individual office. Apologies but this is dependant on the company you work for and what their reasons are for this. Thanks Jessica
What is the legal minimum work space per Artisan for work being performed in the plant.
Hello, Thanks for your question. The Occupational Health and Safety Act stipulates in the Environmental Regulations under Housekeeping the following (they do not specify per industry): An employer shall with the exclusion of workplaces where building work is performed, make at least 2.25 square metres of effective open floor area available for every employee working in an indoor workplace; make available and maintain an unimpeded workspace for every employee .... and so on. Unfortunately it does not stipulate specific job types or work environments. I hope this helps. You can go onto www.acts.co.za to read a copy of the Environmental Regulations. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, Jessica. I work for an Occupational Therapist and we are always busy from the minute the client comes in. I would like to find out what is the reasonable time to take tea break in the morning when you have a client coming in at 9:30 and you started work at 8:00. My guess is in between that moment as you might not get a chance once you started with the clients. But we seem to have some disagreement at work. Please advise.Thank you
Hi Andy, Thanks for your question. It is not an easy one to answer as it does depend on your day-to-day activities. If you look at the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), it also doesn’t answer your question but only makes mention of meal breaks. It states that meals breaks should be taken after 5 hours continuous work and should be 1 hour in length or 30 minutes by agreement. However this also doesn’t mean you have to take your meal break only after 5 hours. I would suggest you either need to factor in a break between your appointments which I know time is money but if you are on the go and feeling tired then perhaps you may need to schedule in breaks. If you start at 8am you probably shouldn’t need a break at 9.30 but more at say 10am for 15-20mins and then lunch (30- 45mins, depending on how many hours your are required to work) and perhaps a small break in the afternoon again. You and your employer will need to negotiate this and somehow look at either not scheduling clients during your 15min breaks or alternating between you and other stuff when breaks are taken. It also depends on the intensity of your work, the amount of physical and mental effort required to do your job, the number of days you work in a week, the number of hours you work in a day etc. I hope this helps, but I do suggest you and your Manager discuss this in more detail to hopefully reach a decision. Thanks, Jessica
in which city are the houses of parlimentin south africa
Hi, Thanks for your question. Cape Town is the city where Parliament is. Thanks, Jessica
How many school children can fit into a 42 square meter classroom?(including the teacher)How do you calculate how many children can fit into a classroom?
Hi Francois, Unfortunately we are not in the position to answer this as it is dependant on the following: Size of the desks? Will there be other equipment in the room e.g. book shelves etc.? Will there need to be space for activities such as reading, playing etc? What age group are the children? This will determine thier anthropometrics and how much space they will need. Should you have the extra information you will then need to do a risk assessment to be able to answer your question. You may wish to consult the Department of Education and see how they calculate this (if they do) in terms of the number of pupils in a class. Let us know how we can assist further. Thanks, Jessica
what temperatures should an openplan office be in a office block
Hi Nick, Thanks for your question. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. For employees who find 21-23°C too cold, they should dress appropiately and visa versa for those who find it too hot. Thanks, Jessica
if an employer provides his employee with a suitable chair and the employee replace the chair with a less suitable chair, falls and incur an injury, which guidelines from the occupational health and safety act will ensure that the employer is protected from being procecuted and why
Hi William, It would depend on how 'suitable' the chair was in the first place. To answer your question an ergonomics risk assessment would need to be done in order to determine whether the chair provided by the employer was actually suitable and then to determine if the chair supplied by the employee was also suitable. Only after this has been done can you determine who is protected. Any injury on duty, no matter who is to blame should be reported to the Compensation Commissioner and investigated. The investigation will determine the root causes of the injury and together with the ergonomics risk assessment determine whether the employer is at fault or not. Thanks Jessica
I am working a 12 hour shift but only get paid for 10hours. Is this fair?
Hi Michael, Unfortunately we do not deal with labour issues such as your question, and it is dependant on what your employment contract stipulates. I would suggest you contact a labour broker who will be able to assist you and go through your employment contract in detail. Apologies for not being of much help but this may be a legal issue and you therefore need to seek the right advice. Thanks, Jessica
what is the norm fore airconditioning settings in offices in summer and winter. What is sans regulation no
Hi, Thanks for your question. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation for thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. Unfortunately this is not legislated as detailed as above in SA legislation and we use the Candian Legislation for thermal comfort. Thanks, Jessica
Please advise according to law or OHS the following:• how big a standard desk needs to be • how big an office space should be person• what is the standard space between offices and passagePlease note that this is in reference to a call center type environment.
Hi Teniele, Thanks for your question. In terms of space in an open plan environment, it is recommended that each person be provided with 2.25m2 of space...this is stipulatd in the Environmental Regulations in the OHS Act. In terms of the desk, there is no law in terms of SA law, but from an Ergonomic point of view the desk should be at least 76cm deep, 120-160cm width and a have a height of between 65 and 82cm, which should be adjustable if possible. In terms of space between the office and passage, you may wish to consult the SABS 0400 which is the code for the National Building Regulations. Thanks so much. Jessica
What does the SA law stipulates on lunch and tea breaks
Hi Henry, Thanks for your question. It does depend on what level of employment you are referring to and you may wish to consult the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) which stipulates the regulation of working time etc. In terms of meal intervals: the employer must give an employee who works continuously for more 5 hours a meal interval of at least 1 continuous hour. However this can be reduced to 30 mins if an agreement is signed between employee and employer. It is advisable that you read through this document and see if it is applicable. Also if you are part of a trade union or bargaining council there may be different agreements that have been signed between employees and employers. Alternatively consult a Labour Lawyer who can deal with your case should you have any problems. Thanks, Jessica
please could you advise what the law says about ventilation in a classroom. My son attends a private school which is based in a shopping centre. There are no opening windows and no airconditioning and the children are denied fresh air.
Hi Yolande, Thanks for your question. You may wish to refer to two documents: The Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) and the SABS 0400 National Building Regulations. In the OHS Act under the Environmental Regulations, there is a section on Ventilation. it states that every employer shall ensure that every workplace is ventilated either by natural or mechanical means, such that the air breathed by the employee does not endanger their safety and it continues on to explain the effects of carbon dioxide levels etc. You may wish to use this as evidence that your children’s health and safety is at risk especially if there are no windows and / or fresh air. A lack of fresh air and no proper ventilation can impact on people and especially children’s performance as the air becomes stuffy and therefore concentration becomes effected. Children will not be able to perform at optimal levels and this can negatively impact on their ability to learn at school. Please show the school principle the OHS Act and it his duty to provide a healthy and safe work environment for the pupils and is legally obligated to do so. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, I'm a Receptionist at Transport and Omnibus Workers Union(TOWU), one of South Africa's most well established Unions. When I started here in 2008 I had my own office, then we moved office and I have no window and do not have the proper chair or a hand rest for my mouse, can you assist me on how to go about informing my boss about Ergonomics and the proper equipment I need.
Hi Yolanda, Thanks for your question. In terms of the window...you may wish to refer to the OHS Act and then the Environmental Regulations which detail the requirements for windows and ventilation. Having no fresh air and also no means of either mechanical or natural ventilation can cause drowsiness and impact on your performance as the work environment becomes stuffy and uncomfortable. In terms of the chair...the OHS Act stipulates under the Facilities Regulations that each employee, whose work requires them to be seated, should be provided with an ergonomically designed chair. In terms of no mouse pad... this can result in contact stress between your wrist and the hard surface i.e. your desk which can overtime damage soft tissues in this area resulting is musculoskeletal disorders such as Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. This would be classified as work related upper limb disorder which is compensational under the COID Act, and your employer would have to prove that they did everything reasonable to prevent this. You have more than enough evidence and your boss should ensure that an Ergonomics Assessment be conducted as the company has a duty to provide their employees with a healthy and safe work environment, which they are legally bound to do because of the OHS Act. Let us know how you get on. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, I would like to know what is the legal requirement for space between workstations(desk). We have seen some huge growth at our company and space requirement have become a big factor. Our employees sits in a cluster formation which range from 4 to 10 persons per cluster. We are a call center based company.
Hi Jonathen, Thanks for your question. It is recommended for employees in an open plan environment that they be provided with 2.25m2 of space. This is stipulated in the Enviornmental Regulations in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, Please advise as to what the maximum permissible lifting weight for an employee prior to going into a team lift and what the difference must be for male and female. Please send me an illustrated guide for illiterate persons if you do have one.Thanks.
Hi Tony, Thanks for your question. The question is not so easy to answer as the load to be lifted is dependant on a number of factors. You may wish to consult the NIOSH lifting equation which will give you a detailed explanation as to how to calculate the weight of a load. Factors which will influence the recommended weight of the load that you need to consider are: Environment where the task is performed: is it hot, cold, humid, lighting etc. Task demands: frequency (how many lifts per certain time), duration of the task, Intensity Load to be lifted: weight, size, shape, handles or no handles, height of the lift from the distance where the load is to where it needs to go, horizontal distance i.e. is the load carried close to the body or not Individual factors: male vs. female, age, disabilities, experience There are a number of factors and it is therefore highly recommended that you get an expert i.e. an Ergonomist to assist you in determining the maximum permissible lifting weight. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, i'm always ill at work. i think its the aircon. i just want to know the normal room temperature in summer Pretoria Area.
