Ergonomics & Accessibility Audits
Ergonomics & Accessibility Audits
Improve productivity, improve your health.
Employers constantly strive to improve the productivity of their employees.  With the ever-increasing prevalence of work related injuries leading to absenteeism, as well as the rising employment of people with disabilities, ergonomics and accessibility audits in the work place is the answer to the problem.

Simply owning the latest ergonomic office accessories is only half the battle. Preventing work related injuries is all about using the correct ergonomic equipment, specific to the employee and the work requirements, in the correct way. At Functionwise, we are expertly trained ergonomists with the medical knowledge and workplace experience to improve any workstation using scientific and objective assessments.

Employment of people with disabilities is evident in any company. The Act in terms of Facilities to be provided for people with disability, is clear in terms of the essential requirement of the National Building Regulations, but how does it apply to different people with different disabilities? As occupational therapists, we are experts in applying the specifics of the act to employees with specific disabilities.

“Ergonomics is essentially fitting the work place to the worker. The better the fit, the higher the level of safety and worker efficiency.”
– Zelmarie de Visser, Occupational Therapist

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Ergonomics

Ergonomics is, simply put, the way we as humans interact with the environment around us and the impact these environments have on our well-being.  Whether you work at an office desk all day, or perform manual work in a workshop, proper ergonomics is the key to a healthy working environment.  We are passionate about ergonomics and can help you prevent injuries in the work place.

We make use of scientific and objective assessments to assess:

  • Workplace injuries and how best to prevent them.
  • Assessing the interaction of the human employee with the work environment, indicating areas for concern for developing work related injuries.
  • Management of and relief from pre-existing problems using ergonomic equipment fit to the employee.

 

We make use of a scientific tool designed by ErgoMax to assess the human – environment interface and identify areas of concern.  Using this tool, together with our medical and work place knowledge, we are able to make scientifically sound conclusions and recommendations for each individual employee, whether this is preventative or as part of treatment for existing conditions. By doing this, we are able to assist the employer with concerns of absenteeism and decreased productivity as a result of work related injuries.

Accessibility Audit

What the Act Says in Terms of Facilities to be Provided for Disabled People (SANS 10400 Building Regulations)

The essential requirements of the National Building Regulations (in terms of facilities for disabled people or persons) are that:

  1. People with disabilities should be able to safely enter the building and be able to safely use all the facilities within it –specifically toilets.
  2. There must be a means of access that is suitable for people with disabilities to use. In addition, access must be available from various approaches of the building via the main entrance and any secondary entrances, and should lead to the ground floor.
  3. There must be a means of egress (a point of departure) that is suitable for people with disabilities to use in the event of any sort of emergency. This relates to any sort of emergency, but in addition, a further clause states that departure routes (or egress) must also be designed in accordance with Part T of the regulations, namely the section that relates to Fire Protection.
  4. Lifts in buildings must be able to serve the needs of disabled people. This includes ensuring that any commonly used “path of travel” MUST be free of any sort of obstacles that would limit, restrict or endanger people with disabilities who use that route. There must also be absolutely no obstacles that will prevent people with disabilities from accessing facilities within the building. The regulations refer specifically to people with impaired vision, but clearly they also relate to people in wheelchairs, or people who have trouble walking freely.
  5. Buildings that incorporate halls or auditoriums for public use are obliged to ensure that a reasonable percentage of space is available for people in wheelchairs or other “assistive devices”.

 

In addition to these clauses, the National Building Regulations also state that where there is parking available for more than 50 motor vehicles, there must be parking facilities that accommodate disabled persons. There is also an obligation to ensure that persons with disabilities are provided with a suitable means of access from the parking area to the ground floor – or storey – of the building.

As occupational therapists, we are skilled in assessing accessibility of buildings according to the requirements of the act and making recommendations specific to different disabilities.

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