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Archive for the ‘Seat Material’ Category

Aug-13-09

Ergonomic Office Chair

posted by Home & Office Furniture Desgin

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Tips for setting up your ergonomic workstation: Correct placement of you monitor and keyboard can reduce eye, arm, back, shoulder and neck fatigue. Improper posture caused by an inadequate chair or a chair that is improperly adjusted along with awkward hand and keyboard positions can result in early day fatigue. Long periods of repetitive work can lead to hand, neck, and back pain and ultimately injury. Ergonomics is the applied science focused on human use. Ergonomics provides an array of information critical to the design and proper use of office equipment, furniture and computer accessories.

Chair Position:

Adjust the height of your chair so your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Adjust the back support so your back is firmly supported and angled slightly backward while your feet are fully supported on the floor or a footrest.

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Keyboard Position:

The height for your keyboard and mouse, should be set so your hands, wrists and forearms are in a straight line and are level with your elbows when your arms are comfortably at your sides.

Monitor Position:

The top of the monitor screen should be even with your forehead and directly in front of you. A good rule of thumb is an arms length distance. Your eyes should look slightly dowward, approximately 15º to 30º.

If you use bifocals, lower the monitor below eye level and turn the screen upward, tilt the screen back 30º to 45º.

Remember that even if your workstation is set up properly, you can still experience muscle fatigue from being in the same position too long. Muscles are meant for movement not to hold static positions. It is important to periodically adjust your chair and change positions to help avoid fatigue. Be sure to stand and stretch your back and arms periodically.

Features of a quality ergonomic chair:

  • Steel frame construction is the foundation for the longest lasting and most durable chairs. Automotive inspired designs provide the best overall support and must be strong to pass government safety standards.

  • Firm backrest design with angle adjustment. Many chairs have backrests that “flop” around. The backrests based on automotive designs lock into position so the backrest and seat cushion become fixed. This provides solid back support.

  • Air lumbar adjustment. A triple chamber design is preferred. This design tends to be self-equalizing as it will spread the support and not feel like a ball pressing on your lower back.

  • Height and angle adjustable headrest. A good design allows you to kick-back and relax your neck periodically.

  • Adjustable armrests that can be lowered or flipped up out of the way. The best designs offer a solid feel when pressure is applied. Poorly designed armrests can feel “springy” or flop back and forth. Many persons use the armrests to help themselves out of the chair. Inferior designs can move unpredictably when pushing yourself out of the chair.

  • Seat height and tilt adjustable. Nearly all manufacturers offer adjustable seats today.

What is an ergonomic chair ?

Not everybody knows exactly what ergonomic means, but it’s getting to the point where everybody knows an “ergonomic chair” is better than just some plain old chair.

So, What Is an Ergonomic Chair?

Ergonomics is the study of equipment designed with humans in mind, meant to reduce operator fatigue and discomfort. Specifically, an ergonomic chair should be highly adjustable, including not just a knob for lowering and raising the chair but adjustability in the back tilt and the height of the arm rests. An ergonomic chair should also have a sturdy frame , a great deal of support, especially in the lumbar region, and padding that has some give and supports your body without losing shape. In conclusion an ergonomic chair is a chair that provides comfort to both the seat and back to the user.

An ergonomic office chair should help increase back and neck support to help improve posture and prevent slouching. Employees frequently experience back pain because they sit in their chairs for long periods of time. This increases stress in the spine, neck, arms, shoulders, and legs as well as in various muscles. A chair that isn’t ergonomically friendly can also aggravate existing conditions.

There are many types of ergonomic chairs available for use in the office. No one type is necessarily the best, but there are some things that are very important to look for in a good ergonomic office chair. These things will allow the individual user to make the chair work well for his or her specific needs.

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What features should a good ergonomic office chair possess?

Seat Height

Seat height should be easily adjustable. A pneumatic adjustment lever is the easiest way to do this. This allows the user to have his or her feet flat on the floor, with thighs horizontal and arms even with the height of the desk.

Seat width and depth

A chair seat should feel comfortable when you initially sit down, and should remain that way after you’ve been seated for a significant period of time. The seat should have enough width and depth to support any user comfortably. The depth (from front to back of the seat) needs to be enough so that the user can sit with his or her back against the backrest of the ergonomic office chair while leaving approximately 2 to 4 inches between the back of the knees and the seat of the chair. The forward or backward tilt of the seat should be adjustable.

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Seat material.

The material on the seat and back of the ergonomic office chair should have enough padding to be comfortable to sit on for extended periods of time. Having a cloth fabric that breathes is preferable to a harder surface. Skip the leather. A breathable cloth fabric will be better than any harder material. Make sure that there is enough padding for it to be comfortable for long periods of time. Cloth upholstery isn’t as easy to clean as vinyl, and cloth covered foam has the potential to harbor dust mites. However, vinyl–type or leather coverings don’t breathe as easily as cloth, which may cause discomfort after prolonged sitting. Fabric is the key to a chair’s durability. Look for permeable material that breathes, like the mesh Pellicle material in Herman Miller’s Aeron chair, which conforms to the body. If you would like to find more about seating materials you can read more here.

Lumbar support.

 Lower back support in an ergonomic office chair is very important. The lumbar spine has an inward curve, and sitting for long periods without support for this curve tends to lead to slouching (which flattens the natural curve) and strains the structures in the lower spine. An ergonomic chair should have a lumbar adjustment (both height and depth) so each user can get the proper fit to support the inward curve of the lower back.

Backrest.

The backrest of an ergonomic office chair should be 12 to 19 inches wide. If the backrest is separate from the seat, it should be adjustable in height and angle. It should be able to support the natural curve of the spine, again with special attention paid to proper support of the lumbar region. If the office chair has the seat and backrest together as one piece, the backrest should be adjustable in forward and back angles, with a locking mechanism to secure it from going too far backward once the user has determined the appropriate angle.

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Armrests.

Adjustable armrests are best since they allow user’s arms to rest and relax at the right height. Depending on your work style and requirements, you may not need armrests on your office chair, since they may get in your way as you move around. They should allow the user’s arms to rest comfortably and shoulders to be relaxed. The elbows and lower arms should rest lightly, and the forearm should not be on the armrest while typing.

Swivel.

Any conventional style or ergonomic office chair should easily rotate so the user can reach different areas of his or her desk without straining. 

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