Hi Bongiwe, Thanks for your question. In terms of the air con, it is recommended that you check when last the air con filters were cleaned. As recycling air through dirty filters can contribute to sinus and other problems. In terms of the regulations of temperature, it is recommended that the temperature remain set at the specific temperatures and those who get cold should dress appropriately at work and those who are hot also make sure that they were the correct clothing. In summer the dry bulb temperature should range from 23 Celsius to 28 Celsius and in winter the temperature should range between 20 Celsius to 25.5 Celsius. A general recommendation ifor thermal comfort is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C. In summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors. Thanks, Jessica
If I wish to calculate the number of ablutions required for an office population. Using Table 6 of SABS 0400 - 1900 can I calculate the number of fixtures required for the whole building, or do I need to calculate the fixtures and population per floor.Secondly in column 1 it stipulates - 'for a population of up to' If the total population is 120 on the floor would you use the number of fixtures s for 60 men and 60 women or 120 men and 120 women?
Hi Claire, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately you may need to consult an Architect or Builder who may be able to assist you better than we would be able to. Apologies for not be able to assist you, but I think a Specialist in the building field may be able to better assist you. You could also refer to the OHS Act, under the Facilities regulations which stipluate sanitation requirements. Thanks, Jessica
Hi Jessica,We are in the process of building an events venue - please could you let me know what the square meterage per person required is in order to calculate capacity for the venue? Is there a standard calculation?Thank you.
Hi Lisa, You may wish to consult the National Building Regulations, SABS 0400. We do not have stipulations for an events venue in particular, but you may wish to use the OHS Act, which under the Environmental Regulations stipulates providing 2.25m2 of space per person for an open plan enviornment. Thanks, Jessica
To whom it may concern,What is the recommended desk and chair height for pre-schoolers (5 - 6 year olds) and primary school children (lower grades) ? Look forward to your response!Regards Karen
Hi Karen, Unfortunately there is no legislation regarding this in South Africa, however what could assist in answering your question is that the desk height, i.e working height is usually sitting elbow height. You may wish to try and find anthropometric data (probaly in the UK) which looks at the anthropometrics (body shapes and sizes) and this data could give you sitting elbow height for the age groups you are interested in. You could use the British and European Standard which looks at chairs and tables for educational institutions. It is not free so you may need to purchase it or try and find a free copy. The reference is BS EN 1729 Chair and Table Guide. Let us know how you get on. Thanks, Jessica
H, I would like to know if there are guidelines or standards on the amount of weight that an individual can lift in the workplace.
Hi Mmashela, Thanks for your question. The question is not so easy to answer as the load to be lifted is dependant on a number of factors. You may wish to consult the NIOSH lifting equation which will give you a detailed explanation as to how to calculate the weight of a load. Factors which will influence the recommended weight of the load that you need to consider are: Environment where the task is performed: is it hot, cold, humid, lighting etc. Task demands: frequency (how many lifts per certain time), duration of the task, Intensity Load to be lifted: weight, size, shape, handles or no handles, height of the lift from the distance where the load is to where it needs to go, horizontal distance i.e. is the load carried close to the body or not Individual factors: male vs. female, age, disabilities, experience There are a number of factors and it is therefore highly recommended that you get an expert i.e. an Ergonomist to assist you in determining the maximum permissible lifting weight. Thanks, Jessica
Hi,I would like to know a few things. I am working for Stuttafords in Canal Walk centrum in South Africa, cape Town.They just started with a new rule in the store. They said we are not aloud to sit at any time during the day, not even if we need to do paperwork, so we are doing paperwork, filling out papers whilst standing. We work 9 hours a day with an hour lunch and two 15 minutes tea. I would just like to know what the law sais about standing long hours as well as if you are aloud to sit down while doing paperwork.Thank you very much.Rene Swart
Hi Rene, Thanks for your question. Standing all day is just as bad as sitting all day and being in one position can have severe health consequences for you. Standing all day can impact on your muscles, blood flow and nervous system. It is therefore not recommended to be stay in one position for an entire shift, day after day. The Occupational Health and Safety Act, under the Facilities Regulations talks about seats. With reference to your situation the Regulations are quite clear and state: "where reasonably practicable, every employer shall permit an employee whose work is normally performed standing to take advantage of any opportunity for sitting which may occur, and for this purpose the employer shall provide seating facilities". Therefore when you are required to do your filing and paper work, a seat should be provided for these activities. You need to inform your Manager or employer about these Regulations and the health consequences of standing all day, which without a seat to provide the body to rest and recover, will result in back pain, swelling in the feet and possible varicose veins, to name a few. Let us know how you get on. Jessica
Hi, I just want to know which companies or institutions in South Africa that offer scholarships or bursaries for high school or even primary school pupils. Tanx
Hi Nozibusiso, Unfortunately we cannot provide you with this information. Perhaps you need to go onto the schools or universities website to see what scholarship programs they have. Thanks, Jessica
Hi,I have been tasked to find an organisation that can assist my division in conducting an ergonomic assessment of train operations. Iam located in Mozambique.
Hi Tendai, Please consult our website for a list of professionals who will be able to assist you. Thanks, Jessica
Are there any regulations concerning natural light in an office environment
Hi Ian, Thanks for your question. The Occupational Health and Safety Act, under the Environmental Regulations details the Lighting requirements. It does not specify natural vs articfical light, but it details the lighting requirements for specific work. You may wish to consult these regulations to assist you. Thanks, Jessica
I failed matric bt i want do safety officer course,im qualified?
Hi Christina, Unfortunately ESSA does not offer safety courses. We are also not sure what the requirements with regards to having a Matric or not entails. Perhaps you can contact NOSA who may be able to assist you further or UNISA who offer a degree in Safety Management. All the best. Jessica
What grade we need if i want to registered for learning a Safety Officer.Thank u
Hi Christina, Unfortunately ESSA does not offer safety courses. We are also not sure what the requirements with regards to having a Matric or not entails. Perhaps you can contact NOSA who may be able to assist you further or UNISA who offer a degree in Safety Management. All the best. Jessica
Dear JessicaPlease advise what are acceptable noise levels from machinery in an office environment which is already busy and fast paced.The noise with more irritation that a humming refrigerator is from a new telephone sytem that has been installed where the functioning and control unti has fans and other items that monitor the phone system.The installers also advise that such a contraption shoudl actually sit in a computer room somwhere - however due to finances (as we have been advised) it is not possibly to run the cabling from the IT rooms to the office, hence the irritating machine has to sit in this office.It is really a bothersome continuous noise. Are there any rules that govern this and what would you advise?Many thanksKind regardsAngela
Hi Angela, Thanks for your question. Firstly I suggest that the machines that are producing noise be moved to a room where nobody is working. Obviously you mention costs may be a problem to do this, but it is in the interest of employees’ health and safety that noise does not cause any harm to employees’ health and safety. Alternatively you may request your company to conduct a noise survey to determine the noise levels and to note whether these may be harmful which would then assist your case in relocating the machines. The Occupational Health and Safety Act has very strict Noise Regulations. Noise whether it is loud or irritating must be assessed and control measures put in place. Irritating noise can impact on your work performance as it will impact on your ability to concentrate and pay attention, and may be a distraction. Try and see if your company can move the noisy machines, as your company has a duty of care to provide its employees with a healthy and safe workplace, otherwise you may need to call in a specialist to do some measurements. Let us know what happens. Jessica
Do you perhaps know of service providers in the Cape Town region who are able to conduct ergonomic assessments in a food manufacturing environment?Thanks
Hi Chantelle, Thanks for your question. Please consult our website for a list of professionals who you can email to see if they can assist you. Thanks, Jessica
Can you please advise me what must the minimum roof height be for a workshop where welding and grinding is going to take place, extraxtion and ventilation fans will be fitted. Thank you.
Hi Arno, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we dont have this information for you, but you may want to have a look at the National Building Regulations (SABS 0400) which may stipulate these measurements. Do let us know how you get on. Thanks, Jessica
Hi there. I would like to know who I can contact for the air quality in our offices to be checked please. I need help desperately as I am always sick and have no energy when at work. I have chronic sinus from sitting in this stuffy place and the aircon is never at one constant temp, people keep fiddling with it. My supervisor refuses to do anything about my situation. We have SHE officers but they are never around and they are less than useless when and if they are infact around.
Hi Des, Thanks for your question. You will need to source an Occupational Hygienist who will do various test for air quality. You can go onto the SAIOH (South African Institute for Occupational Hygienists) website for a list of people who are in your area. Let us know your progress. Jessica
Hi, i just want to know whats the standart space around a working station that a person could have,need to put in 4 people in an office plan , thank you
Hi Adelaide, Thanks for your question. For offices it is suggested that employee's have 2.25 square metres of space. This is documented in the OHS Act in the Environmental Regulations. Thanks, Jessica
I cannot find any specific regulations on temperature in the work environment. Is there perhaps a minimum temperature for the work environment? The temperature in my lab/office is usually between 13-18C and I cannot think that this is healthy.Thanks
Hi Liana, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately South African legislation is not specific with regards to what the temperature should be, but we bench mark against International Standards which suggests that for offices, temperatures should be 22-23 degrees Celsius. Thanks, Jessica
What is the teperatures to work in a closed computer lab ih no circulaion and what actions can be taken if this standards are not met.
