Rescinded [2009-09-17] - TBITS 13: A Guideline on Office Ergonomics - Implementation Criteria

TBITS 13: A Guideline on Office Ergonomics - Implementation Criteria
Date modified: 2003-12-16

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1. Reference

1.1 Name

  • A Guideline on office ergonomics

1.2 Identifier

  • TBITS-13

1.3 Category

  • Guideline

1.4 Effective date

  • January 1, 1991

1.5 Approving authority

  • Treasury Board of Canada

1.6 Maintenance agency

  • Information Technology Management
  • Treasury Board Secretariat

1.7 Cross index

  • CAN/CSA-Z412-M89, A Guideline on Office Ergonomics

1.8 Related documents

  • ISO 6385, Ergonomic Principles in the Design of Work Systems

2. Purpose

The overall purpose of this guideline is to outline the major principles of ergonomic design that should be considered in an office environment where information technology is used, and to thereby assist federal departments and agencies in adapting their office environments to the increased utilization of information technology. Departments are encouraged to use this guideline whenever practicable.

3. Application

This guideline is applicable to design of office environments and the acquisition of office equipment that commence after the effective date of this guideline and that are directly related to the use of information technology, particularly computers.

This guideline has no retroactive application. In particular, this guideline in no way requires any alteration or refitting of existing or already planned (by the effective date) office environments, including office furnishings and equipment.

This guideline should at no time be interpreted as having any binding effect on the general responsibilities of the employer, including his responsibilities for personnel management.

4. Qualifications

Ergonomics, or human factors engineering, is a relatively new field of study which examines the interaction of humans with their environment, with particular attention to the objects they use in their work. It attempts to establish design criteria that will improve this interaction.

However, it is recognized that changes in the design of existing environments and work objects must usually be made in a gradual manner through the acquisition of new items as the old ones wear out.

It is rarely the case that the existing environments and work objects are dangerous or not functional - it is merely that there are now some new alternatives that are better. As with most acquisition decisions, it is a cost/benefit tradeoff.

Therefore, it is recommended that departments and agencies use this guideline in evaluating the acquisition of new space, furnishings and equipment that are required in the normal course of business. While almost any office environment or piece of office equipment can be improved, most existing offices and office equipment are acceptable for the uses they are being put to and should continue to be used throughout their normal life cycles.

The costs of acquiring new office space, furnishings and equipment will continue to be the responsibility of individual departments, as will decisions on the prioritization of funds for such acquisition as compared with other expenditures. This guidelines does not change the existing acquisition process in any way B it merely provides departments and agencies with additional information to take into account in formulating acquisition decisions.

Special consideration should be given to employees with special needs or who work in abnormal circumstances.

5. Implementation

The effective date of this guideline is January 1, 1991.

6. Specifications

This guideline adopts the Canadian Standards Association document CAN/CSA-Z412-M89, A Guideline on office Ergonomics.

7. Working group on ergonomics

Hicks, Ed TBS (Chairperson)
Armstrong, Tony CCA
Bhatia, Rita PWC
Brashares, Del DND
Charet, Michel PIPS
Cheshire, Ingrid NTA
Covatta, Len RCMP
Dion, Jean-Guy PCO
Dowler, Christina EAIT
Dubois, Michel CUPTE
Dudley, Howard ISTC
Eddy, Jim TBS
Flinn, Doris AGR
Fredette, John TBS
Hajela, Raju DND
Hall, Louise PSAC
Khabra, Narindar RC-CE
Lahey, Maureen NTA
Lunau, Carol NLC
Meek, Larry DND
Messier, Pierre CEIC
Rutkus, Monique TBS
Shaw, Michael RC-T
Snel, Sandi RCMP
Walsh, Sylvia AGR

8. Where to obtain copies

Copies of the technical specification may be obtained as follows:

A Guideline on Office Ergonomics
Canadian Standards Association
178 Rexdale Boulevard
Rexdale, Ontario
M9W 1R3

Tel: (416) 747-4000
Fax: (416) 747-2475

ISO 6385,
Ergonomic Principles in the Design of  Work Systems

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