prolonged standing at work

For most jobs, employees will be expected to stand for periods of time, whether this is for 30 minutes or 5 hours. Whilst breaks provide an opportunity to sit and have a break, prolonged standing at work can pose health risks. 


Injuries associated with prolonged standing at work 


Many of us are aware of the potential health risks that are involved with sitting at a desk for long periods of time. Not many of us are as aware of the health risks involved with standing for over 60% of a work day. 

Working in an upright position reduces the blood supply to the loaded muscles (in the legs down). It is this lack of blood flow that causes swelling, fatigue, and pain in and around the lower back and in the legs. 


Health risks and issues related to prolonged standing can include: 

  • Back pain 
  • Leg pain 
  • Fatigue 
  • Varicose veins 
  • Neck and shoulder pain 
  • Swollen feet and ankles 


How to tackle prolonged standing at work & reduce the risk for employees 




When standing, all of your weight goes through to your feet as they are the only part of your body that is in contact with the floor. Therefore it’s vital that your feet are sufficiently supported, and in the right position for your foot shape with the correct footwear. This includes wearing the right shoe size, ensuring your shoes provide arch support, and are cushioned to allow for prolonged standing. The pressure points for your individual feet should also be considered when choosing the right footwear for work.




With any sedentary job, regular breaks provide an opportunity to change the position of the body. For prolonged standing, this could involve sitting for your break, elevating your legs, going for a walk, and stretching. 




Following on from the point above, movement will help reduce the risks associated with prolonged standing at work. Getting outside and walking for part of your dinner break will get the legs moving, and increase the blood flow around your body. If you do have a job where you’re standing but can move around, this could help. Treadmill desks are the latest craze, as they allow you to complete light exercise whilst working. 




For many desk jobs, the norm is to sit down. But many have seen the benefits of having an adjustable height desk. Where the users can choose between sitting down or standing. This allows for the position of the user to be changed regularly, sitting when the feet become uncomfortable from standing, and standing when they feel slumped from sitting. 




Compression socks are commonly used on planes because of the air pressure, but they could also prove useful for those who stand at work for long periods. They can help increase blood flow and reduce swelling within your legs. With little movement, the socks help with the contraction and relaxation of the muscle without the legs which stimulate blood flow. 


Workstation assessments 


Many people think that workstation assessments are solely for those who sit at a desk all day. Whilst they can be for this purpose, they can also be very effective for those who stand to work. Ergonomics is about ensuring that the surrounding work environment fits the user, rather than the other way around. These assessments prove effective when looking to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries for employees. 


Contact Us 

Need more information on how to improve the health of your employees as they sit or stand for long periods of time? Please get in touch with our team of ergonomic experts. Visit our FAQs page, call us at 01260 277797, or email us at

Want to know more about the Occupational Health services we provide at Acorn, and how they could benefit your business and your employees? Please get in touch.