Hi Tertius, Thanks for your question. You may want to make reference to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) and especially the Environmental Regulations. Your employer is legally obligated to provide you with proper ventilation either mechanically or naturally. If your company does have SHE Reps you may want to request that they note your concerns and at their safety meetings with management that they bring this up and request the services of an Occupational Hygienist to conduct temperature and ventilation measurements. In terms of temperature it is unfortunately not specific as it is in international legislation but we do benchmark against International Standards where the temperature should be set to 23 degrees for office environments. Your company is legally required to provide you with a healthy and safe work environment; therefore they are responsible for ensuring that any health and safety concerns raised by employees are investigated in order to avoid fines or imprisonment from the Department of Labour Inspectors. Do let us know if you are not succesful. Thanks, Jessica
I AM CONSTANTLY BEING VISITED
Hi Dean, Thanks your question. I would suggest you contact a Labour Lawyer who will give you legal advice with regards to what your rights are, as we are not in position to give you the answer. However, you may want to ask your employees or your employee whose friend is always visiting what their Health and Safety concerns are so that you can rectify these, if there are any, as legally your company is required to provide employees with a healthy and safe work environment free of hazards which may cause harm or injury to employees. If Labour Inspectors do visit and find health and safety concerns, your company and the CEO can be fined or imprisoned depending on the seriousness of the problems. We therefore suggest you make reference to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) in order to note what the employer's legal obligations are as well as employee's legal obligations for health and safety. We hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
I AM CONSTANTLY BEING VISITED
Hi Dean, Thanks your question. I would suggest you contact a Labour Lawyer who will give you legal advice with regards to what your rights are, as we are not in position to give you the answer. However, you may want to ask your employees or your employee whose friend is always visiting what their Health and Safety concerns are so that you can rectify these, if there are any, as legally your company is required to provide employees with a healthy and safe work environment free of hazards which may cause harm or injury to employees. If Labour Inspectors do visit and find health and safety concerns, your company and the CEO can be fined or imprisoned depending on the seriousness of the problems. We therefore suggest you make reference to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) in order to note what the employer's legal obligations are as well as employee's legal obligations for health and safety. We hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
CAN I LOCK THE FACTORY TOILETS FROM THE STAFF, AND OPEN THEM WHEN THEY NEED TO GO TO THE TOILET AS THEIR LOCKERS ARE IN THE STAFF TOILET ROOM
Hi Dean, Thanks for your question. I suggest you get a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) and read the Facilities Regulations where it is states that toilets need to be freely and readily available to employees. You can also make reference to the National Building Regulations, Parts F, P and Q for sanitation. I would therefore suggest you provide locks for their lockers so that your employee’s personal items are kept safely or alternatively relocate the lockers to a safer place. Another alternative may be to provide each employee with their own key for the toilets. We hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
I would like to know where in SA can I study ergonomics as part time.Im a Flight Attendant who of late have a back injury,hence the reason to study this course.My number is is 0711001119
Hi Kwetsimani, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately there are no part time courses in Ergonomics as to be a practicing Ergonomist you need your Masters Degree in Ergonomics and this is not possible in South Africa as a part time course. You may contact c.christie@ru.ac.za who is the Head of Department of Human Kinetics and Ergonomics at Rhodes Univeristy if you require more information. Thanks, Jessica
i would like to know the injuries cormputer workers get using computers preferebly a statistic, which cuase the workrate to go down due to injuries or illnessess
Hi Xolisa, Unfortunately we do not have the statistics, but there are a number of injuries one can get from working at a computer. You can look up Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI), Cumulative Trauma Disorders and then Work Related Upper Limb Disorders and there you will see that a host of these injuries can be caused by working at a computer e.g. carpel tunnel syndrome, tendonitis etc. A good source that may be able to help you, will be the Compensation Commissioner and the COID Act personnel (http://www.acts.co.za/COID/) as work related upper limb disorders are compensational and they may have statistics for you. Thanks, Jessica
Dear Sir/Madam,My name is Ane, I work for a train manufacturer company that is now preparing a tender for the manufacture of Electrical multiple units for PRASA and we would like to know the followings:- If you assist companies in the definition of workspaces taking into account ergonomical aspects- If you have any anthropometric datasets of south african population or if you have an idea of where such a thing would be available.Best regards,Ane
Dear Ane, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately the only anthropometric data available for the South African population is the RSA Military Standard for anthropometry and environment. You will have to purchase this from Armscor. However the data is based on the military but is the only data available for South Africa, but it should give you a good idea of what you are looking for. Thanks, Jessica
Hi therePlease can you point me in the right direction of where I can find an ergonomic back support cushion (the one that straps onto the back of your chair)?Thanks
Hi Megan, We do not have suppliers of these accessories listed on our website, but I will find out and revert back to you. Thanks, Jessica
i would like to know if you appointed as a manager of occupational health and safety officer then you asked to develop an ergomomic policy for your workplace (waste management department), which aspects i should consider most
Hi Nzuzo, Thanks for your question. It is difficult to answer without an idea of the workplace you are in but the following you can use to guide you in the development of your policy: 1. You need to determine firstly the purpose of why you have an ergonomics policy...what has driven your company to include ergonomics e.g. injuries, reduce accidents etc. 2. Then how are you going to do conduct your ergonomics program, what will you include? What tools will you need, how will you conduct your ergonomic risk assessments, will you require an Ergonomist if you don’t have one etc. etc. 3. Then you need to look at who you are going to need to carry this out i.e. implement your policy... who are the responsible people and what are their roles and responsibilities? 4. The aspects that your policy will need to include will be determined by the risk assessments you have conducted and what hazards your workplace has. Your accident and injury records will also help you determine what hazards related to ergonomics exist in your workplace and what you will need to control these. Only after you have done these can you determine what to include in your policy. Thanks, Jessica
i would like to know if you appointed as a manager of occupational health and safety officer then you asked to develop an ergomomic policy for your workplace (waste management department), which aspects i should consider most
Hi Nzuzo, Thanks for your question. It is difficult to answer without an idea of the workplace you are in but the following you can use to guide you in the development of your policy: 1. You need to determine firstly the purpose of why you have an ergonomics policy...what has driven your company to include ergonomics e.g. injuries, reduce accidents etc. 2. Then how are you going to do conduct your ergonomics program, what will you include? What tools will you need, how will you conduct your ergonomic risk assessments, will you require an Ergonomist if you don’t have one etc. etc. 3. Then you need to look at who you are going to need to carry this out i.e. implement your policy... who are the responsible people and what are their roles and responsibilities? 4. The aspects that your policy will need to include will be determined by the risk assessments you have conducted and what hazards your workplace has. Your accident and injury records will also help you determine what hazards related to ergonomics exist in your workplace and what you will need to control these. Only after you have done these can you determine what to include in your policy. Thanks, Jessica
Im a student and doing my research. Are there any specific guidelines in terms of determining the correct sitting posture at an office desk for the south african population. If there are where can I find them?Thank you
Hi Lebohang, Thanks for your question. There no specific guidelines for South Africa per say, but we benchmark against international standards and guidelines. Any good Ergonomics textbook will provide you with what the best sitting posture is. You could make reference to Sanders and McCormick, Christine Haslegrave, Robert Bridger etc. who should all have this information available for you. Some websites you can visit are the Canadian Ergonomics Society and the Health and Safety Executive (UK). Thanks, Jessica
We would like to know what the required office space per person is in an open plan lay-out. Your previous responses to similar questions are ambiguous, since it indicates 2.25m2 per person excluding the workstation in one instance, and the same square meters including the workstation in another instance. Please clarify.
Hi Hendrik, Thanks for your question. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act in the Environmental Regulations, under the Housekeeping section it states the following: An employer shall: make at least 2.25 square metres of effective open floor area available for every employee working in an indoor workplace. Unfortunately this does not specify whether the space should include or exclude the workstation of the user but it is assumed that the 2.25 square metres includes space for the user to sit, the desk, computers and possibly filing space. Thanks, Jessica
Myself as a Personal Assistant sit in a huge open plan area, outside the directors offices (this includes another Secretary that sits on the opposite side of this open area). We have a central ceiling fitted aircon unit, which has now not been in working order for easy on a year or more. It has been declined by Management to have this aircon unit replaced or repaired. Now that it is winter we have no means of warming up the open area and as I sit & write this question to you, my feet & hands are absolutely frozen. I did have a little blowing heater under my desk to try & warm up my feet, which was only purchased at the begiining of this current winter, but with constant use everyday for 9 -10 hours since the onset of winter, the heater has packed up. What is the ruling with regards to the company supplying proper heating & cooling facilities in conjunction with health & safety etc..
