There is a wide range of seating types and designs on the market which is promoted as being ‘ergonomic’: The philosophy of ergonomics is to design the work environment to suit the worker. Seating is only one aspect to consider.
Your health and safety
The lower back is placed under far greater stress in the seated position than it is in standing. This is because the tendency for the natural inward curve of the back to flatten when poorly seated (fig 1). Not only does this contribute to back pain and early degeneration of the intervertebral discs, it also affects other parts of the body, eg. when the lumbar curve flattens, the shoulders tend to round and the chin pokes forward. This can contribute to neck and pain and headaches as well.
Choosing the most suitable chair for the worker and the job?
The following needs to be considered:
- the physical requirements of the use/s ie. height/s, size/s and any special needs;
- the design, type and features of the chair
- the purpose/s for which the chair is being used, ie. the task/s being undertaken;
- the workstation/s dimensions (particularly the working height) at which the chair is to be used
- the end user should be involved in the selection process and will need to be adequately instructed and trained in the use of the chair to ensure its ergonomic features are fully utilised
A good chair combined with an appropriate posture can significantly reduce these and other problems that often occur as a result of prolonged sitting