Ergonomic considerations

Work Station Set-up

  • Except in rare cases, ergonomic issues are not medical issues, but matters of comfort. There is currently no significant evidence to suggest that a standing desk is ergonomically any better than sitting at a well-organised workstation. MSD encourages you to set up your workstation in an ergonomically correct way.
  • Follow the UN Medical Services Guide to Configuring your Workstation for proper set-up.
  • If you cannot correct discomfort, check for services available at the duty station to help you.
  • At HQ, Medical Services evaluates workstations to improve comfort by recommending ergonomic corrections. 
  • If you need a specific ergonomic item, such as a particular chair, standing or sit-stand desk, footrest, or left handed mouse, contact your facilities management service or your HR or executive office.

Chairs

  • Chairs conform to ergonomic good practice to the extent possible at each location.
  • At HQ the chairs offered to staff are approved by Medical Services, and you may determine your preference for personal comfort.
  • At HQ chair selection and set-up is available through Facilities Management
  • At other duty stations, inquire with the administrative support services about the approved chairs.
  • It is just as important to stay active and take frequent breaks throughout the day to stand, stretch and move around.

MSD New York comprehensive ergonomics program

  • Monthly lunchtime information sessions for individuals (see our bulletin board for dates and timings)
  • Group lectures to offices or divisions at your workplace, using one of your workspaces as an example
  • In person visits from one of our nurses, who are trained in assessing and advising on ergonomic issues.
  • To request an individual visit or group information session at your office, contact msdnurses@un.org, using “Ergononomic consult request” as the message subject and explaining your situation, and the nursing staff will respond.

 Environmental health concerns

The Organisation has a duty to provide you with a safe workplace, and while some environmental issues are healthy or safety risks, many are not. In most cases these matters can be fixed – facilities management just needs to be made aware.

Common environmental concerns such as slippery surfaces, trip hazards, wiring, railings, smells, fumes, dust, too little light, temperature control or pests are addressed by Facilities Management (HQ) or the equivalent office in the duty station.

If you feel that an environmental matter affects your health in any way, then it is appropriate to contact your medical service.

  • In New York any staff member who believes their health is affected may come to MSD for review by contacting msdnurses@un.org or by making an appointment by contacting msdreception@un.org.  We will do an assessment, review advice from your treating physician, and if necessary conduct an on-site assessment. We work closely with FMS and where genuine health effects are present can usually assist with resolving matters quickly.
  • For other locations, contact your Human Resources Office or Medical Service directly for advice.

Medical Disclaimer