Body Posture

Last Updated: August 28, 2020

Definition - What does Body Posture mean?

Body posture refers to the positioning of a person's body. Different positions are defined by different names, all of which are different body postures. These identified postures are used in ergonomics and for defining the demands of jobs and other activities. For instances, some jobs may require a standing posture, others sitting.

Body postures are defined by identifying the part of the body being positioned and its positioning. For example, straight, twisted, and stooped all define different back postures. When defining arm postures, terms such as below shoulder or overhead are used. Leg postural terms include sitting, standing, crawling, or walking.

Tasks that require an individual to assume an awkward posture can result in early fatigue. Over time, maintaining poor body posture can cause musculoskeletal disorders such as nerve impingement or carpel tunnel syndrome.

WorkplaceTesting explains Body Posture

When creating a physical demands analysis (PAD) for a particular job, each body posture essential to the performance of the job must be identified. Using this information, an employer can identify those employees who are physically able to perform the job's tasks and make appropriate job assignments. For instance, a job that required a standing posture might be inappropriate for an employee who was physically limited to sedentary work. A task that required reaching above the shoulder should be identified so that proper precautions can be taken to prevent shoulder injuries.

Alternatively, information regarding the postures required for the job may be used to determine if reasonable accommodations or ergonomic improvements may be made. If the job can be modified so that standing is not essential to its performance, then an employee with physical restrictions could qualify for the job.

Further, body posture is an important consideration in job design. When evaluating the ergonomics of a work station or job process, body posture should be carefully evaluated. Tasks, equipment, and work flow should all be designed to allow for flexibility in body postures and to avoid awkward postures. Uncomfortable body positioning should be minimized in all work design. Incorporating neutral body postures into a job's design helps employees work more productively and avoid injuries.

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