The Government Cares About How Much You Stand, Reach and Lift at Work

The next time you stand up and stretch at work, know this: Big Brother is watching you, and measuring your efforts.

More specifically, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is keeping track of how much we stand, walk, stretch, lift and otherwise work while we’re at work.

All of this data gets crunched for the Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) which is an establishment-based survey and provides information about the physical demands, mental requirements, education and training, and environmental conditions of jobs in the U.S. economy.

No Couch Potato

The survey finds that we spent 61.0 percent of the workday standing or walking in jobs in 2016.

But that’s not where it ends: physical demands refer to the effort generally required to successfully perform work-related tasks, and include activities such as standing, lifting, pushing and pulling, and hearing and vision requirements.

The average maximum weight lifted or carried as required in all civilian (private industry and state and local government) jobs was about 36 pounds.

Thirty-seven percent of jobs allowed workers the flexibility to choose alternating between sitting and standing or walking.

Overhead reaching was required for 65.9 percent of jobs, while climbing ramps or stairs was required for 29.0 percent of jobs.

Time spent on the job performing physical activities is published in hours and as a percentage of the day. The latter is standardized to account for the work schedule. Workers, on average, spent about 3 hours (or 39.0 percent of the workday) sitting and spent almost four and a half hours (or 61.0 percent of the workday) standing or walking per workday.

About 20.3 percent of jobs exposed workers to moving mechanical parts throughout the workday. Personal protective equipment was used by 10.7 percent of workers to mitigate the risk of serious workplace injuries or illnesses associated with moving mechanical parts.

Cubicle Potato

Of course, some of us just sit at our desks all day, only getting up long enough to grab a cup of coffee. This isn’t a good or a bad thing, but it is a thing. One wonders if the government is watching.

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