Ticket Offices are often a major part of a station regeneration programme and perform a key role at many stations. They are often the first point of contact with fare-paying customers and yet don’t perhaps get the attention that they deserve in the early planning stages
The Ticket Office counter is a very complex workstation at which the ticket seller may spend extended periods undertaking tasks involving working with computers and other ticketing equipment and dealing with customers, answering their queries as well as issuing tickets. Due to the quantity and position of equipment, ticket sellers adopt a variety of postures, which inevitably include extensive bending and twisting of their backs.
The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Regulations:1992 were implemented to ensure that workplaces and work tasks using visual display terminals (VDTs) were well designed ‘applying to staff that habitually use VDTs for a significant part of their normal work’. Design guidance is provided in the form of BS EN 9241-5: Ergonomic Requirements for Office Work with Visual Display Terminals (VDTs)
– Part 5: Workstation Layout and Postural Requirements
, although there doesn’t seem to be much awareness nor importance given to this standard. It provides reference material for sitting and standing postures working with VDTs. However, there could be a debate as to whether Ticket Office staff should be rated as DSE users as their work tasks are variable and not permanently focused on screen usage. So perhaps there should be less attention to BN EN9241-5.
To achieve a comfortable posture the design of counters needs to provide for appropriate leg room, provide adequate space to organise equipment on the top, and ensure work surfaces are not too deep to discourage overreaching. And yet we may be concentrating much more on trying to fulfil the Equality Act (2010) requirements, the DfT’s and BS 8300:2009 code of practice, whilst tending to under-investigate and address the needs of the ticket seller (and reference to BS EN 9241-5 and BS EN 527-1: 2011). In particular, if the ticket sellers have to adopt sitting postures, the requirements for both often conflict and result in unhealthy postures which, in the long, run are likely to affect the health of ticket sellers adversely. Due to the fact that the ticket seller has to be in visual contact with both the customer and the computer screen, ticket sellers are at risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as neck and shoulder problems.
Applying a human and task-centred approach from the outset of any project can help improve project efficiency and delivery saving valuable time, resources and ultimately, money. Underpinning this is the importance of user comfort, health and safety.
Putting the human factor at the centre of the design process for any project involving people, products and processes will provide superior results and successful project
outcomes every time. Focus on the detail at the beginning of the process will mean that the detail will be right at the end. But unfortunately this is not always the case and often compromises are made based on cost, ergonomic performance and material specification. There is a lot to consider. We often hear it said: ‘we didn’t realise how much was involved’ and the ticket counter component is often signed-off before it has been designed. Ticket Office counters are complex workstations and need to be considered with a wider perspective between:
- Integration of people, task and equipment
- Design process and the benefits of 3D modelling
- Ergonomics and a task-centred approach
- Application of the Ticket Office as a workplace environment, creating a
- Solution specific for Ticket Offices.
This is the IDEAS
A truly ergonomic approach will be the human and task-centred one and the solution
proposed will be based on the optimisation and prioritisation of the needs of all the users and tasks. We should be able to arrive at a generic specification for the design of Ticket Offices.
IDEAS is working closely with the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) to this effect and would welcome collaborative working opportunities with TOCs and other interested parties in such developments.
For further information, please contact Keith Lovelace at:
Tel: 01844 216 896