A New Trend…Top University Advocates Sitting While Working | RefinerLink

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A New Trend…Top University Advocates Sitting While Working

By Allison Flice

Apr 22, 2012

New research has indicated that Sit-Stand workstations do not carry the benefits once believed. Should your oil company ergo group continue to advocate this equipment?                     


Many oil companies have transitioned employee workstations to Sit-Stand desks to improve office ergonomics over the last few years.  The justification lies in improved health and increased life expectancy.  However, a recent study from the Cornell Ergo department suggests that standing while performing desk work may not be ideal.


This new study counter-acts the mainstream movement pushing office workers to stand more while working.  What we’ve learned over the years is that sitting for too long is definitely bad for you.


  • Sitting 6+ hours a day increases mortality rate by 40% within 15 years
  • Obese people sit 2.5 more hours a day than non-obese people
  • People with sitting jobs are more than 2x as likely of developing heart disease than those with standing jobs
  • While exercising is directionally beneficial, it does not materially alter the statistics above



Although numerous studies warn against sitting for long durations of time, the Cornell information points out the cons of standing while working. 


  • Standing for long periods of time increase the risk of carotid atherosclerosis by 9-fold
  • Risk of varicose veins increases
  • Standing decreases the performance of many motor skills as compared to sitting
  • Users of Sit-Stand workstations compromise body posture since desks do not accommodate neck, body, and wrist positions equally for sitting and standing.




Given that we find danger zones for both extremes of sitting and standing, where does this leave us?  As bluntly stated by the CU Ergo team, “Sit to do computer work”, and take frequent breaks (every 20-30 mins) to get blood circulating.  Vigorous exercise isn’t always necessary, but it is important to build a variety of movement into the normal workday.


So before your Safety, Health, and Environment department suggests a spending spree to upgrade everyone’s workstation to a Sit-Stand desk, take a moment to determine if this cost makes sense.  Having a healthy employee workforce is absolutely important, but recent research seems to indicate that there are more cost effective means of achieving this success.   Oil Refinery Blog

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