have jobs with varying tasks that allow them to walk and stand
throughout their day likely do not require a sit-stand workstation.
WHAT DOES THE CSA OFFICE ERGONOMICS
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) recently released
Z412-17 Office Ergonomics – An Application Standard for
Workplace Ergonomics. This was the first major overhaul to the
Office Ergonomics standard since 2000. Employers should be
familiar with what this Standard says to ensure employees are set
up and working in ways to reduce their risk of musculoskeletal dis-orders.
In terms of sitting versus standing at work, this Standard
clearly reinforces the need for postural variety throughout the day
and seating that allows for changes in posture. Standing and semi-standing
are included as recommended postures and the Standard
warns against the dangers of both prolonged sitting or standing in
WHAT TYPE OF SIT-STAND WORKSTATION
SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Once the decision has been made to purchase a sit-stand worksta-tion,
employers ask questions about how to select the right model.
As with most things in life, one size does not fit all. Selecting the
right style and model of a sit-stand workstation will depend on
the employee’s stature and the type of work that they do. Be sure
to measure the employee’s seated and standing elbow height to
ensure that the selected model’s keyboard platform/location will
adjust to fit the employee’s size. For some desk mounted units, you
will need to know the size, number and style of monitors (and/or
laptop) to ensure the correct mounting hardware is available for
the screens. If employees use a telephone or review paper docu-ments
regularly, ensure the unit selected will accommodate these
tasks. Ask product suppliers if they can provide a demo unit.
Research suggests that there is some novelty to a sit-stand desk
and that some employees may decide they prefer to sit after a trial.
Remember that for most employees, sit-stand desks are a “nice
to have” and not a “need to have.” There are many other ways to
incorporate more movement into our days without buying sit-stand
desks for everyone. Consider the following:
■■ Use the dynamic tilt function of the chair.
■■ Take telephone calls standing when simultaneous computer
work is not required.
■■ Walk to talk to a colleague rather than sending an email.
■■ Use a standing height counter or desk and have standing meetings.
■■ Take a couple of minutes to stretch for every 30 minutes of
Based on this information, everyone should all be getting up
and moving throughout the day. How are you going to incorporate
movement into your workday? n
Marnie Downey R.Kin., M.Sc., is a Certified Canadian Professional
Ergonomist (CCPE) and the president of ERGO Inc.
Here are some additional ergonomic updates outlined
in the newest Office Ergonomic Standard:
■■ Office ergonomics is recommended as part of a
holistic Occupational Health and Safety System.
■■ Keyboards without number pads or left hand-mousing
for individuals who mouse with their right hands
■■ Highlights the importance of not only considering
the physical hazards in your workplace, but also the
psychosocial hazards that can impact employee
mental health and wellness.
■■ Highlights the need for employees to be trained on
the use of their equipment, as well as potential health
risks associated with improper set-up. Staff should
know how to use and adjust their chairs properly.
■■ Recommends an external keyboard and mouse for
any extended use of a laptop. A laptop should only be
used as a laptop when on the go, not while at a desk.
■■ The most surprising guidelines relate to the use of
mobile devices. The Standard recommends less
than 10 minutes of continuous use of a mobile phone
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health & wellness
36 ❚ SEPTEMBER 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL