NIOSH (National Institute of Safety and Health) recently posted a blog regarding a sit/stand workstation pilot program they are undertaking “as part of a workplace health and wellbeing initiative to reduce sedentary work in our workplace.” In the May 13, 2010 MEMIC Safety Blog, MEMIC Chief Ergonomist Al Brown wrote guidelines addressing sit/stand workstations. These guidelines remain as pertinent today as they were in 2010.
The NIOSH pilot program is looking at employee satisfaction of the sit/stand workstation as well as the overall health benefits of sitting/standing throughout the day. NIOSH is aware that sit/stand stations are relatively new to the workplace and that there may be drawbacks as well as benefits. Some drawbacks may include too much standing or ergonomic issues that could arise as with any new workstation equipment.
There are a wide variety of sit/stand workstations on the market today. Some raise and lower at the touch of a button, some adjust with support brackets mounted in partition tracks, and others are desktop sit/stand units. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars for a sit/stand workstation. Several online sites including ErgoPrise and Superwarehouse sell units that attach to a regular workstation surface and provide adjustable height for the monitor(s), keyboard and mouse. It’s an economical way to determine if a sit/stand workstation will work for you.
Also consider the need for an appropriate stool or chair for a sit/stand workstation. A drafting stool/chair will provide periodic support for the buttocks and back, and relieve the feet when standing for longer periods of time. A regular office chair cannot be adjusted high enough for the standing position. A tall chair is required; one that has enough adjustment to maintain the users’ elbow in the same 90° angle whether sitting or standing. Websites for chairs include OfficeMax and Jaymil.
As far as NIOSH is concerned, the jury is still out until they complete their 12 month pilot program; so far there have been rave reviews from those involved.
Watch for Part II of this blog, “Transitioning to a Sit/Stand Workstation”. Additionally, for MEMIC policyholders, consider registering for our March 28 webinar “The Benefits of Sit and Stand Workstations” or our Office Ergonomic Workshops in Auburn and Bangor.