Hi Terri, Thanks for your question. You can refer to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and make reference to the Environmental Regulations. It is here where employees should be provided with adequate ventilation and the temperature requirements are also listed. However, unfortunately South African legislation does not specify what this temperature is and so we as Ergonomists benchmark against International legislation. It is therefore recommended that temperature be set at 23 degrees and those who find this hot or too cold should ensure they dress appropiately. Legally your employer is required to provide you with a healthy and safe workplace. If you can determine (through Specialist input, measurements etc.) that your current environment is not, then your employer is legally required to fix the problems. Let us know if you need any further assistance. Thanks Jessica
Hi there,I'm a Unisa student doing a module in Ergonomics. I'm struggling to understand the concept of a 'systems description'. I know that looking at something from a systems approach means that you have to look at the organisation as a whole and not at the components in isolation. The handbook gives a broad definition of the concept in ergonomics, but I'm not 'getting' it. Could you perhaps help me with a simple example?Thanks
Hi Melissa, Thanks for your question. Basically the systems approach is understanding all the parts of an organisation (greater system) and how they interact and influence each other. You can get different types of systems... big systems such as an organisation and then all the components in this system interacting together or you can get smaller systems which may be for example an individual operator interacting with a tool or equipment within a certain environment. An example: You and your computer working is an example of a system. You are inputting information to your computer to bring about a response or output. Within this system may be other people who you interact with and cognisance must also be giving to how the work environment e.g. temperature, lighting, noise, people etc. can impact on your ability to carry out your task effectively and safely. Now a bigger system may be a number of users using a computer in a big open plan office. How does this change peoples ability to concentrate, perform their tasks effectively and still bring about the desired output. I hope this helps. Let me know if you need further clarity. Thanks, Jessica
Hi. I work as Audio Visual Pre Sales designer. I aslo work as a CAD draughtsman at the same company. I will be moved from my normal desk to a bar counter style desk. I feel that this does not comply with ergonomic practises as i will be working at my desk the whole day and the sitting position is no good. What can i do to ensure i work in a safe environment.Kind regardsChris
Hi Chris, Thanks for your question. We would suggest that you contact an Ergonomist who is suitably qualified to conduct an ergonomics risk assessment for you which will determine any problems and provide suitable solutions to help you. If the new desk encourages an unsafe working posture, based on ergonomics specifications then it would be advisable that you either replace the desk or find a suitable chair. Many thanks, Jessica
I am looking to identify a qualified ergonomist or physiotherapist (with specialist knowledge of office ergonomics) working in Johannesburg. It is possible that we have a client who might in the future require face-to-face assistance. If interested to find out more, please reply to the email address.
Hi John, Thanks for your question. Please refer to our website, under Links which should assist your query. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, I work in a central sterile reprocessing area in a hospital. I would like to know what the recommended safe lifting weight is. During an 8- 12 hour shift we lift continously between waist and shoulder height. We deal with containers of instruments that range from 50-10cm. The weights of containers range from 5-20kg. Are there any South SAfrican regulations or guidelines available. Thanks
Hi Denise, Thank you for your question. It is difficult to just give an answer as the maximum weight to be lifted is dependant on a number of factors. You may wish to refer to the NIOSH Lifting equations, alternatively request the services of an Ergonomist to conduct an ergonomics assessment for you. Thanks, Jessica
If a room is used as a training room, are there extraordinary requirements for ventillation and lighting of that venue because of it's functional use?(in this case, detail as follows: size 10m x 7m, ceiling height 6m, seats up to 20 people for up to 6 hrs at a time, no window or direct ventillation to outside - only a
Hi Keith, Thank you for your question. You might like to refer to the Occupational Healthy and Safety Act with specific reference to the Environmental Regulations. It is stated here what the lighting and ventilation requirements are for offices, which your training room should be part of. In terms of extraordinary requirements there are no specifics for training rooms as per the OHS Act but from an ergonomics point of view, we would suggest the supply of fresh air so as to aid concentration and to prevent the room from becoming stuffy. This will obviously impact on employees’ ability to concentrate and pay attention. The lighting will be dependant on the mode of training i.e. PowerPoint presentations versus employees required to read and write, as the amount of lighting will vary. Thanks, Jessica
Please advise what is considered a benchmark temperature for an office environment (corporate administrative)? Many thanks.
Hi Keith, It is suggested, although not specifically in South African legislation, but we benchmark against other countries is to have the temperature in an office set to: Summer: a dry bulb temperature range of 23 degrees to 28 degrees Winter: a temperature range of 20 degrees to 25.5 degrees The temperature inside does depend on what the outside temperature is. A general recommendation is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C (in summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors). We hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
Hello, I live in Port Elizabeth and I come from Serbia. I hold a postgraduate diploma at human Computer Interactions with Ergonomics from th UK, from 2 years ago. I am struggling to find any vacancies regarding to that field. I would appreciate if you could help to get a job in Port Elizabeth where I can apply my academic knowledge and improve it. Thank you very much. Marijana
Hi Marijana, Please refer to our website as we post jobs as and when we receive these from companies. Thanks, Jessica
What does the Act say on the office temperature when using aircon?
Hi Jabulani, Thanks for your question. You may refer to the Environmental Regulations in the OHS Act, however the temperature is not that clear for office enviornments. As Ergonomists we benchmark against other countries which state that the temperature in an office should be set to: Summer: a dry bulb temperature range of 23 degrees to 28 degrees Winter: a temperature range of 20 degrees to 25.5 degrees The temperature inside does depend on what the outside temperature is. A general recommendation is that the temperature be held constant in the range of 21-23°C (in summertime when outdoor temperatures are higher it is advisable to keep air-conditioned offices slightly warmer to minimize the temperature discrepancy between indoors and outdoors). We hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, I would like to know the space that must be available per learner in a class room. Thank you
Hi Susan, Thank you for your query. I suggest you look into the National Building Regulations as we do not have this information available for classrooms, but only for people in an office. Do let us know if you are able to exceed. Thanks, Jessica
I am a physiotherhpaist in Namibia. Is it possible that i do a post graduate programme in ergonomics or occupational health part time or by research. if so, where can i do it.Tarubva
Hi Tarubva, Thanks for your email. Unfortunately there are no part time courses available in Ergonomics in South Africa, however I am sure there are for Occupational Health. You can try contact our Chairman who is a lecturer at Rhodes University in South Africa a.todd@ru.ac.za if you are interested in full time courses. Thanks, Jessica
Hi - we want to convert our Library into an office. There is no natural light and no windows in that room. The door is next to the bathroom and repception on the other side. Is this legal? Much appreciated.
Hi Rouxna, Thank you for your question. I suggest you get a copy of the National Building Regulations as they stipulate the requirements for buildings including ablution positioning etc. From an Occupational Health and Safety point of view the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Environmental Regulations for Workplaces will assist you. You can download this from the Department of Labour website. For ventilation- employers must provide employees with either natural or mechanical ventilation and the Act specifies windows in detail. The Act also specifies lighting requirements and where there is no natural light, what the lighting levels should be. Offices must have lighting levels of 300lux. We hope this helps. Thanks Jessica
I would like to know if there is a health & safety requirement to have an air conditioner in a office space where there are 6 people working & there are no windows with 50 electrical monitoring devices running 24/7.
HI Venessa, Thanks for your question. You will find the Occupational Health and Safety Act usually for this. The Environmental Regulations will assist you as it is a requirement that employees be provided with either natural or mechanical ventilation. So you basically either need a window or an air con. Also machines produce heat so it is even more of a hazard having the heat and no proper ventilation that can be hazardous to your health and safety. Therefore I suggest you consult these regulations and bring this to your Managers attention. They can then request the services of an Ergonomist & Occupational Hygienst to do some tests to confirm the health and safety hazards. I hope this helps. Thanks Jessica
Hi,I am an Industrial designer looking to further myself in design by studying ergonomics. Do you know of any part time courses available for me to study ergonomics in Johannesburg?Thanks.
Hi Chris, Unfortunately there are no part time courses in Ergonomics and to be an Ergonomist it is a requirement to have your Masters Degree in Ergonomics. The society is busy working on a facilitator level where people who are not Ergonomists can do some Ergonomics work, but this is still in the pipeline. So please keep watching the news on our website for progress on this. Thanks for your question. Jessica
Does a South African Aircon company have to be part of the electrical board?
Hi Donovan, I suggest you contact the Engineering Socirty of South Africa to assist you as we do not deal with this. Thanks for your question. Jessica
Were can I find information on ergonomic courses that are recognized by your society?
Hi Martlie, Unfortunately to be an Ergonomist it is a requirement by the International Ergonomics Association that you have your Masters Degree in Ergonomics. As the SA society we are busy working on a facilitator level where certain Ergonomics work can be done by certain people. This is still in the pipeline, so please watch the news on our website. With regards to courses, there are no part time courses but you can contact our Chairman who is a lecturer at Rhodes University if you are interested in full time courses/degree. Thanks for your question. Jessica
I've recently started an internship with repetitive typing and am now in extreme pain. I've approached HR and a Dr who diagnosed my hand pain as
Hello Phathuxolo, Thanks for your question. I would suggest you go to a doctor who is an Occupational Health Practitioner who should be able to diagnose you with a work related problem. Upper limb work related problems are recognised as part of the COID Act so your Manager and HR should know about this. If you claim for compensation they should then have an Ergonomist come in and assess your workstation to try and prevent their employees from getting injured and more importantly claiming as it costs companies money. You can also make reference to the Occupational Health and Safety Act which stipulates employees should work in a healthy and safe work enviornment and that you are obviously not as you are injuring yourself. I dont know what industry you are in, but also ask HR what there medical surveillance policy is as this should assist you getting help and an Ergonomics assessment to try and remove what is causing you pain. Let us know your progress. Jessica
Hi! I would like to know what is the required office space per person. Excluding office furniture to set up a work station
Hi Fezile, Each person must have 2.25m2 of office space. Thanks, Jessica
What is the maximum safe work load that a person can lift
HI Sadie, Thanks for your question. This does depend on a number of factors such as what the load is, the dimensions, are their handles, the height of the lift, the duration and frequency of lift. It is also dependant on the physical enviornment too. Please send us some more detail to be able to assist you. Thanks, Jessica
I would like to know how many toilets are required in school buildings - classroom areas. Is it different to the normal requirements?Thank you.
