Standing for extended periods of time places static load on the back muscles, which can contribute to a back injury.
To minimize the risk of developing a injury in the back due to standing, follow these guidelines:
- Keep the torso upright with the natural curve of the spine in a comfortable position.
- Stand on an anti-fatigue mat for cushioning, not on hard floor surfaces. Footrests or foot bars can also be used to change positions.
- Adjust the work to the appropriate height and slope whenever possible. Generally, work should be done at approximately elbow height. The optimum work height for standing or sitting should also take into account the size of the object being worked on and the amount of force being applied. Significant downward forces, for example, are usually best applied when the surface is below elbow height.
- For light-duty tasks, set the work height so that the hands are positioned slightly (approximately 5 cm [2 inches]) below the elbow.
- For tasks that require lifting or downward forces, the work height should be lower.
- For tasks that have extensive vision requirements, the work height should be increased.
The height and position of the work and the worker can help avoid awkward postures:
- Locate objects within easy arm reach to minimize leaning forward and awkward reaching (e.g., reaching over your head or behind your back).
- Alternate between standing and sitting when possible. Use a sit-lean stand as an alternative to a chair stool.