Equipment such as adjustable chairs and ergonomic mouse pads can help prevent strain among workers sitting at a desk. But workers required to stand for long periods of time are subject to strain injuries that cannot be prevented with such equipment.
Standing on a regular basis can cause sore feet, leg swelling, varicose veins, lower back pain, and stiffness in the neck and shoulders, among other health problems, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety in Hamilton, Ontario. Standing workers have fewer body positions to choose from, which can contribute to health problems such as insufficient blood flow and pooling of blood in the legs and feet.
This risk can be reduced by proper workstation layout and job design. CCOHS recommends the following:
- Working tables and benches should be adjustable to varying heights.
- Consider built-in foot rails to allow the worker to shift body weight from one leg to the other.
- The workstation should allow enough room for the worker to move around and change body positions.
- Provide a seat so the worker can rest periodically or perform job tasks from a seated position, when possible.
- Organize the workstation so items required for common tasks are within easy reach.
- Workers should change working positions frequently, always facing the object of work and keeping it close to the body.
- Wear comfortable shoes with arch supports that do not change the shape of the foot. A shock-absorbing insole should be used when working on metal or cement floors.
- Avoid extreme bending, stretching and twisting. Avoid reaching behind or above the shoulder line.