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Evidence to design ‘just right’ work using active workstations is currently limited
  1. Leon Straker
  1. School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Prof. Leon Straker; l.straker{at}

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It is worthwhile to consider the review by Dupont et al 1 in the historical context of work design and occupational medicine. In the mid-20th century, the focus of work physical demand research was on occupations with high intensity physical work demands, such as the high energy expenditure and high biomechanical loads in fishing, forestry and lifting occupations.2 Later, the focus shifted to high repetition loads and prolonged standing in food processing and manufacturing occupations.3 By the 1980s, the focus was on computer-based work with high repetition, low intensity static loading and prolonged sitting.4 The evidence that accumulated over these decades of research supported the importance of work design that considered the amount and nature of physical loading, with both the intensity and time pattern of loading shown to be critical. Part of the reason for this shift in research focus was the changing nature of work in industrially developed countries, from high intensity to prolonged duration low intensity physical loads, due in part to work design changes prompted by occupational health concerns and also due to increased productivity with mechanisation and automation. …

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  • Contributors LS conceived and wrote the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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