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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

Office challenge laid down

Office challenge laid down
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Australian academics have strongly challenged the widespread assumption that office work is safe and have used the language of occupational risk analysis to underline the seriousness of their case.

Writing in the 4 August edition of the Medical Journal of Australia, lead author Professor Leon Straker from Curtin University says many office-based workplaces do not provide the safe system of work required by health and safety legislation because they require people to spend long uninterrupted periods sitting down - a known risk to health.

Evidence is now overwhelming, say the authors, of the serious health risks posed by prolonged sitting, which include premature death, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colon, ovarian and endometrial cancers.

The systems of work in contemporary offices promote high exposure to the risk of excessive sitting, which is known to cause significant harm - however, say the authors, there are ways available to minimise the risk and their cost is proportionate to the risk.

"Occupational exposure can account for around half of total weekly sedentary time, and thus fractional risk attribution implies occupational responsibility for around half of the harm."

They suggest changes to work equipment and systems to limit sedentary time, particularly sitting for 30 minutes or more at a time. Sit-stand workstations, stand-up meetings, and changes to how work is organised are all cost-effective solutions.

Doctors also have a role, say the authors. Any patient with an existing condition which could be exacerbated by prolonged sitting should receive a movement-based prescription which is communicated to their employer.

Read the full story here.


People Mentioned:
Leon Straker
Organisations Mentioned:
Curtin University
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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