What is Ergonomics? ….the frustrating thing about ergonomics is two fold; 1. many companies think ergonomics is about “posture” and buying equipment which represents a very limited approach to ergonomics and 2. when people who are not qualified ergonomists such as patient practitioners including chiropractors, ot’s and PT’s or equipment and furniture sales people get involved with significant ergonomic design and ergonomic challenges this damages how companies view and understand ergonomics. This more often than not results in the application of the science and; the application of evidence not occurring in the workplace and managers deciding to no longer pursue ergonomics in the workplace. Reading about these challenges is an important reminder as to how qualified Ergonomic Professionals can and do contribute to major industrial, human factors, cognitive/behavioural and productivity challenges in the workplace today…
OPC’s ongoing AODA Seminars; OPC Inc will be running a 3 hour Seminar at the accessible Steelcase Toronto lecture room April 8th 2015. We will review important concepts about how the AODA legislation came about; how the AODA fits in with the Human Rights Code for Ontario; what your company must do to achieve compliance as well as a review of the real ROI which occurs when businesses not only comply but undertake best practices ahead of their competitors. Join Jane Sleeth, Kim Walker OBC expert and Interior Designer, and Jason Chiles IT/Technical expert in accessibility. To sign up for our early bird rate of $150.00 please contact Carla Mardonet AODA@optimalperformance.caCutting thru the marketing of Sit to Stand Workstations….. the use of sit to stand percentages of 80 Seated-20% Standing you recommended assumes that ALL employees have healthy cardiac muscles; do not have high blood pressure; have no history of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis): no history of or risk for varicose veins. Further, employees who are hypotensive (low blood pressure) tend to faint more readily when in a standing posture especially when the standing is static in nature, such as at a sit to stand workstation.
At OPC Inc. we do not represent lines of furniture, seating or equipment. Therefore we rely solely on the science of Ergonomics and Physiology to guide this whole discussion about Sit to Stand workstations. Employees with whom we work with who truly have a bone fide need to stand and sit (based on underlying and real medical issues) coupled with the physical demands of their job (and cognitive demands) are asked by our consultants to trial standing more often when performing tasks such as phone calls, reading documents, impromptu meetings in standing (this shortens the length of meetings as well); to commence using the stairs at work; and to start a walking exercise program at least 3 days per week during lunch. An employee who is truly motivated by their symptoms and job demands to move more will follow this advice. Then and only then would we recommend Sit to Stand workstations PROVIDED the employee will use changes of posture at least on a 30 min 30 min basis (average time given here as this formula is determined/calculated as part of the ergonomic assessment).
I hope the science of ergonomics (not sponsored by any furniture manufacturer or dealer) will prevail along with a more balanced understanding as to how standing can be just as much of an issue medically for people as static sitting. These ergonomic questions require more complex decision-making than relying on anecdotal discussions. We suggest companies consult with qualified and certified Ergonomic Consultants who can limit the liabilities that are about to occur with the use of Sit to Stand desks as the panacea for employee’s physical complaints.
Read more about this in optimalperformanceblog.com as these decisions can increase an organizations business risk related to detrimental health outcomes and employee relations. JESleeth, Taya McGillivary, Jacob Thadickal Sr Ergonomists OPC Inc.