Standing work ergonomics
In theory, a standing job is slightly better in regards to the risk of back injuries. But that is just theory: practice can be very different. What do you need to look out for? Complete your tasks while standing straight – be careful when twisting your body. If you are hunched over – correct it. Try to keep symmetry. Instead of leaning, place your legs wider or bend them at the knees, at least from time to time. If you need to face one direction, check if you can switch position by standing on the other side. If yes, change periodically. Be careful when lifting heavy objects. Heavy is not just objects you can barely lift – even 2 lbs lifted in the improper manner can cause spine strain (see: “how to lift”)
Head: if it needs to be turned to one side such as when working on conveyor belts, or leaned up or down, try to often do the following guidelines:
1) Move your head a few times from side to side. Move it to the left and then the right shoulder
2) Try to pull your head as high up as possible
3) Lift your arms up and make a few circular rotations
Repeat all of these guidelines several times. After you master the technique it will only take a couple of seconds, and they can help you a lot. Lower back: standing in one position is not good, so similarly to moving your head, you need to move your hips:
1) Circle your buttocks once to the right, and once to the left
2) Lift one leg and make a couple of circles above the ground. Repeat with the other leg
3) Raise an arm over your head, and lean to one side as if trying to touch the ground. Repeat with the other arm Do not forget about your stomach! Do not let it loosen up completely – keep your abdominal muscles slightly tense and flex them from time to time. It avoids an increase of lumbar lordosis. Of course, a slight bend of the spine is in line with physiology, and correct.
The guidelines listed above are valuable but they will not make your back 100% healthy. Back and spine conditions are usually triggered by a number of factors. Nevertheless, good work ergonomics can at least eliminate one of them in some cases.