Research on the health risks of prolonged sitting at work have been prominent in the headlines recently, but nearly half of all workers worldwide have to stand for more than three quarters of their working day, say researchers who warn prolonged standing can result in fatigue, leg cramps, and back ache – problems that not only cause discomfort but also affect work performance and productivity. In the longer term, this type of sustained muscle fatigue can lead to more serious joint problems and back pain, they note in a report of a study published in Human Factors, the journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), working in a standing position on a regular basis can lead not only to fatigue and lower back pain but can also cause other health problems such as sore feet, swollen legs, varicose veins and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. These are common complaints among workers whose jobs require them to stand for long periods, such as assembly-line workers, sales people and machine operators.
In February 2015, Medical News Today reported another study led by the University of Sydney in Australia that found performing manual tasks involving awkward postures can increase the chance of low back pain by as much as eight times. Writing in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, the team also identifies some triggers that can be modified to prevent acute episodes of low back pain.
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