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Evidence of Health Risks Associated with Prolonged Standing at Work and Intervention Effectiveness

Waters, Thomas R. PhD1; Dick, Robert B. PhD1

Rehabilitation Nursing Journal: May 2015 - Volume 40 - Issue 3 - p 148–165
doi: 10.1002/rnj.166
Current Issues: CE ARTICLES
Continuing Education

Purpose: Prolonged standing at work has been shown to be associated with a number of potentially serious health outcomes, such as lower back and leg pain, cardiovascular problems, fatigue, discomfort, and pregnancy-related health outcomes. Recent studies have been conducted examining the relationship between these health outcomes and the amount of time spent standing while on the job. The purpose of this article was to provide a review of the health risks and interventions for workers and employers that are involved in occupations requiring prolonged standing. A brief review of recommendations by governmental and professional organizations for hours of prolonged standing is also included.

Findings: Based on our review of the literature, there seems to be ample evidence showing that prolonged standing at work leads to adverse health outcomes. Review of the literature also supports the conclusion that certain interventions are effective in reducing the hazards associated with prolonged standing. Suggested interventions include the use of floor mats, sit-stand workstations/chairs, shoes, shoe inserts and hosiery or stockings. Studies could be improved by using more precise definitions of prolonged standing (e.g., duration, movement restrictions, and type of work), better measurement of the health outcomes, and more rigorous study protocols.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance: Use of interventions and following suggested guidelines on hours of standing from governmental and professional organizations should reduce the health risks from prolonged standing.

1 National Institute For Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Accepted 6 April 2014


Robert B. Dick, PhD, Guest Researcher, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, MS-C24, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998.


The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

© 2015 Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.
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