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The ups and downs of workplace injury prevention with SSDs

You can see them in Jonesboro offices, as well as in offices in Atlanta, the state of Georgia and across the U.S.: SSDs. OK, what’s an SSD? Sit-stand desks. Workers sit for awhile and then stand. Or they stand for awhile and then sit. The idea is that because “sitting is the new smoking,” the desks help employees be less sedentary and more mobile even as they are required by their duties to be at their desks.

Those who tout SSDs say the up-down desks help workers stay fit and reduce the risks of workplace injuries and illnesses exacerbated by a lack of fitness and mobility. A recent survey of research on SSDs sought to find out if the studies support those claims.

An assistant professor of bioengineering headed the team that investigated the claims about SSDs, saying her background in occupational injury prevention inspired her to try to figure out how the benefits of sit-stand desks can be maximized in the workplace.

The review published in Applied Ergonomics looked at SSDs in several areas: work performance, behavior, discomfort, posture and physiological and psychological impacts.

The professor said her “study found only minimal impacts on any of those areas.” She added that the biggest difference was in “changes in behavior and discomfort."

While SSDs do get users to sit less and stand more, the most significant impact appears to be that users are simply more comfortable at work. Users found that the benefits promised by sellers of the devices were overstated – SSDs are not a miracle cure for obesity, for instance.

In fact, the recent study found “no significant results with regards to obesity.”

There are certainly health benefits to be gained from standing rather than sitting all day, but they’re not as significant as SSD users have been led to believe. Still, researchers say more needs to be learned about the devices and how they might be improved so that benefits are maximized.

Most employees who suffer workplace injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits designed to help them recover and return to full health. Contact an attorney experienced in Georgia workers’ comp appeals if you have been denied earned, deserved benefits.

 

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