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Prolonged Standing at Work

Categories: Ergonomics, Health care, Service Sector, Wholesale and Retail Trade

 

standingThe National Retail Federation forecasts that retailers and merchants will hire between 730,000 and 790,000 seasonal workers this holiday season.[i] Many of these workers, such as sales associates and cashiers, have little, if any, opportunity to sit during their work shift. Increasingly, workers across a variety of occupations are required to stand for long periods of time without being able to walk or sit during their work shift. For example, in operating rooms, nurses and doctors must stand for many hours during surgical procedures. In retail, sales associates spend a considerable amount of their work time standing without the ability to sit down.  Female associates who wear high heel shoes are at increased risk of developing musculoskeletal pain conditions.[ii] [iii]

NIOSH conducted a review of the literature to examine the risks of prolonged standing in the workplace. “Evidence of Health Risks Associated with Prolonged Standing at Work and Intervention Effectiveness” was published in Rehabilitation Nursing earlier in the year.[iv]  Based on the research reviewed, there appears to be ample evidence that prolonged standing in the work place leads to a number of negative health outcomes. The studies consistently reported increased reports of low back pain, physical fatigue, muscle pain, leg swelling, tiredness, and body part discomfort due to prolonged standing. There is significant evidence that prolonged standing at work (primarily in one place) increases risk of low back pain, cardiovascular problems, and pregnancy outcomes.

Thanksgiving Ergonomics: Reducing material handling injuries with engineering controls

Categories: Engineering Control, Ergonomics, Observances, Wholesale and Retail Trade

 

grocery3If you haven’t purchased your 20 pound Thanksgiving turkey or your 10 pound bag of potatoes rest assured employees at your local grocery stores are busy restocking the shelves each day with your favorite Thanksgiving foods. It‘s hard enough lifting those items into your cart but what about the workers who haul those tons of turkeys, pounds of potatoes, and stock the shelves with green beans, cranberries, and stuffing? Nearly 2.5 million cashiers and stocking clerks are at risk for musculoskeletal injuries that stem from overexertion in grocery stores. According to Liberty Mutual Research Institute, overexertion is the leading cause of workplace injuries and account for $14.2 billion in direct costs. In the grocery sector, overexertion injuries that lead to soft tissue injuries, A.K.A. musculoskeletal disorders, account for 41% of the injuries and lost work in grocery stores[1].

A Health and Safety Evaluation at an Airline Catering Facility

Categories: Ergonomics, Exposure, Stress

 

The airline industry predicts that more than 24 million people will fly during the Thanksgiving holiday this year. If you are one of those passengers, chances are that you’ll have a snack or a soda on your way to your destination. Before reaching your seat, those snacks, beverages, and meals are prepared, assembled, and delivered by a catering company. In a recent Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) report, we described our evaluation of a catering facility in Michigan. We conducted the evaluation at the request of a union representing airline catering employees. The union was concerned about risks for musculoskeletal disorders, working in extreme hot and cold temperatures, job stress, and injuries in the facility’s kitchen and loading docks.

Accurate and Efficient Assessments of Working Posture

Categories: Ergonomics

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Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) account for roughly one-third of workplace illness and injuries in the United States. According to Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, overexertion injuries, which include those from work-related lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing, cost U.S. businesses $14.2 billion in direct costs in 2013. To address the burden of preventable musculoskeletal and overexertion injuries, practitioners in the fields of Occupational Safety, Industrial Hygiene and Ergonomics need workplace assessment methods that are both accurate (valid) and time efficient.

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