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Safety and health at work is everyone’s concern. It’s good for you. It’s good for business.
Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2020-22
LIGHTEN THE LOAD Kick-off Webinar
On the move – MSDs and avoiding prolonged static sitting at work
2
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Prolonged sitting at work
Why prolonged sitting is a problem
Why our next posture is the best posture
How can we get moving at work
3
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
We sit a lot at work
28% of workers sit at work almost all the time*
Sources:
*European Working Conditions Survey 2015
**ESENER survey 2019
60% of workplaces report sitting as a risk factor**
4
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Workers at risk
Offices, call centers, cashiers, assembly
lines, drivers…
Workers lacking control over how they
work
Workers with a chronic MSD
Women sit more than men at work*
*Eurofound, Sixth European Working Conditions Survey
5
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Health Effects
HEALTH EFFECTS
Pain
Type 2
diabetes
Cardiovascular
diseases
Certain types
of cancer
Premature
death
6
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Move when sitting
Experts reject the notion of a best sitting posture to be
maintained at all times
Bodies are designed for movement
Our next posture is the best posture
7
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Regulations
Employers must:
Avoid and assess risks
Adapt work to the individual
Plan display screen work to allow breaks or changes of activity
8
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Guidance
Maximum of 2 hours sitting at a time
Get up every 20-30 minutes
Maximum of 5 hours sitting at work each day
9
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Workplace strategy for reducing sitting
Based on risk assessment, covering:
Good prevention practice
Specific measures to promote movement
Leadership
Culture that promotes active ways of
working
Worker involvement
Health promotion
10
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Moving at work - ideas for employers
Motivate
Stretching in meetings
Printers, waste containers in common areas
Standing areas
Sit-stand desks
Seating which allows posture change
Fitness equipment
Cordless phones…
11
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Moving at work – tips for individuals
Go to your colleague’s office
Stand up to use phone
Mobile phone out of reach
Take the stairs
Stand for brief meetings
Microbreaks
Park your car further away
‘Screen break’ app or timer
Sit-stand desk? Change posture
frequently…
12
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Dynamic sitting
Rock your pelvis back
Shift your weight
Stretch your neck
Leaning back in seat
Take micro breaks to stretch
13
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Some additional teleworking tips
Wear comfortable clothing
Take regular breaks
Walk during a conference call
Schedule stretching breaks during online meetings
Set a time for exercise
Don’t always sit at your desk
14
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Driving for work
Employers:
Allow time for breaks
Vehicles with adjustable seating
Vibration reduction standards
Drivers:
Adjust the seat
Avoid leaning into the wheel
Change posture
Get out of the vehicle to eat or phone
15
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Don’t substitute standing for prolonged sitting
The opposite of sitting is moving
Prolonged standing can cause health
problems and is tiring
16
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Get schools moving
Adjustable ergonomic school furniture
Enable children to change posture when
sitting
Promote MSD health
Involve children in creating an active
school
Prevent risks to staff
17
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Napo gets active
Napo - Take a break
https://www.napofilm.net/en/learning-with-
napo/napo-in-the-workplace/take-break
Napo - Keep moving at work
https://www.napofilm.net/en/learning-with-
napo/napo-in-the-workplace/keep-moving-
work
 Napo image rights and permissions https://www.napofilm.net/en/using-
napo/rights-and-permissions
18
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Discussion questions
1. What could your workplace do to encourage you to sit less
and move more?
2. What could you do to sit less and introduce more movement
and exercise into your working day?
19
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Conclusions
Sit
…because our next posture is the
best posture
Stand
Move…
20
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Further information
OSHwiki articles on prolonged sitting, prolonged standing,
promoting movement at work:
•https://oshwiki.eu/wiki/Musculoskeletal_disorders_and_prolonged_s
tatic_sitting
•https://oshwiki.eu/wiki/Musculoskeletal_disorders_and_prolonged_s
tatic_standing
•https://oshwiki.eu/wiki/Promoting_moving_and_exercise_at_work_t
o_avoid_prolonged_standing_and_sitting
 EU-OSHA website – MSDs theme :
https://osha.europa.eu/en/themes/musculoskeletal-disorders
 Practical tools and guidance: https://healthy-
workplaces.eu/en/tools-and-publications/practical-tools
21
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Join us and lighten the load!
