PEROSH recommendations for procedures to measure occupational physical activity and workload

The time engaged in sedentary behaviour at work is generally high in Europe, and is expected to increase in the future. This has resulted in considerable research and societal attention in how to prevent excessive sedentary behaviour at work over the last decade.

Optimal prevention requires appropriate measurement of the exposure (sedentary behaviour at work) in accordance with its definition. Sedentary behaviour is defined as: “any waking behaviour characterised by a low energy expenditure (≤1.5 METs) while in a sitting or reclining posture”, which requires measurements of both energy expenditure and sedentary postures. Practitioners and researchers are therefore recommended to use technical systems (wearables). A wide variety of the wearables have the potential to measure sedentary behaviour, but it is likely to leave practitioners and researchers wondering – “How can I choose the measurement system best-suited to my aim, preferences, funding, and skills?”

To help them, the PEROSH joint research project “PEROSH recommendations for procedures to measure occupational physical activity and workload” has published a research paper and a report providing a practical guidance on how to assess occupational sedentary behavior.

The overall aim has been to provide an overview of relevant technical systems and their general capabilities and gives examples of their appropriate use when assessing occupational sedentary behaviour. The report emphasizes various factors before choosing a wearable such as the target population, the need for accuracy, wearing comfort, budget available etc.

This PEROSH joint research project is currently working on a second report providing a practical guidance on how to assess work arm elevation at work.

Project members: NFA, IFA, INSHT, CIOP, INRS, STAMI, FIOH, INAIL, AUVA, HSL, TNO, University of Gävle and Karolinska Institute.

The work is financed by the participating institutions.

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