Workstation Setup

Prolonged work at a computer can strain your arms, neck, hands and back and in most cases, injuries occur because of a poorly setup workstation and poor posture.

Setting up your workstation correctly is the first step in preventing overuse injuries. Below are the steps that should be taken to ensure safe computer use. This also applies if you are working from home.

Workstation Assessment Procedure 
  1. The individual completes the online ergonomic training which teaches you how to adjust your own workstation (new staff are automatically enrolled, otherwise register via myUNSW).
  2. The individual adjusts their own workstation (in the office and at home) by following the HS114 Workstation Checklist
  3. If the individual has specific concerns then the Health and Safety Unit can carry out a workstation assessment. (Specific advice for health problems cannot be provided).
  4. The Health and Safety Unit have a stock of some ergonomic equipment that people can trial before buying specialist equipment. The H&S Safety Unit can make recommendations for special chairs/ergonomic equipment. Any items identified are purchased by the individual’s work unit and must be approved by the supervisor/head of unit before the purchase is made.
  5. If an individual has a medical condition which may have been attributed to their workstation, record this as an injury in the online hazard reporting system in myUNSW

The Health and Safety Coordinator for Ergonomics, Andrea Dlouhy, is on Maternity (from May 2016) therefore we advise units to use an external provider for specialist ergonomic assessment services.

ProRehab Solutions is recommended as they have very experienced Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and/or Exercise Physiologists. Each consultant has a minimum of 10 years of experience. The assessment will follow the UNSW Health and Safety checklist format and any recommendations will be listed in the report. The report will be submitted within 5 days of the completion of the assessment. To book in a Workplace Ergonomic Assessment please email    

Package A: Is based on an individual basic assessment. Each assessment is charged at $350+GST and includes;

  • The Ergonomic Assessment of the employee’s work station and environment
  • Checklist of the assessment and any specific recommendations
  • Discussion with the appropriate staff regarding any recommendations
  • Travel to and from either the Kensington or Paddington campus

Package B: This consists of more than one assessment being undertaken at the same visit (i.e. 5 -10 assessments in one day). This service is charged at $350+GST for the first Assessment (Including travel) and $150+GST for each assessment that follows during the same trip and includes all of the same services as above.

If ProRehab are not able to conduct the workplace ergonomic assessment, then Interact Injury Management are also recommended. They will carry out individual Ergonomic Assessment & Functional Education. This service is charged at $198+ GST and Interact Injury Management also covers Canberra Campus. The service includes:

  • Provision of handwritten checklist by therapist
  • Individual Ergonomic Assessment Report
  • Reports will include quotation for equipment (if recommended)

To book in a Workplace Ergonomic Assessment with Interact Injury Management please email

Workers with disabilities or special needs
If an individual has a disability defined by Job Access, then Job Access can be contacted to conduct a free workplace assessment. They can also provide funding toward any adjustments needed (e.g. new chair/desk). Generally this is for a temporary or permanent disability that affects your everyday work activities and has lasted or is likely to last 2 years.

If following a workstation assessment it’s determined that the reasonable adjustments required are costly, UNSW has a Reasonable Adjustment Fund. A work unit can claim for costs of items necessary for the individual. This covers temporary as wells as long-term disabilities. The costs are spread between the individual’s unit budget and the central funds, depending on the cost of the item. Costs of building modifications e.g. ramps, remain the responsibility of FM.

Rest Breaks


Laptops were designed to use for short periods of time. If you are using a laptop for long periods it is a good idea to:-
  • Place your laptop on an adjustable stand, so you can view the screen at eye level
  • Attach an external keyboard and mouse

Ergonomic equipment

There is a wide variety of alternative ergonomically-designed equipment on the market. This includes upright mouse, trackball mouse, mini keyboards, contoured keyboards, reading stands and more. The following company offers free trials of their ergonomic equipment: You should discuss with your Health and Safety Co-ordinator if you are planning on purchasing such items.

Sit-to-Stand Workstations

There are a number of sit to stand solutions available:

  1. Sit-to-stand desk
    1. This is the preferred option as everyone on the desk moves up and down with the user and it can be adjusted for use by multiple people of various heights.
    2. Sit-to-stand accessory
      1. Varidesk: This can be placed directly onto the desk without any specialist installation required, it can be easily moved to different desks.
      2. Ergotron: This has to be installed by a specialised but there are several different styles to suit a range of different desks.

See our Sit-to-Stand page for more information

Setting up your workstation (video best opened in Chrome or Firefox)