Workplace design

What is a permanent workplace?

Permanent workplaces are found throughout ships.
  • chart tables on the bridge
  • areas for cleaning
  • machine parts in the engine room
  • preparation tables in the galley’s cold and hot food areas
  • cooking areas, areas for rinsing pans in the scullery
  • check-outs in shops and cafeterias
  • counters in perfume boutiques 
  • reception areas, exchange desks, office work
  • stations for ships’ administrative functions
 

How is a permanent workplace designed correctly?

 
In this section, you can read about issues to take into consideration in order to make a good workplace. The guidelines are mainly aimed at passenger ships, but the principles discussed can be applied in all permanent workplaces, irrespective of the vessel type.
  • The design of workplaces, equipment and technical equipment shall be adapted as far as possible to the persons applying them
  • Suitable and efficient equipment such as lifting devices and transportation means shall be available to the extent necessary
  • Unnecessary physical load and inappropriate postures and movements shall be avoided.
  • The load during work shall be reduced to the lowest level reasonably practicable, taking into account technical progress.
  • Stipulated limit values are kept.
This means that certain basic ergonomic requirements for equipment and the workplace itself must be met in order to avoid working for longer periods on your knees, with arms and shoulders raised, with back and neck bent etc., or to avoid repeating these postures and movements frequently.
 
Work distance and height
 
  • equipment at check-outs, in shops, and in the galley etc. must be arranged in such way that work can be performed close to the body
  • most of your work functions should be performed at a distance of not more than 25 cm from the front edge of the equipment. When designing a permanent workplace, a working distance of 40 cm at the most - measured from the front edge of the equipment - shall be observed as far as possible
  • when filling shelves with goods in kiosks and tax-free shops, the depth of the shelves and units should not exceed 50 cm, and the top of the highest shelf should not exceed 135 cm when filling it standing on the deck. When putting the goods in place, you should consider the best placement in relation to the weight and the number of articles sold. A lot of manual handling can be avoided if there is room for quarter euro-pallets to be
    put directly under the lowest shelf.  
  • The equipment and technical aids applied by you must be suitable to you and the work you are to perform. This can easily be attained by using work tables that can be adjusted up and down easily. 
  • In the vast majority of cases, work tasks consist of many part functions, meaning that flexible equipment normally is required. 
  • If a number of different people work at the same workplace regularly, or if changes of work tasks occur regularly, the equipment, tables, etc., must be easily adjustable. 
  • The Danish Maritime Authority recommends that a worktable has a height variation of 60 cm in an area from 60-120 cm if you are to work at it in sitting as well as in standing positions. 
  • Tables meant for use in a standing position shall be adjustable in heights from 85-120 cm and tables for sedentary work from 60-85 cm. It is the practice of the Danish Maritime Authority that at least 1 or 2 easily adjustable worktables should be available in the galley area of large passenger ships. However, the exact number of tables is closely connected
    to the number of employees and the type of work
 
Work chairs 
 
  • The equipment and technical aids applied by you must be suitable to you and the work you are to perform. This can easily be attained by using work tables that can be adjusted up and down easily. 
  • In the vast majority of cases, work tasks consist of many part functions, meaning that flexible equipment normally is required. 
  • If a number of different people work at the same workplace regularly, or if changes of work tasks occur regularly, the equipment, tables, etc., must be easily adjustable.
  • The Danish Maritime Authority recommends that a worktable has a height variation of 60 cm in an area from 60-120 cm if you are to work at it in sitting as well as in standing positions. 
  • Tables meant for use in a standing position shall be adjustable in heights from 85-120 cm and tables for sedentary work from 60-85 cm. It is the practice of the Danish Maritime Authority that at least 1 or 2 easily adjustable worktables should be available in the galley
    area of large passenger ships. However, the exact number of tables is closely connected to the number of employees and the type of work. 
 
On board ships more and more time is spent in a workstation with a screen. These workplaces must be defined as permanent if they are used more than two hours every day.
We recommend that a risk assessment should be made on the use of individual workstations. 
 
  • Are there multiple users?
  • Is the workstation used for more than 2 hours a day by individuals?
  • Do individuals users have special concerns, such as back/neck/should problems or the like? 

If the same workstation is used by several users with individuals spending more than two hours every day, the practice requires the desk with screens to be height adjustable but this is often the best solution if the working position needs to be varied. 

There is no requirement for desks to be electrically height adjustable for individual users but the workstation must be suitable for the user and the work concerned. Training must be provided in the appropriate use of the workstation, including variation in work. 
 
To avoid misunderstandings in your organisation, we recommend that the criteria for acquiring height adjustable desks should be clearly circulated in the organisation. We propose that they should be replaced over a period of time according to a risk assessment, need and opportunity. 
 

Senior Arbejdsmiljøkonsulent
Anne L. Ries
alr@seahealth.dk
+45 3311 1833
+45 2961 8860

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