Occupational Health and Safety in the Millinery Studio

Ergonomics in Millinery

Julia Watson MErg, GDipOHS, BN Principal Inspector – Ergonomics Central and North Queensland region Workplace Health and Safety Queensland Office of Industrial Relations

Julia presented at a member meeting on June 6th view her the slides from her presentation
Occupational Health and Safety in the Millinery Studio MAA

Working at a work table, on a sewing machine or on a computer in awkward positions or for long periods can cause pain, discomfort and injury, which are typically sprains and strains in the neck, back, shoulders, wrists and hands.

In order to minimise these risks, it is important to have a good workstation design, layout and setup as well as having a variety of tasks and opportunities to move around throughout the day. Some general tips can include:

If using a computer position your keyboard directly in front of you.  Push the keyboard back so that your forearms are supported on the front part of the desk when keying, which will provide you with forearm support and allows your shoulders and neck to be relax

  • Position your arm close to your side when using the mouse, so you are not laterally extending your shoulder which may cause discomfort and pain.
  • Keep all frequently used items within easy reach to eliminate the need for forward stretching and reaching.
  • Adjust the chair to suit you, including the lumbar support and backrest and the seat height and tilt.
  • Sit closely to the desk (move fixed armrests if they stop you from doing this) this will eliminate forward leaning.
  • If using a laptop they are designed for short term or mobile use.  When using a laptop for long periods, use separate full sized keyboard, mouse and monitor

Sedentary Workplace – Effects of prolonged sitting on health

New research now links prolonged sitting with premature mortality, heart disease and diabetes.  The potential adverse health risk of sedentary time needs to be considered separately to the lack of physical activity outside work hours.  This follows recent evidence that (as a population health risk) reducing total time spent sitting maybe at least as important as increasing participation in physical activity.  A person may meet the minimum recommendations for physical activity by doing regular structured physical activity (such as a brisk walk or cycling for at least 30 minutes at 5 sessions per week) but typically sit for prolonged periods of the day – still placing the individual at risk.


  • Use a height adjustable desk so you can work either sitting or standing
  • Vary your work tasks throughout the day so that you change your posture and use different muscles.
  • Stand during phone calls
  • Take regular short breaks – some people have downloaded apps or alarms on phones at frequent intervals to get them moving
  • Position printers, scanners, waste bins etc, away from workspace so you need to walk to them.