Find out more on the campaign website:
healthy-workplaces.eu
Subscribe to our campaign newsletter:
https://healthy-workplaces.eu/en/healthy-workplaces-newsletter
Keep up to date with activities and events through social media:
#EUhealthyworkplaces

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On the move — MSDs and avoiding prolonged static sitting at work

Editor's Notes

  1. Presenters may like to start the presentation with some quick stretching. For example: Firstly, please can we all stand up Breathing in, raise your shoulders up towards your ears, breathe out and move your shoulders back, around and down Again Breathing in, raise your shoulders up towards your ears, breathe out and move your shoulders back, around and down Now change direction Breathing in, raise your shoulders up towards your ears, breathing out bring your shoulders forward and down Once more Breathing in, raise your shoulders up towards your ears, breathing out bring your shoulders forward and down That is known as a microbreak. You may now sit down – but please feel free to get up and move or stretch during this session
  2. A lot of sitting is done at work – For example: 28% of EU workers report sitting at work almost all the time and a further 30% report sitting a quarter to three quarters of the time Sitting was reported as a risk factor by 60% of workplaces in EU-OSHA’s enterprise survey – ESENER. This made it the 3rd most reported risk factor Sitting at work is likely to increase. Physical work is being replaced with sitting work and computers limit the need to get up from our workstations
  3. Many different workers are exposed to prolonged sitting. Examples include: Office workers, call centers and service desks Cashiers and supermarket check out workers Micro assembly line workers Car, bus and truck drivers, crane operators etc. Vehicle vibration and driving postures increase the risk Casino workers, control room workers, the list goes on… Workers who lack control over how they work, and when they can take breaks to get up and move around may find themselves sitting for long periods of time Workers with an existing chronic condition such as rheumatic diseases should avoid prolonged sitting without a break. Static postures can trigger the pain associated with their condition Women sit more than men at work* *Eurofound, Sixth European Working Conditions Survey
  4. Prolonged sitting has been described as the new smoking of our age. The long list of health problems linked to prolonged sitting include: Low back aches and pain Neck and shoulder complaints Type-II diabetes and cardiovascular ill health Indications of an increased risk of some cancers, including breast and colon cancer Premature death These health effects all occur because our bodies are designed for movement. Movement is good for our muscles and the spine. Movement is needed to get blood pumping and oxygen circulating around our bodies. Prolonged sitting is an issue for sustainable working across the work-life course, and for keeping us healthy into retirement. So this is an issue for sustainable working across the work-life course, and to keep healthy into retirement. Also prolonged sitting can be a particular problem for workers who develop rheumatic conditions, as fixed postures can provoke the symptoms of pain in joints associated with the conditions.
  5. Even with an ergonomic workstation, sitting at your desk 40 hours a week until retirement is very problematic. Experts also increasingly reject the notion of a best sitting posture to be maintained at all times, because our bodies are designed for movement. Instead they advocate dynamic sitting. The advantages of alternating postures and more dynamic work are clear: It prevents shortening of the thigh muscles – a known problem for habitual sitters It eases the return of blood to the heart and stimulates circulation It keeps intervertebral discs in a better shape It can reduce vein weaknesses and varicose veins Movement is less tiring than holding a fixed position.
  6. The requirements of the European OSH framework directive to assess risks and adapt work to workers are relevant to avoiding and improving sitting work, as is the requirement for the provision of periodic breaks or changes of activity requirement in the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) directive.
  7. Guidance on prolonged sitting suggests the following: Always get up after 2 hours of sitting for at least 10 minutes Avoid long periods of sitting – aim to get up every 20-30 minutes Short, frequent microbreaks are better than longer breaks taken occasionally Do not exceed a maximum of 5 hours sitting at work each day *Based on guidance from The Netherlands and Australia
  8. Action to reduce prolonged sitting should follow a strategic approach based on risk assessment. The approach should cover work organisation, tasks and the ergonomics of the workstation (e.g. adjustable workstations and seating, ergonomic mouse) This should be combined with: Specific measures to promote movement and ways of working more dynamically And a health promotion plan To be effective, this requires: Leadership and commitment A workplace culture that encourages and facilitates more dynamic ways of working and actively encourages workers to take frequent movement breaks etc. Worker involvement, which is crucial for determining practical measures and gaining the commitment of workers. Worker participation should cover tasks and workstation ergonomics as well as identifying ways to promote movement and activity. They need to be able to raise problems and make suggestions. A survey or group discussion are ways to engage workers in how to promote more movement at work. Health promotion, such as back care education, is part of an integrated approach, but will be ineffective alone.
