Standing Workstation Height for Manual Tasks

Workstation height for manual tasks is based on the type of task: 

Precision Tasks 

Delicate hand tasks typically requiring high visual demands:

  • Examples: writing, small parts assembly, inspection jobs
  • Set workstation height 5 – 10 cm above elbow height (wrist/forearm support required)
  • Recommended height adjustability range*: 102 – 132 cm

Light Tasks 

Hand and arm tasks involving moderate force and visual demands:

  • Examples: assembly jobs, mechanical jobs, small tool operation
  • Set workstation height 5 – 10 cm below elbow height
  • Recommended height adjustability range*: 87 – 117 cm

Heavy Tasks

Upper body (hand, arm & torso) tasks involving downward forces:

  • Examples: meat processing, installing parts, kneading dough,
    tool operation
  • Set workstation height 10 – 25 cm below elbow height
  • Recommended height adjustability range*: 72 – 112 cm


  • Optimal standing height = upright back posture with the arms close to the body*
  • Workstation height for performing tasks with the hands located near the work surface

*To accommodate 90% of the working population. Ranges are vertical measurements from the standing surface.
[Pheasant & Haslegrave (2006). Bodyspace: Anthropometry, Ergonomics and the Design of Work, Third Edition. Taylor and Francis.]

standing workstation height image
Table showing the impact of workstation height on posture when each type of task (precision, light, and heavy) is too low, optimal, or too high.

Tips for setting optimal workstation height:

  1. Understand the TASK requirements
  • Type of task/actions required
  • Size of the object/material
  • Tools and their handle orientations required to perform tasks
  1. Consider the individual factors of the WORKERS
  • Stature (height)
  • When multiple workers are involved, design to accommodate the majority of the population
  1. Fit the TASK to the WORKERS
  • Goal: All workers should be able to perform work in natural postures
  • Adjustability is key for accommodating workers of different statures
  • Allow foot clearance to stand close to the workstation
  • Use the appropriate flooring and footwear for standing work tasks
  1. Set up the workstation using devices and equipment that allow for height adjustment.


  • Sawhorses/blocking
  • Height adjustable cart or table
  • Platforms/scaffolding to raise standing surface (NOTE: Use appropriate controls to prevent slip/trip/fall hazards when standing on elevated surfaces)
Image showing different workstation height adjustability solutions: height adjustable sawhorses, scissor lift table, platform stacker, height adjustable workbench, and elevated platform.
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Standing Workstation Height for Manual Tasks (2 page PDF)