Reasonable adjustments are not just for workers returning to work from a period of absence from illness or injury, they are for all workers.
Workplaces have a legal responsibly under Equal Opportunity Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments to work for workers with:
physical, psychological or neurological disease or disorder
illness, whether temporary or permanent
injury, including work-related injuries.
Workplace reasonable adjustments are changes to the work environment or conditions that allow people to work safely and productively.
Making changes is beneficial for both the workm8te and the workplace, as they can:
prevent health conditions and injuries from worsening,
improve and maintain a safe and positive culture, and
assist in recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce
Don’t know where to start?
Remember, it is not a one-size fits all approach.
What works for one worker may not for another – even if their issue is the same. Before making adjustments, you must understand the demands of the worker’s role, including their physical and health demands. Focus on what works needs to be accomplished rather than how.
Adjustments should be tailored to meet the individual worker’s needs and circumstances and should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure the worker remains safe and effective at work.
Reasonable adjustments may include changes to work hours, additional rest breaks, job rotation, new equipment or PPE, technological assistance or training, and education to address attitudes and culture in the workplace. Take a look at some examples below.
Changes may be temporary or long term and should be tailored to the individual.
Use the following as a guide to talk through what changes might be needed for your worker to perform at their best.
Guide to making reasonable adjustments at work
As a safe and effective leader take action early to prevent injury, and support your workm8tes to come back to work after an injury, by making reasonable adjustments to how work is done.
Here are some examples of reasonable adjustments
Remember, it is not a one-size fits all approach, and what works for one worker may not for another – even if their issue is the same.
Flexible hours and location
Part-time work or split shifts
Shift scheduling changes (for example no nights or early mornings)
More frequent breaks
Support a graduated return to work if the worker has been on sick leave
If a worker has been absent for a period, make sure they do not return to a back-log of work
Environmental adjustments: noise, light, airflow, vibration, temperature
Reduce workload or modify tasks
Vary tasks to avoid repetitive actions
Allow for a self-paced workload
Establish goals, prompts, reminders and checklists to assist workers with time-management and staying on top of their workload so they can achieve what they have to do
Schedule highly structured days, and avoid last minute requests and changes for workers who need structure
Modify instructions, reference materials or the way feedback is given
Allow extra time to learn tasks
Provide a reader or interpreter
Provide additional training or mentoring
Provide additional supervision or support
Make changes to supervision arrangements
Modify performance-related pay arrangements
Adjust redundancy selection criteria to avoid disadvantaging workers who have had to take additional sick leave
Reallocate work within the team while capitalising on each worker's strengths
Allow private phone calls throughout the day
Allow time off during working hours for necessary appointments
Accessible parking spaces
Appropriate height for lockers, workstations and equipment for those that cannot easily access items close to the ground or at a height
Extra, modified or specialised equipment, tools, workstation, chair or fixtures
Adjustments to work vehicles (for example, hand controls)
Adaptive equipment in the workplace (for example, braille device, lifting equipment)
Communication devices (for example, software, PDAs, voice recorders, smartphones, tablets and laptops)
Moving furniture, widening doorways or installing ramps so workers with mobility aids can get around comfortably and safely
Visit the WorkWell Toolkit for more information about workplace’s legal obligations for return to work.
Want to know more about good job design in manufacturing?
Take a look at the guide we've made for you, and take our online assessment to get a tailored action plan and create no stress, safe and rewarding jobs for your workm8tes.