Workplace Ergonomics not enough to Prevent Health Issues

The thinking used to be that ergonomics, standing desks or ensuring that we sit up straight were going to keep us in good health even after spending many long hours at a desk in front of a computer.

Now researchers have discovered that as we spend increasingly longer hours at our desks the risk of heart disease and diabetes or ending up with an injury in the neck, shoulder, back or wrist are nowadays seen just as likely even if your work station ergonomics are impeccable.

Dr Griffiths from the faculty of health science at the University of Sydney conducted a survey of 1000 government workers and found that the percentage of workers reporting symptoms has not reduced even though the quality of ergonomics has risen.

The percentages from the survey were:

85% had neck pain

74% shoulder pain

70% lower back pain

Dr Griffiths said that one of the overarching issues is that most things can be accomplished sitting at a desk and this is leading to what researchers have dubbed “chair disease”.

Exercising a couple of times a week is not enough to reduce the damage and she sees that the ones that are affected the most are senior workers who tend to spend even longer hours at their desks.

Nicholas Gilson, a lecturer in physical activity and health at the University of Queensland has concluded that the way we operate in our workplaces needs to significantly change.

Some of the changes that have been suggested include:

When on the same floor see the person rather than send an email

Standing or walking meetings

Work systems with standing breaks

Having telephones at standing desks

OHS News

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