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Workstation risks not yet reflected in comp pricing

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Workers compensation insurers are taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to pricing the growing active workstation trend into their policies, said Mark Thompson, head of product for Chicago-based online small-business insurance agency Insureon.

“Since the trend is fairly recent, there just haven’t been very many claims filed due to accidents while working on a treadmill,” Mr. Thompson said. “There is definitely an understanding that many offices that were considered very low risks for workers compensation could be changing as more folks are working differently, and they are monitoring claim activity.”

Mr. Thompson said health insurers are showing greater enthusiasm for the active workstation trend, although he said the true impact on health insurance costs will be determined over several years. “Standup desks and treadmill desks are addressing some of the negative health effects of sitting for long periods of time,” he said.

Standing desks could positively impact workers comp because they are sometimes offered as a disability accommodation and can prevent future workers comp claims in some cases, especially for back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome, said Komal Jain, an employment and civil business litigation attorney who founded San Diego-based standing desk maker Ergopose.

“Improved posture is a recommended way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, and a standing desk can factor into that prevention equation by disrupting detrimental static posture,” Ms. Jain said.