Hello Jo, Thanks for your question. You can approach the National Building Regulations and Standard Act (SABS 0400) which stipulates the number of toilets that are needed in different working enviornments (schools included) as well as the number of toilets needed for a certain number of people. Thanks, Jessica
I noticed a question asking for assistance in regarding to ergonomic issues at work. I wondered if you ever get questions regarding disabled/injured workers in the open labour market. If so could occupational therpists working in vocational rehalbation and involved in such work appear on your website? Should questions regarding disablity in the work palce come up.
Hi Hester, You would need to contact our Chairman (a.todd@ru.ac.za) re the website query. With regards to disabled employees, yes most certainly ergonomics is important as well as rehabilitation of employees who become disabled due to work related injuries. It is essential that disabled/injuried employees who are either put on 'light duties' or who have become office bound have their work environment assessed in order for them to still be able to function in a healthy and safe manner. Thanks, Jessica
What is the mean weight that a person can lift vertically from a standing position?
Hi Ian, Thanks for your question. This does depend on a number of factors such as what the load is, the dimensions, are their handles, the height of the lift, the duration and frequency of lift. It is also dependant on the physical enviornment too and the individual doing the task. If you can give us more information we can assist you. Thanks, Jessica
Hi there,Do you know any ergonomic company in South Africa that has experience in doing consulting the oil industry? We have ergonomical issues here taht might require changes in the layout of their workplace. Your reply is required urgently please.Regards,Jorge
Hello Jorge, Thank you for your question. Please consult our website for a list of consultancies in South Africa who will be able to assist you. Thanks, Jessica
I have an aircon outlet directly above me in the office. The aircon is set extremely cold (18 deg) and I find that I am continuously sick and/or getting headaches. What rights do I have to get my company to improve the situation or set it warmer?
Hi Anna, Unfortunately SA legislation is not clear on the temperatures, but we rely on International best practise and ISO standards which state that for offices the temperature should be set at 22-23 degrees. Also your air con should be regularly serviced so as to prevent the accumulation of dust etc which can lead to sinus and headaches because the air quality is poor. Do let us know if we have been of help. Thanks Jessica
Hi, i would like to know the perfect ergonomic way of binding
Hi Noly, Thank you for your question. In order to answer your question to the best of our ability, please could you describe the task of binding so that we can assist you. Thanks, Jessica
How many toilets must there be for a seconadry school 630 girls grade 9 to 12
Hi Jannie, Thank you for your email. Please refer to the National Building Regulations and Standard Act (SABS 0400) where it is detailed the number of toilets needed for schools and it is also dependant on the number of people. Let us know if this helps you. Thanks, Jessica
Good day, I want to register as an Ergonomics Facilitator as the role I have been performing between Eskom and their contractors matches the criteria set out on your website ito facilitator in terms of education I hold a BSc IT and BEng electrical & electronics degree. Regards Sonja
Hi Sonja, Unfortunately we are still trying to get the certification and role of the facilitator sorted out with the International Ergonomics Association. Therefore at present the role of the facilitator does not yet exist, but we will keep you posted, or alternatively keep reading our website for further information. Thanks, Jessica
Good Day, I would like to know if it is possible for an Ergonomist to come to our office and assess our seating arrangements and give solutions.
Hi Lebo, Thanks for your enquiry. Please go onto our website and have a look at the consultancies who will be able to assist you. Thanks, Jessica
names of the schools suitable for down syndrome children in LIMPOPO AND MPUMALANGA
Hi Buti, Unfortunately we cannot provide you with this information. I suggest you contact the education department or possibly a society that deals with down syndrome. Thanks, Jessica
names of the institutions offering employee assistance programme studies
Hi Buit, I would suggest you contact companies who offer services for EAP and see where you would be able to do some studying. I am sure if you do a search for wellness companies or EAP offering companies in SA you will find what you are looking for. Do let us know if you are not sucessful and we will try and assist you. Thanks
how can i send a research paper for publication in esa journal
Hi, Please can you submit the paper to c.christie@ru.ac.za or a.todd@ru.ac.za Thanks, Jessica
Hi there.I requre some assistance. I work in a big building and one of my sections are using it the office as a
Hi Lydia, You can approach the National Building Regulations and Standard Act (SABS 0400), Part C which is available from the SABS. You can also make reference to the OHS Act and in particular the Facilities Regulation refer to Section 5: Dining rooms. Unfortunately I don’t know what your offices are used for but every employer must have a separate dining room or eating place on the premises for employees who may be exposed to biological agents, hazardous chemical substances, poisonous substances, dirt, dust, soot or similar and/or animal products. From a health point of view it isn’t obviously hygienic having leftover take away boxes and dirty coffee cups around, so it would make good business sense to have demarcated canteen area for this rather than an open space or office. If your SHE reps are not being listened to this is against the OHS Act requirements and you can make reference to the General Administrative Regulations for this. Please let us know if we can assist you further. ESSA
Would like to know how ergonomics is cirrently in SA, and what comment will you give?
Hi Teopolina Thank you for your question. Ergonomics in South Africa is growing. We have had some encouraging developments with the department of labour over the last year. Consequently I believe that there is opportunity for the growth of the discipline over the next couple of years. For further information on the challenges we are facing have a look at the Ergonomics South Africa journal in which the ESSA chairman, Andrew Todd has written an article addressing the very issues that you have raised.
hi there.i am a dental technician in randburg. about 2 years ago i hurt my shoulder. since then i ha ve been in constant physio with little results. i have put my problem down to my workstation. im really battling to get into a proper wofking postion at work. i work with my hands all day long. i am looking for someone in my area to help me set up my desk/chair to try improve the shoulders. do you know of any one who could help.many thanks.dieter
Hi Dieter Thank you for your question. Workstation design is very important in terms of discomfort. There is substantial evidence showing the benefits of good ergonomically sound workstation design, both in terms of comfort and productivity. There are several options available to you in your area. If you have a look at our website (http://www.ergonomicssa.com/index.php?pid=10) there is a list of consultancies for you to select from.
I am from the sport science background conducting sport scientific tests and biomechanical assessments to athletes . As I am interested in becoming the member of the Ergonomics Society of SA what are some of the benefits for someone from the sports science background? Thanks
Hi Jacob, Thanks for your query. ESSA does have a number of sport scientists as members. The benefits are that you can subscribe to our Journal which features interesting articles related to both work and sport which may be of interest to you. Ergonomics looks at anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and psychology all of which are areas you may be interested in. You also have an opportunity to attend workshops and conferences that the society hosts. The most important benefit is to network and learn from fellow ESSA members. We look forward to welcoming you to our society. Thanks, Jessica
Good aftternoon, I would likee to enquire about any courses that you may have in order for me to become an ergonomistt? I am also looking into health and safety courses. I look forward to hearing from you. Regards, cathy
Hi Cathy, Unfortunately there are no short courses available and one can only become an Ergonomist with a degree in Ergonomics. So far the only institution offering this is Rhodes University. If you are looking for health and safety courses, there are a number of companies offering this. Companies such as Nosa, Lexis Nexis etc. I hope this helps. Thanks, Jessica
What would the ideal temperature be to set an airconditioner in an open plan office - is there any legislation in this regard?Thanks
Hi Liesl, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately the SA legislation is not very specific with regards to temperature, and so as Ergonomists we benchmark against International standards. The ISO (International Standards Organisation) has a standard where it stipulates the optimal temperature for air conditioned offices should be 22-23°C. It is therefore recommended you follow this and those who find this too hot dress appropriately and those who are too cold bring warmer clothes to avoid any conflict. Thanks, Jessica
Does the SA labour law have specific requirements for VDU users in term of their vision? Could an employee ask his employer to pay for corrective eyewear eg. presciption glasses to optimize and protect his vision if he is constantly wotking on an VDU aspart of his job description?
Hello Riana, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately there is no legislation on VDU use as there are in the UK with the Display Screen Equipment regulations. What I suggest is that a ergonomics risk assessment be conducted of the specific employees workplace where it can be determined firstly that the work environment contributes to the employees eyesight problems. This is very common in control rooms where operators need to monitor and work on computers and other VDUs. You can then submit a claim to the compensation commissioner and say that the eyesight problems are as a result of poor ergonomics and workplace design (if this has been proven in your ergonomics risk assessment). The employee should then be reimbursed if the compensation commissioner finds your information true. I hope this helps and let me know if I can be of further assistance. Thanks, Jessica
I would like to find out what is the minimum toilets / persons in a workplace?
