Workers Health & Safety Centre

Office Work Environment module shift focus to light noise and ergonomics

Office Work Environment module shift focus to light noise and ergonomics
The Office Work Environment training program is one of the modules in the Office and Professional Sector Stream. This sector stream meets the requirements for Certification Part II Training by, among other things, addressing hazards common to the sector.
Changes to Version 2.0 reflect feedback received from instructors and participants after a pilot of the program. Other changes reflect the fact that this module is now used exclusively with the office stream and its focus is on hazards associated with workstation set-up and lighting, noise and safety. So for example, indoor air quality, stress and violence, are no longer included in this module as they are covered by other modules in the stream. As such, this module has four learning objectives compared to nine in the old version. Also, delivery time is now two hours, as opposed to three for version 1.0.
As well this module contains no core elements, given it is the last module in the Office Stream and it cannot stand as a single module.

Changes to the Participant’s Manual

Overall changes to the participant’s manual improve the layout to align it with the format of other Certification modules. Detailed changes are as follows:
  • The section on “Workstation Design” is rewritten and reorganized to tighten the content, thus allowing adequate time to focus on key issues. The discussion now focuses on how to set up a workstation so workers can adopt and maintain a neutral posture.
  • There are now two new sections addressing hazards associated with portable computers and telephone work.
  • The section previously entitled, “The Overall Work Environment” is reorganized and is now entitled, “Lighting, Noise and Safety Hazards.”
  • Edits to the legislation section remove information addressed elsewhere in the office stream. For example, laws governing indoor air quality are covered under the module of the same name. This section now focuses on, “Laws, Guidelines and Standards,” specific to the module.

Changes to Worksheets and Resources Sheets

Version 2.0 adds or removes worksheets and resource sheets, where necessary, to align with the module’s new focus and shorter time frame.
  • The module has two new worksheets. One is a buzz group exercise covering lighting, noise and safety hazards. The other is a brief verbal review quiz in which the whole group participates. The quiz serves as reminder of key points participants should take back to the workplace in order to implement changes.
  • Resource sheets have been reordered and include a new one entitled, “Short-cut Keys to Minimize Mouse Usage.”

Changes to the Instructor’s Manual

  • The Instructor Notes no longer contain the opening discussion about the myths of office work safety, the hazards of technological change and common MSDs, again, because this is the last module in the stream and these concepts are covered elsewhere.
  • Instead of a worksheet, the instructor now uses an active lecture with slides to lead a discussion on workstation design and set-up to support neutral posture. The instructor also uses an active lecture to address the main points about chairs, computer mice and work organization.
  • The instructor asks for volunteers to read the second resource sheet, which explains the sequence to follow when adjusting a workstation. If an adjustable chair is available, the instructor asks for another volunteer to demonstrate the adjustments, while the first volunteer reads the instructions.