Often we receive phone calls from clients who know they need an ergonomist to come in to look at an employee’s workstation because of issues involving discomfort or even a return to work after an injury. At this point, one of the consultants will try and determine exactly what the visit will entail based on answers to a few questions about the issue. Unfortunately, a client still isn’t always clear on what they need or are looking for – particularly when they are just calling to get a quote on what the cost would be to have an ergonomist come in. Hopefully the following will clear up what is involved in an ergonomic audit compared to an ergonomic assessment.

At the individual level, EWI Works offers an audit or full assessment, depending upon the complexity of the individual’s concern.  The Office Ergonomics Individual Audit is typically used in situations where an individual has access to the majority of equipment they require, but needs help to ensure it is set up correctly.  The person being assessed has questions on general setup, and may be experiencing low levels of discomfort that does not affect their overall function and ability to perform their work activities.  The time onsite is approximately 30 to 40 minutes.  The report format focuses on recommendations for both equipment and work practice changes.  Follow-up in the audit is conducted by telephone at no cost at three months.  If a follow-up is needed in person, it will be charged out at cost.

The Office Ergonomics Individual Assessment is considered a more thorough evaluation of the employee’s workstation and tasks. The assessment is typically recommended for complex return to work situations as well as situations where an employee is experiencing regular discomfort that requires medical intervention or affects his/her ability to perform the job effectively. The purpose of the assessment is to identify and understand potential causes of discomfort, recommend solutions and follow up with the organization to minimize on-going concerns. The report does not include medical information. Assessments are typically 60 minutes in length onsite.  A detailed report is sent out that outlines:  furniture, equipment and work practice changes that are recommended for implementation.  A follow up visit is included in the cost of an assessment conducted by an EWI Works consultant and is completed once changes have been implemented to ensure these changes are effective.  An assessment provided by an EWI Works consultant also includes access to our online office ergonomics course to help the employee understand some of the causes of discomfort and what they can do at work or at home to help reduce this discomfort through stretches, breaks or adjusting their workstation properly.

If you feel discomfort at work or if you have a staff member that is working with discomfort, give EWI Works a call at 780-436-0024. We would be more than happy to help you define what it is that you need and some of the options that are available. We also offer courses in both industrial and office ergonomics for organizations or public courses to define and understand the basics of ergonomics. The courses, taught by EWI Works’ CCPE certified ergonomists, are offered through the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education as well as the University of Calgary’s Continuing Education. Soon, EWI Works will be offering public courses in ergonomics on a periodic basis throughout the year based on interest and demand.