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Are We in a 'Stand Up' Revolution?
Standing desks are being hailed as an ergonomically-friendly alternative to the traditional office desk. However, many people view them as something recently introduced. That is not the case. The first standing desks were found in some UK school classrooms as far back as 1899. Teachers believed they improved school hygiene and that students paid more attention when standing.
If you are one of the millions of people today that prefer to use standing desks at work, here is something you need to know:
Studies have found that prolonged standing can create musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) affecting the legs, knees, lower back, as well as damage joints, cause foot pain, and serious circulatory problems.
This is especially important for employers to realize, because if more workers indicate they prefer to stand while they work, employers will need to take steps to help prevent these potential standing health problems from developing.
Fortunately, they do have options. Many of these MSD-related ailments can be alleviated through the use of anti-fatigue mats. Some forms of anti-fatigue matting has been around for decades, however it was the development of Zedlan™, patented by Crown Matting Technologies, that took anti-fatigue matting to an entirely new level.
Zedlan is a vinyl foam material that helps improve the performance of anti-fatigue mats and reduce the potential health risks of prolonged standing at work. It is engineered to provide both a cushion and a bounce when standing.
This combination of cushion and bounce helps increase body movement, disperses the worker’s weight more evenly over the surface, and helps improve blood flow and circulation, all helping to reduce injury and fatigue and improve worker productivity.
To illustrate how beneficial these mats can be, a study was conducted by the Center for Ergonomics at the University of Michigan about 10 years ago. In that study, carried out at a major automobile factory, 14 factory workers were selected and asked to perform their duties standing on different types of floor surfaces and conditions - from concrete to an anti-fatigue matting system.
The results: The workers who stood on the hard concrete floors during their work shift reported significant levels of fatigue and discomfort in the legs, back and throughout the body. This was enough to potentially impact worker productivity and production. On the other hand, those workers who stood on the anti-fatigue mats reported 50 percent less fatigue and discomfort, minimizing or eliminating these problems.
More Ways Employers Can Protect Their Standing Workers
In addition to the installation of anti-fatigue matting systems, employers need to take the following precautions to help protect the health of their standing staff:
· Limit continuous standing to no more than four hours per day
· Encourage workers to alternate between sitting and standing positions
· When standing, encourage workers to move around a bit
· If pain develops while standing, especially lower ligament pain, workers should sit down and report the problem to their employer.
And one more thing. When using a standing desk, the table height should be at or below the height of the elbow. Too high or too low can cause back problems. Further, keep the head straight, about 20 to 25 inches from the screen. Looking down or up at the screen for prolonged periods of time can cause neck strain.
The Crown Matting Technology blog is where cleaning professionals and building managers find expert, practical advice on the many features and benefits of high-quality, purchased floor mats and how they can help keep your facility cleaner, safer, healthier, and looking its best. For more information, contact us at 800-MAT-LINE (628-5463).