Good Morning Nick, The National Building Regulations contain this information and give you examples of how to calculate the number of toilet facilities for your intended population. It has been updated (it was the SABS 0400-1990) and is now SANS 10400. You can perhaps try google this document or purchase it from the SABS. The section you will need is Part P which is Drainage. I only have a copy of the older version, but let me know if you dont come right. Thanks, Jessica
Hi, I need to find out when does the employer provide ergonomics, when the individual has suffered an injury outside work or only in a work related activity?
Hello Dieketseng, Your question is very interesting thank you. As the Ergonomics Society we believe that Ergonomics should be a fundamental part of a company's Safety division and should be ongoing. This allows for a proactive way of managing the company's safety rather than after an injury or incident, which is reactive. To answer your question, it is a tricky one. Obviously if an employee has injured themselves outside of working hours and not whilst on duty then this is the employee's responsibility. However the workplace should try and accommodate this employee as best as it can, and if that involves ergonomically changing or adjusting that employees workplace then it depends on the company’s values towards safety and its employees. The employee will also need to form part of the medical surveillance program to firstly determine if the employee is fit for duty before she/he returns to work after an injury. Also if the employee is injured and cannot resume their normal duties for a period of time, then it depends on what the company's policies are regarding incapacity. Fundamentally companies should see to it that their workplaces are safe and healthy for their employees and therefore should be free of any hazards and risks. Ergonomics is essential in any industry and ergonomic risk assessments must be done proactively to control these hazards. This is important, as hazards at work can contribute to injuries at work or contribute to employees health that could result in an injury outside of work that could have been as a result of a work related activity or poor working environment. I hope I have answered your question. Let me know if you need further clarification. Thanks, Jessica
Please can you supply me with a list of registered memebers in Gauteng Province. Thank you
Hi Andre, On our website is a list of consultancies in South Africa. Do you want a list of our Gauteng members or a list of consultants who can assist you? Thanks, Jessica
I am seeking information on the effects of exposure to whole body vibration in the workplace. Does the South African OHS Act and/or related regulations contain any rulings on exposure limits? If not, what is the best standard to refer to?
Hi Kate, Thanks for your email. Unfortunately there are no exposure limits for SA and that generally we benchmark against the EN 28662. Try and search for this. Also for the effects of vibration, the HSE (Health and Safety Executive, UK) has a brilliant website where you can get info on the effects of exposure to vibration (http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/index.htm). Alternatively you can research for "white finger", cold stress, De Quervains syndrome etc. which can be other searches for vibration related information. I hope this helps. Jessica
Hi thereThe school that my boys are attending have recently purchased desks wilthout any backs, so the children cannot lean back. I would like to present the buyer with articles as to why the desks need back support, these children have to sit in their desks for hours every day. Could you point me to where I can find articles or anything that can help me with my discussion with the school. Thanks so much.Carey Tredoux
Dear Carey Thank you very much for your interesting question regarding chairs. It is interesting because there is currently a trend going on to promote the use of exercise/physiotherapy chairs for use in the office environment. Have a look at http://www.ergoweb.com/news/detail.cfm?id=1091 for details of this debate with some useful links. There is academic evidence suggesting that a proper back support is an important component of a chair and that it is important that this support is provided at an appropraite level of the spine. I would suggest that the best place for you to collect evidence from would be to use governmental sites (unfortunately not South African) but the Health and Safety Executive (HSE - from the UK) has really useful guidelines : http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg57.pdf. Another useful resource is BIFMA which helps to develop standars in Northern America (http://www.bifma.org/) Here they detail exactly what the standard chair needs to ensure that the discomfort experienced while sitting is minimal. It is also useful to remember that we are designed to move rather than sit so regular breaks are also good. If you need any further assistance or details please let us know. Also keep us in the loop with what happens. Kind Regards Andrew
Ergonomics is an important aspect of employee wellness and impact mostly on young workers. Briefly elaborate on this aspect.
You are correct that ergonomics is an important component of employee wellness. The role of ergonomics is to use the systems approach to deliver two objectives. Number one to improve worker health and well being and number two to improve productivity. This due objective is achieved by ensuring that the worker capabilities are matched to the task demands ensuring compatability between the two. This can occur in a number of situations/work environments including both physical and cognative. The focus of this work is not limited to young individuals. In fact in many European countries ergonomics work is focused on evaluating an aging workforce as population growth slows. In a South African context we need to take cognisance of the cycle of disease and other such factors and so often the focus is on younger individuals.
Does ergonomics play a role on construction projects?
Hi Muzo, MOST DEFINITELY!!! Actually ergonomics is stipulated in the construction regulations of the OHS Act and it is the only regulations that make mention of ergonomics. Ergonomics is important from a manual materials handling point of view, working at heights, the effects of noise, temperature, vibration, lighting etc. on employees behaviour and performance, the impact of fatigue management on employees and managing injuries by conducting thorough root cause analysis. So YES ergonomics is vital in the construction industry. Hope this helps. Jessica
Hi there, a particular classroom at my son's school really gets very hot in summer. the school has decided that we cannot just go ahead to get a fan for this room..we have to motivate why it is neccessary. We have now placed a wall thermometer into this room, which yesterday, read 24 deg and that not being the hottest day we have had. Are there any rules as to what temperatures children ought to be exposed to for adequate concentration? I realizes that the SA legislation does not say much re temperatures!!
Hi Heidi, Thanks for your enquiry. Unfortunately in SA there is no legislation with regards to the temperature for working environments (including schools). However as Ergonomists, we base our work therefore on international best practise which states that the the temperature in an office and I suppose the classroom is an office, that the temperature when exceeding 22/23 degrees Celsius, must be provided with a cooling system preferably an air conditioner or fan. This is based on British standards and ISO (international standards). It is also important to not just look at the outside air temperature, but the humidity, radiation, air movements and the inside room temperature which can be higher than the outside temperature due to the number of people in a class, the size of the classroom, the humidity, if there is no source of ventilation and cooling etc. You can therefore tell the school that should temperatures exceed the above levels, the kids ability to concentrate is effected and therefore the kids will not be able to pay attention and this can impact on their marks and learning. In high temperatures where there is no provision for natural or artificial ventilation, heat can lead to fatigue and hence impact on the children's ability to learn. Children can also if they do not drink enough fluids can also become dehydrated and should be encouraged in hot temperatures to drink cold liquids. Is your son's classroom a prefab or normal school room? Also the Occupational Health and Safety Act does say that work environments must be healthy and safe so you could use this as a means to get the school to do something or request that an ergonomics assessment be done to address the problems you have. I hope I have helped. Please contact me should you need further assistance. Thanks Jessica (jessica@hfeconsulting.co.za)
i need a part time or distance learning course in ergonomics that is approveved by the istitution. either in pta, jhb, kzn
Hi Londiwe, Unfortunately there are no approved part time or distance learning courses in Ergonomics in SA. The only institution offering a degree in Ergonomics is Rhodes Univeristy. You can contact our Chairman Andrew (a.todd@ru.ac.za) for more information. Thanks
I'm a qualified physiotherapist interested in Ergonomics. What are the requirements regarding further studies that you have for me to be registered as an Ergonomic facilitator? Could you perhaps provide me with information regarding courses or further studies available to become a qualified facilitator.
Hi Leoni, Apologies ESSA has taken so long in responding to your enquiry. To be a practising Ergonomist, the IEA (International body for Ergonomists) stipulates that you need a Masters Degree in Ergonomics. In South Africa, Rhodes is the only University offering this. With regards to short courses to become a qualified facilitator there are none that are accredited in SA and ESSA does not yet recognise those that are offered as courses to become a facilitator. Perhaps its worthwhile contacting our Chairman Andrew (a.todd@ru.ac.za) to get further info on this. Thanks
Urgently looking for kneeling chair stockist/supplier in Western Cape.
Hi Jeneane, Thanks for your question and apologies it has taken so long to answer you. Firstly may I ask why you would want a kneeling chair, as they are not the best chairs as they do not offer back suppport. So before I recommend you a stockist, perhaps you could explain why you feel the need for these types of chairs. Thanks, Jessica
I’m a qualified physiotherapist (B.Sc. in Physiotherapy; Stellenbosch University) and am planning to attend a HPCSA approved Ergonomics Risk Auditors Course presented by ErgoMax. Would my application for certification be approved by the Ergonomics Society of South Africa after completion of the course?
Dear Deidre Thank you for your query. The course run by Ergomax is a very good course and will give you a sound basic understanding. Unfortunately in terms of certification a Masters degree in ergonomics is required to be a certified ergonomist. This is in line with the standards established by the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) of which ESSA is an affliated member and so are bound to these regulations. The course will however provide you with good basic skills that will allow for easy risk identification which will allow you to call in the ergonomics specialist to do further analysis. Kind Regards Andrew
Does ESSA conduct any free ergonomic studies? Our organisation has a need for reports on artisans working in the following fields: Diesel mechanics, armament fitters, auto electricians doing repairs in the field.
