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Reduce workplace sitting trial project

For: Employers and managers Information seekers

This project aims to nationally trial an evidence-informed intervention to reduce workplace sitting.

Project update

The national launch of the BeUpstanding toolkit occurred in June 2019. The website and toolkit were enhanced in August 2020 and adapted to include a focus on reducing sitting while working from home.

The project adjusted to address working from home and during July and August uptake has been strong. The national implementation project has recruited approximately 50% of the worksites required.

Two teams within Comcare trialled the BeUpstanding toolkit to reduce workplace sitting. When the trial completed, there was 34 minutes a day less sitting time at work and a 10% decrease in the amount of risky, prolonged sitting in the group.

BeUpstanding is being promoted by Safe Work Australia during National Safe Work Month in October 2020.

Watch Dr Genevieve Healy on BeUpstanding at the Comcare Safe Work Month Leadership Forum on 1 October 2019. Dr Genevieve Healy highlighted the issues associated with prolonged sitting and strategies to encourage more movement in the workplace.

Video transcript of Dr Genevieve Healy on BeUpstanding

Project overview

Project details

Too much sitting (prolonged sedentary behaviour) has been identified as one of the behavioural risk factors for major cancers and other chronic health conditions.

The average desk-based worker sits for over three-quarters of their workday. Even if they exercise regularly, they are at risk if they spend most of the rest of their day sitting. See the evidence on the health consequences of long periods of sitting.

The BeUpstanding toolkit and program is designed to raise awareness and build a supportive culture to create a workplace where sitting less and moving more is the norm.

Research project title

The working title of this research project is ‘National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) partnership project: National implementation trial of evidence-informed workplace sitting reduction intervention’.

Project participants

Comcare is a project participant.

Project lead

  • University of Queensland

Other organisations involved

  • Baker IDI
  • Safe Work Australia
  • VicHealth
  • National Health Foundation WA
  • Office of Industrial Relations QLD
  • Curtin University
  • Deakin University.

Findings and reports


Why this research is important

This project is part of our Research Plan Towards 2022 and supports our purpose to enable healthy and safe workplaces.

Our workplaces are changing and this introduces new risks alongside opportunities for innovative ways to prevent harm and minimise the impact of injury and illness.

In 2017-18, Australia saw more than 100,000 serious claims for compensation, where an illness or injury required more than a week off from work. In 2012-13, the financial cost of injury and illness compensation was $61.8 billion.

This research is important because it helps us to prevent harm in our workplaces and learn new and improved ways to keep employees healthy and safe at work.

More information

For more information on this research project, email research@comcare.gov.au.

Page last reviewed: 19 May 2021
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Date printed 24 Sep 2021