Ergonomic Control Measures - Standing Work

portrait waitress and waiter in cafe

To reduce physical stress from prolonged standing on the job, ergonomic control measures should be implemented.

Standing work is common in many industries, including:

  • automobile assembly and repair;
  • construction;
  • delivery operations;
  • food processing;
  • inspection;
  • inventory;
  • large appliance assembly and repair;
  • machine operation;
  • material handling;
  • operations;
  • medical professions;
  • metalworking;
  • restaurant operations;
  • retail/wholesale;
  • shipping/receiving/packaging;
  • teaching/instruction; and
  • woodworking.

Although many jobs are performed with less exertion when the worker is standing, prolonged standing in one position can create physical stress. To eliminate, reduce or control adverse effects on standing workers, the following ergonomic control measures should be implemented:

  • Tasks should be designed to involve movement. Static tasks should be eliminated.
  • Work surface height should be adjustable. Height should be increased for writing and light assembly tasks and decreased for tasks requiring large downward, upward or lateral forces.
  • Work surface height should be between two to six inches below the level of the worker's elbow, when the arm is hanging in a relaxed position. If work surface height is not adjustable, it should be designed to accommodate taller workers. Shorter workers can stand on platforms.
  • Everything the worker needs to perform the task should be within easy reach (14 to 16 inches), arranged in a semicircle about the worker.
  • Adjustable footrests should be provided.
  • Tasks should allow the worker to move his/her head frequently.
  • Elbow and/or forearm supports should be provided for delicate work.
  • Tools, materials, etc. should be stored between four to six inches below worker's elbow height.
  • Pulling movements should be eliminated.
  • Pushing forces should be kept below 30 pounds for male workers and below 15 pounds for female workers.
  • Workstations should be provided with antifatigue mats.
  • If feasible, prop stools, which allow for semi-standing and seated positions, should be utilized to reduce the amount of standing.

For additional Loss Control guidance, please visit the Plan & Protect safety hub.