Hi Naren, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately ESSA does not do any assessments for companies. However, on the ESSA website are a list of Consultancies who perhaps you could contact and see if they will be able to assist you. Many thanks, Jessica
I sit in a office that has no windows or aircon duct. The duct just outside my office is operated by a switch that is regulated by ladies sitting in an open-plan just outside my office. These ladies are constantly switching the aircon off because they are cold - leaving myself and two other colleagues without any ventilation or cool air. lately, everyone in the office has been extremely ill with a virus - what is the law around the use of airconditioning in an office area with no windows?
Hi Charlene, Thanks for your question. This is always a contentious issue and unfortunately SA legislation is not specific in terms of room temperatures. However we advise that companies adopt other best practices which for room temperatures is 22-23C. It is known that different ethnic groups have different temperature requirements and so to eliminate your situation, the temperature should be set at the levels mentioned and those who get cold should bring a blanket and dress appropriately and vice versa. You can also look at the National Building Regulations which stipulate the provision of ventilation for workplaces and that air conditioners should be serviced as per the manufacturers specifications. I am not sure what industry you work in, but the reasons for the virus may be that the air conditioners have not be cleaned, that the filters may need to be replaced or that you may work in an environment where there is dust, vapour or volatile material which may not be properly extracted from the building. I would suggest you adhere to international best practice of keeping the temperature set at 22-23C and you get somebody in to service your air conditioners and either clean or replace the filters. I hope this helps! Jessica
Hi How many toilet/basins do I need per person ( girls hostel)
Hi Erika, Thank you for your question. Id like to refer you to the National Building Regulations, SANS 10400 and the Facilities Regulations (Occupational Health and Safety Act). I have emailed you the information that you are looking for. Let me know if this assists you. Thanks Jessica
HiI am an intern Industrial Psychologist doing an assignment in our call centre. I would like to know if ergonomic standards exist for the call centre environment such as desk space etc. If so please could you provide me with this as well as ergonomic impact of call centre equipment e.g. headphones.Thanks
Hi Nadira, There are ergonomic standards for control rooms which may be of help to you. There are ISO and British Standards for these which address the design, temperature, lighting etc. Let me know if you need the references for the ISO standards, but these are on the website of ISO. Thanks
How do I become a member of Ergonomics Society of South Africa?
Hello, Thanks for your email. On the website is a form that you need to complete and then you can submit this to me at Jessica@hfeconsulting.co.za There is also a joining fee and depending on whether you would like our Journal submitted electronically or via the post, the price varies. I look forward to receiving your membership form. Thanks, Jessica
Hi there , How do i go about conducting an ergonomics audit for the work place?
Hi Ishen, Thanks for your question. First and foremost, it is advisable that an Ergonomist conduct the audit for you. This is important as the Ergonomist will be able to pick up the Ergonomic aspects of the work that your employees conduct, in addition to what are the good Ergonomic aspects and what are poor Ergonomic aspects. Secondly, conducting an Ergonomics audit is like any H&S audit, the basics and principles are the same, except the focus is obviously on the human-machine and human-system interface. It also depends on whether Ergonomics is implemented in your industry and the extent of this. Do you have policies and procedures specifically related to Ergonomics that your auditor can use when doing an audit to check compliance? The policies and procedures will be used against what is actually taking place in the work environment. Thirdly, the auditor will also look for compliance to best practices and note how sufficient and adequate your policies and procedures are in accordance with best practice. If you need any further advice, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thanks, Jessica
I am a fully registered Biokineticist, but is looking into the field of ergonomics. How long do I have to study and where?Thank you very muchHanlie Bezuidenhout
Dear Hanlie Thank you very much for your interest in Ergonomics. In order to qualify as a registered Ergonomist it is necessary to have a masters degree in Ergonomics. Currently the only University in South Africa offering this course is Rhodes University (www.ru.ac.za/hke for further details). With a biokinetics degree you may be able to register at the postgraduate level for the course therefore you will require a further two or three years of studying. Kind Regards Andrew
Hi, I'm a practicing psychologist suffering from neck and shoulder pain. I sit in a consultation chair (i.e. not behind a desk) for most of my day. The only ergonomic advice I can find relates to working at a desk. Could you advise me on what sort of consultation chair (armchair or other) I should look for to relieve my discomfort?
Hi Vicky Thank you very much for your question. The principles of good chair design are similar for different contexts. The key to ensuring that discomfort is minimal is to ensure that the key areas of the body are in appropriate postures. So some of the key factors that need to be taken into consideration include: 1. Adjustability: Regardless of what you are using the chair for if you are spending a substantial part of the day in the chair you need to ensure that the chair suits your own anthropometric characteristics (if you need further help here we can provide you with suggestions regarding Ergonomists that would be able to help). 2. Lumbar support: A backrest that has an adequate support in the lumbar region is imperative in reducing the discomfort as it ensures that the lumbar spine curvature is maintained and the weight bearing characteristics reduced. 3. Arm rests: For someone doing your sort of job it is important that you have adequate support for your arms and that you are able to write easily and in an appropriate posture. Once again a qualified ergonomist would be able to assist you here. An awareness of an appropriate posture is important as well, for which there are ergonomists available to assist you. If you need any further assistance please don't hesistate to contact us. Kind regards Andrew
What is the the max load a qualify fitter 10years+ experence assisted when a mobile crane or chain block and slings?
Dear Martin Thank you very much for your question, it is one that is both very important and asked on a regular basis. Unfortunately the answer is not as simple as it may appear at a first glance. Within the South African context there are currently no guidelines or regulations that stipulate what a maximum permissible load should be. This is partly because the context within which the manual handling is occuring is important in determining the impact it will have on the human operator. For example the horizontal reach involved (that is the distance between the lower back and the centre of mass of the load) plays a pivotal role in determining the forces involved. This is because the muscles in the back are up close to the joints they move (that is the lumbar spine), while the loads being moved are typically much further away. The consequence of this is that the muscle forces are much greater than the loads being moved (they can be up to 10 times higher), playing the spine at risk of injury. I have highlighted just one factor here out of any number. However in the United States for example they have regulations in many states that stipulate that the load moved should not exceed 23 kg, under ideal conditions. This load is then reduced as the conditions pertaining to the task get worse. Thus I would suggest that in order to get a better idea of what would be acceptable it is necssary to have an ergonomist do an assessment of both the task demands and the worker capabilities. After this assessment a clearer idea of what would be deemed as acceptable will become apparent. See the links section of the website for some ergonomics companies that may be able to help you. If you have any further queries please don't hesitate to contact us.
We would like to know what is the cost for a one year subscription of Ergonomics SA.Thank you so mcuh for your prompt response.Olivia
Dear Olivia The cost of subscription is dependent on what type of journal subscription you would like. I have given you a synopsis below: Printed (hardcopy) journal subscription: R 350 per annum Electronic (Pdf) journal subscription: R 250 per annum If you are a student you may register for the electronic subscription for R 100. Kind Regards Andrew
I am currently having an MSc in occupational Hygiene and have to do baseling risk assessment for vibration at work. i would like to find out if there is an institution where i can register for PHD and do the project in the mining industry.
Hi Miranda, You can contact Rhodes University's Ergonomics Department. Matthias Goebel is the Head of the department m.goebel@ru.ac.za. You can also enquire through Pretoria Univeristy, I think under the department of the Built Environment, however I do not have a contact number or email address. Let me know if you dont come right. Jessica
Would ergonomics include air qualty in offices? The modern trend to have offices witjh windows that don't open and constant cold air flowing down your neck is awful. Air filters are changed rarely and I cannot belive this articifical environment is healthy. I am a freelance writer and would like to write an article on this. Regards, Samantha Barnes041379 5568
Hi Sam, I tend to agree with you and find myself that modern offices are very unhealthy. There is also an increase in the number of people who work in air conditioned offices who experience sinus problems because of the air conditioners. Air quality, in terms of your question does have everything to do with Ergonomics. Ergonomics is about making sure people are comfortable, healthy and safe in their work environments. Poor consideration, in terms of air quality, can negatively impact on performance as employees can become tired, lethargic and find concentrating difficult especially in offices where there is no supply of fresh air i.e. no windows. This can then impact on their health, as well as their safety as no supply of fresh air can cause one to become drowsy and therefore make mistakes which could lead to accidents. Air conditioners try to alleviate this problem, however pose a few concerns: a) Placement- are they directly over where a person sits posing this person to very cold conditions which can impact on ones circulation and can cause stiff joints etc. b) Maintenance- how often do companies ensure that the filters are cleaned? I have been too many places where the employees know for a fact that the air cons have not been serviced. This exposes employees to dust and other materials which themselves are hazardous to employees' health. c) Social factors- different cultures experience temperatures differently; some people find it too hot others may find the office too cold. This does lead to many conflicts in the workplace. It is for this reason that companies need to adhere to the Occupational Health and Safety Act which stipulates the temperatures for office. I hope this helps. Good luck with your article. Jessica
Lifting Task Limitations in South Africa - are there any readily availbale guidelines that indicates the maximum weight a person can pick up and for what duration. Thanks.
