In healthcare, cashier jobs, assembly line work, custodial tasks, warehousing and other occupations, workers have to stand or walk through most of their shift.
WHAT’S THE DANGER
Workers who stand all day risk back and neck problems, difficulties with their joints, and varicose veins. They may also be prone to repetitive strain injuries and muscle strains caused by bending, twisting or stretching.
A worker whose job requires standing while sanitizing medical equipment has in recent years gained weight. The excess weight has increased her risk of joint injuries and other damage when she works so many hours in a standing position.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Modify the workstation if possible, with a work bench which can be raised or lowered depending on the task, or a stool to allow you to rest occasionally.A raised footrest accommodates one foot at a time, giving your back a break by changing your position. A high work surface is good for precision work, lower for light work and lowest for heavy work. Arrange lighting so you don’t have to lean over the work.
Padded flooring or mats may lessen impact on feet and legs, but too much cushioning can cause fatigue.
Don’t wear shoes that alter the shape of your foot, such as by squeezing your toes together. Your shoe should fit snugly around your heel. Laces can provide a better fit than other types of fasteners. Make sure there is adequate arch support. A low heel may be more comfortable than no heel.
For hard floors, wear soles made of shock-absorbing material. Footwear must also be appropriate to protect you from other hazards, with non-slip soles to prevent slipping or safety toes to protect your foot from falling objects.
Maintain a healthy weight by eating a nutritious, low-fat diet. Get enough sleep so your body has time to repair damaged tissues each day.
Alcohol and nicotine decrease your ability to handle workplace stresses and strains. Avoid them. Exercise regularly to maintain strength and flexibility.
Stand up straight without tensing your back. Keep your knees flexed when standing or bending. When you turn, move your feet rather than twisting your body.
FINAL WORD When you have a stand-up job, be aware of how you stand and move. Pay attention to stiff, sore muscles and change your position to relieve the strain. Rearrange your work area, if possible, so you can work in several comfortable positions. These steps may help prevent injury – it stands to reason!