  9. Ideally workers need a balance between sitting, standing and moving around. Many ways to make work more dynamic and encourage movement are simple and low cost. Some ideas include: Motivate workers to take breaks, move stretch Introduce stretching into meetings and encourage workers to get up and move, stretch if needed during meetings Shorten meetings! Can meeting rooms, cafeterias etc. have a standing area? Put printers, waste containers in common areas only Provide sit-stand desks Provide good seating which allows posture change Provide fitness equipment in the restroom – low cost items such as a Pilates ball, mat or elastic exercise bands Provide cordless phones so workers can stand and walk to use the phone ....
  10. Tips for individuals to become more active at work include: Going to speak to a colleague instead of sending an email or phoning Standing up to make or take phone calls Keeping your mobile phone out of reach so you are forced to get up to use it Taking the stairs – start by getting out of the lift one floor early Can brief meetings be done standing up? Using breaks to move – incorporate microbreaks into how you work, to briefly stretch, get up Parking your car a distance from the office entrance Using ‘screen breaks’ app or timer on your phone to prompt you to take a break to move If you have a sit-stand desk, make sure you do use it to change posture frequently
  11. Dynamic sitting means changing your posture frequently while sitting, for example, Rock your pelvis back and forward Shift your weight sometimes more to the right buttock and sometimes more to the left buttock Push your rib cage forward and backward or to the side Every now and again stretch your neck by pushing your head back When sitting forward, support yourself on the desk Lean back in a relaxed fashion against the back rest in the rear sitting position Take microbreaks to stretch Stretch your hands, wrists and fingers Roll your shoulders and rotate your neck Try to gyrate your hips Taking a pause to breath in and out deeply is good for the spine and muscles Stretch your arms and shoulders back to breathe in Curl forward to breathe out Feel free to wiggle around while you are listening to the rest of the presentation
  12. Teleworking has become particularly relevant during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some workers can find themselves working longer hours without breaks when teleworking from home. However, it can also provide additional opportunities for movement. Some tips for teleworkers include: Wear comfortable clothing you can move and stretch easily in Take regular breaks to get out of your chair, move around and stretch Take the rubbish out Do a small household task Stretch while you are waiting for the kettle to boil or coffee maker to finish Take a quick walk round the garden If you have a cordless microphone and you can turn your camera off during a conference call, you can walk around and stretch Suggest scheduling stretching breaks at the start and during online meetings Treat exercise with the same priority as a work phone call and set time for it Are there different ways you could work for short periods, other than sitting at your desk the whole time? If workers are teleworking continuously they need an ergonomic workstation.
  13. Employers: Plan journey times to allow time for breaks and a stretch on long journeys Purchase vehicles with adjustable seating features Ensure vehicles meet vibration reduction standards Drivers: Adjust your seating Avoid leaning into the wheel while driving. Move around, change postures as much as you can while driving Get out of the vehicle to eat lunch, phone or do paper work
  14. The opposite of sitting is not standing, it is moving Prolonged standing on the spot can cause lower limb and back problems and cardiovascular health problems and it is tiring. In fact prolonged constrained standing is even worse for health than prolonged sitting. So prolonged sitting should not be substituted by constrained standing. Therefore standing still on the same spot should also be limited: Avoid unnecessary standing Design workstations to allow sitting Allow workers to take breaks from standing when they need to While a work station that allows both sitting and standing can be really helpful, workers still need breaks from both postures to move around
  15. Ironically, we tell kids to sit still and not fidget … while we tell adults to move! To get schools moving: Schools need adjustable ergonomic furniture Children need to be able to change posture when sitting Schools need to promote musculoskeletal health Again it is important to involve children in how their school can help them be more active And don’t forget the prevention of occupational safety and health risks to teachers for an integrated approach.
  16. The presenter may wish to show one of these clips. Alternatively, ‘Napo in the workplace’ provides discussion activities to use with these clips – available at the same links.
  17. This is a simple discussion activity that the presenter may like to use. If the group is large, the presenter can ask them to work with their neighbour to discuss the questions for 5 minutes. Then ask the group if anyone wants to comment or share what they have been discussing.
  18. Workers should be able to adopt a variety of body positions: preferably varying between sitting, standing and moving about When standing or sitting change posture as much as possible …. Because our next posture is the best posture* *BeUpstanding, Australia
  19. © European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 2020 Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged. For any use or reproduction of photos or other material that is not under the copyright of EU-OSHA, permission must be sought directly from the copyright holders.