Hi Daryl Thank you for your important question. It is one that we get on a regular basis and the answer is unfortunately not as simple as it may seem. Firstly there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration when providing guidelines for lifting tasks. For instance ergonomics is all about matching the task demands to the worker capabilities, and consequently to answer your question one needs to have an understanding of both the demands of the task and operator capabilities. What these means is that the load limit is highly dependent on the situation at hand. Numerous factors such as the high from which the load is being lifted, the size and shape of the load, how close the load can be kept to the body and several other factors all need to be taken into account. U/nfortunately there have been no guidelines developed that are specific to the South African population and the Occupational Health and Safety guidelines do not currently provide a lifting standard in terms of what is acceptable. However other countries such as the USA have developed guidelines like the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) lifting equation. This equation starts with a maximum acceptable load of 23kg which is reduced as the demands of the task increase (for example as the frequency of lifting get higher). If you would like further information you can go to: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/94-110/ where you can download the guidelines for free. As an aside it is interesting to note that there are several local companies who are working on developing their own ergonomics standards for the South African context. I will be sure to update as we make progress in this regard. If you have any further queries pleases don't hesitate to contact us. Thanks Andrew
What career can one get into with ergonomics?
Hi Varusha, Firstly are you in South Africa? If you have studied ergonomics and have obtained a MSc in Ergonomics you can pursue a career as an Ergonomist. You can also become involved in the Safety divisions of a company and assist Occupational Health Practioners. You could also get into academia and specialise further or lecture. I hope this helps. Cheer. Jessica
I am currently doing degree under Occupational Therapy at University of Bradford in UK so I want to know if it is possible for me to use this degree to do MSc in Ergonomics ?
Hi Tsenang, It all depends on where you intend on being in the future. If you intend on doing your MSc in the UK you will need to check with the instituions over there. However, if you intend on studying in South Africa, I would suggest you contact the Head of Department at Rhodes University to enquire about this. His details are: m.goebel@ru.ac.za I wish you well in your studies. Jessica
i am a physiotherapit and i am interested in the field of ergonomics. may you please advise me on a path i should take as well as south african universities offering post graduate ergonomics eg Masters or post grad diplomas
Hi Tarubva, Currently the only University that does a Masters Programme in Ergonomics is Rhodes Univeristy in Grahamstown. Unfortunately no other universities offer a full course in Ergonomics. Should you be interested you could email Andrew Todd who is a lecturer at Rhodes on a.todd@ru.ac.za Many thanks, Jessica
i am a plant manager at Everite Building Products and just need to know, 1) if a person mans a piece of equipment for how long can we require to let that person stand. 2) are we required by law to supply a chair for that operator. 3) instead of a chair what other resource can we use
Hi Christo, 1) A person should not be required to sit or stand permanently and this posture should be alternated. Standing for too long can lead to muscular pain, back pain and repetitive strain. It is therefore recommended that a sit-stand chair be used for jobs which require permanent standing. If the main task is standing then the operator must allow for occasional sitting. If alternate sitting and standing is not possible allow for more frequent short rest breaks. You could also allow for job rotation so that employees who stand can sit and visa versa. 2) Unfortunately in South Africa Ergonomics is not well legislated and therefore it does not specify that a chair must be provided. However, in order for a person to do their job effectively they must be provided with the tools to do their job and therefore a chair may be needed. The OHS Act also states that a company has a duty of care to provide an employee with a safe working environment and therefore if a person is required to stand without the possibility of resting intermittently, this could lead to fatigue and accidents. 3) Instead of a sit-stand chair you could use anti-fatigue mats which can be purchased for people who are required to stand for long periods of time. Thanks, Jessica
I need guidance with a somewhat complex PC work station for 2 of my clients. Both suffer from C6/C7 disk deterioration. Though I was contacted with the request to help them with good chairs it was evident on the ergonomic assessment that this is only the start. Both work on 2-3 PC's and 4-5 screens at once (this cannot be changed) However, they are working on 2or more keyboards and mice which is squeezed onto the desks and requires much reaching and very poor ergonomic work postures. Oh yes each also has a laptop on the side which they also reach to work on. My first incling was to provide an IT solution to run all the PCs and laptop (on laptop support) through one keyboard and mouse but this would mean turning the head sideways and possible leaning when looking at the screen which are not right in front of them. My second thought was to place a keyboard and mouse in front of each PC and couple (2) screens and teaching them to swivel the chair around to sit right in front of these, when using that PC and screens. However, though the screens are now placed on the correct hight in a
Hi Mathilda, Thanks for sending us your comments. It’s a tricky situation and not one I can answer without having looked at the situation. Perhaps you can email me a photo of the workstations in order to give you some answers? Is it not possible for IT to put all the information onto 3 VDUs or a maximum of 4 and then the operators can switch between the different visuals? Perhaps IT can also look at eliminating the information that is not essential and which could be attributing to a high mental workload? I cannot advice on the desk and chairs as I do not know what it looks like. But given the employee's problems in the neck area, it is advisable to eliminate the twisting in the neck area immediately. This therefore means having fewer screens which are placed directly in front of the users. Again, apologies if I have not helped you. Please feel free to email me on jessicahutch@gmail.com should you need any clarity. Thanks, Jessica
What is the minimum required space per person for an office area/building(including common areas like canteen and toilets)?
HI Nicolene, Apologies for the delayed response. It is recommended at each person have 2.25 square metres of space. This just for the individuals personal space and includes space for the desk, chair, workspace, filing cabinets etc. In terms of the size of the bathrooms etc, its best to look at the building regulation act as this stipulates these measurements, and includes measurements for people who may be disabled. If you need any other advice, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thanks Jessica
Good day, I just returned from sick leave, recovering from neck pain, headaches and eye problems. As a result i would like to embark on an ergonomics project but need some info to back me up. Which material/websites would you recommend? Where can I find statistics based, on the SA markets, showing the rise of neck, back and eye problems? Thanks in advance
Dear Gail Thank you very much for your interest in ergonomics. You pose some very interesting and important questions. Ergonomics is a relatively new area in South Africa and consequently the statistics available regarding injury statistics are at best poor. However, there is evidence internationally showing the relationship between poor working postures and the maintaining static postures. There are several websites that would be of use to you on an international level for this topic, which I have listed below: The Health and Safety Executive (UK): www.hse.gov.uk The Human Factors and Ergonomics society: www.hfes.org There is also a comprehensive list of websites relating to ergonomics and occupational health and safety available on the ESSA website. Kind regards Andrew
Hi, I am a Physiotherapist with an MSc Physiotherapy from UCT - can I join your society and if so what would be the benefits? Thanks - Debbie.
Dear Debbie Yes you can join our society as it is open to anyone who is interested in ergonomics. The benefits of belonging to the society include a free subscription to the Ergonomics South Africa Journal in which papers relating to ergonomics in industrially developing countries are published. Furthermore we provide regular updates on what is happening in the world of ergonomics (both from a theoretical and practical perspective) internationally. We will also inform you of all relevant workshops and conferences that are happening in the country, hosted by both national and international ergonomists. Obviously this information will help you to identify areas that may be of concern with a work environment and source an appropriate ergonomics specialist to resolve the issue. Kind regards Andrew
Good DayCan you assist with information regarding the stages in the processing of information on warning signs ?Thank you.
Hi Zaheera, There are many books you can consult with regards to information processing, but one of the "gurus" is CD Wickens. In order to assist you I would like to ask you to be a bit more specific in what exactly you are referring to in terms of information processing. Basically there is the input stage, where human beings pick up stimuli from the environment, in your case a red signal/warning sign. This information is then processed in the individual's mind and interpreted using the higher thinking processes. In order to make sense of this sign, the individual relies on past experience along with other factors. So for example the red sign equates to either danger or stop. The brain generates an output which is our reaction which is sent to our muscles and either we stop or we pay more attention. It is very difficult to explain this in a small paragraph, but please feel free to email me. Thanks Jessica
good day, i need advice. if a employer employees you and in the contract state he provides occamadation and he does give you occomadation , what is the rules and regulations regarding space offered, how many toilets/showers per how many people, food facilaties, housekeeping of facilaties.... please send me info in the act regarding this or link on whAT TO SEARCH
Good day Simon Thank you very much for your query. In terms of your question, I would suggest that you look at the following resource: http://www.labour.gov.za/legislation. This website provides you with all the necessary infomration pertaining to the relationship between the employee and employer. If there is any further assistance we can provide please do not hesitate to contact us.
We run a web design business and are getting an increased number of our staff taking sick leave due to back, neck and eye related problems. Is it possible for you to suggest a company that can best advise us on optimal work station design and attempt to make or environment more comfortable?
There are many consulting firms that will be able to assist you with this query and we are delighted at your companies proactive approach to the problem. Please expect to receive a list of our members and associated firms in the next day or two by email.
Good day,Are there any specific ergonomic regulations / guidelines to make shift / night work more manageable?
Hi Jacques, I am not sure in which country you are in, but if you are in South Africa you can look at the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (http://www.labour.gov.za/legislation/acts/basic-conditions-of-employment/basic-conditions-of-employment-act-and-amendments) as well as the Health and Safety Executive's website (http://www.hse.gov.uk). Once I know which Country you are in, I can try and be of more help. Thanks Jessica

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