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If you don’t build your office chair correctly, then obviously it’s not going to be very comfortable, nor will it last very long, either. It’s so important to construct the chair properly, in fact, that the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that people follow their instruction manuals to a T if they want to maintain their chairs’ safety and ergonomic effect.
What’s not so obvious, though, is that office chairs need to be properly serviced, having all of their parts and equipment checked once every six months as recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
It might sound like a tricky chore, but don’t worry. It’s not as difficult as it seems. Here are the things you need to check out to make sure that your office chair is just as ergonomic as it was the day you bought and assembled it.
Office chairs typically come with a tension control that allows each user to adjust the chair to a position that better compensates for their body weight. For a smooth tilt motion that’s also controlled, it’s important to check and make sure that this control is properly adjusted. When someone sits down, the chair should smoothly tilt--so make sure that it still does during your inspection.
2. Ideal Settings.
Each person has their own settings that are ideal for them, because each person has a different height, weight, and build. What might be most comfortable for one person, isn’t nearly as comfortable for the next. To make sure a chair is still as ergonomic as it can be, make sure that each of the settings can still be adjusted.
If the chair is ergonomically correct, the person sitting should have their fit flat against the ground and their thighs parallel to the floor. To correct this during the check, just adjust the chair’s height until the settings are right.
4. Height and Lumbar.
The lumbar region of the back is the lower portion where the spine naturally curves out. Many office chairs lack lumbar support, making the spine lose its natural S-shape. This causes several issues. It puts undue stress on the lower back, while forcing the spine to take an unnatural shape, resulting in pain and discomfort. If the chair is in proper ergonomic condition, the lower back should will come into direct contact with the lumbar support.
Casters are the small wheels on the end of each of the base’s feet. The best ergonomic chairs will have five different feet, complete with a caster on each. This ensures that weight is spread out proportionally, and also allows the user to move freely. If even one of the casters is broken or missing, it will throw the balance of the chair off, forcing its occupant to sit in an awkward, unnatural position.
There’s a reason why the office furniture manufacturing industry generates over $23 billion a year in annual revenue. It’s because these ergonomic chairs effectively make offices more comfortable to work in, eliminating the aches and pains that result from sitting unnaturally. If you want your chair to remain as comfortable and ergonomic as possible--if you want to get the most out of it--then you’ve got to check it for these five things twice a year.
Chair experts can help you to determine your ergonomic needs. In doing so, they will explain these facts in detail.
Adjustable Height Is the Best Height
Adjustable seating options are an excellent choice, since everyone has their own requirements. Your feet should sit flat on the floor while your back remains straight. A pneumatic adjuster allows you to adjust the height. From 16 to 21 inches from the top of the seat to the floor is a suitable size for most users.
Considering the Backrest
Consider the quality and measurements of the backrest when you shop for office chairs. The backrest should be 13 to 19 inches high and naturally support your spine. It should also give your lower back proper lumbar support.
Determine Seat Depth and Width
Your position in the chair is integral for your spinal health and overall comfort. It will also add to your job satisfaction and workplace productivity. The seat should support you completely when you are sitting. 17-20 inches as a seat width will fit most people.
The materials in the backrest and seat must be comfortable. Standard seat foam will allow most people to sit comfortably all day. If you need soft or firm support, choose chairs with triple density foam or memory foam. Mesh makes for a breathable chair, which is an advantage in a warm climate.
Last but far from least is lumbar support. It is actually the most important part of an ergonomic office chair. Without good lumbar support, you will slouch and this will strain the lower area of your spine. Adjustable chairs will help an office chair to meet your personal ergonomic needs.
In conclusion, if you have doubts about any office chair before you purchase one, consult with an expert before you make that purchase. Then your decision will be an informed one.
Ergonomics – it’s become an immensely important consideration for both individuals and employers. Even UCLA has started offering ergonomics guides and information for students, teachers and others. Whether you’re an office worker or an employer, it’s important that you understand the key concepts in workplace ergonomics in order to prevent injury, maximize productivity and reduce ergonomic injury-related lost time from the job.
Reducing Strain and Stress on Key Body Parts
The entire point of ergonomics is to position office equipment and to support the body in such a way that it reduces strain on key body parts. These include the following:
- Upper and lower back
- Thighs and legs
Key Ergonomic-Related Injuries
33% of all workplace injuries involve musculoskeletal injuries generally caused by poor workplace ergonomics. These injuries cause a significant amount of lost time at work, which impacts both the employer and the employee. Some of the conditions caused by not implementing the correct ergonomic plan can include carpal tunnel, eye strain/headaches, tendinopathy, bursitis and many others.
Key Concepts to Understand
There are several different concepts at play in workplace ergonomics, including posture, correct workstation setup and more. These include the following:
- Neutral Neck Position – Your workstation, desk and office chair should allow you to maintain a neutral neck position. A computer monitor should be at least 20 inches away from your body, and it should be directly in front of and slightly below your eye level.
- Spine Support – Sitting for long hours puts serious stress on your spine and back/shoulder muscles. To correctly support your spine, you need to sit with your feet flat on the floor, and you should have an office chair that provides good lumbar support (either adjustable or with extra padding in the lumbar region). Armrests should be included with the office chair, and they should be adjustable to eliminate shoulder strain.
- Arm and Hand Positioning – The position you’re forced to hold your arms and hands in when seated at your computer can put additional strain on your body. When seated and using the keyboard, your elbows should be at 100 to 110 degrees (open). The keyboard should have a negative tilt so you can keep a neutral position in your hands and wrists. Keyboard trays should be wide enough for both the keyboard and the mouse, so you can use them without raising your arm to another position.
Breaks, Stretching and Exercising
It might sound counterintuitive, but office workers should engage in regular stretching and exercising while on the job. This helps to eliminate stress and strain, and enhances blood flow, which can increase comfort as well as productivity. Regular breaks are also important to help prevent workplace injuries.
- For every 20 minutes of typing, you should take a 20-second break
- For every 20 minutes of typing, you should look away and focus on the middle distance for 20 seconds
- Every hour, you should get up and walk around the office or take a stroll to the break room
- Every hour, stretch your legs, arms, shoulders and wrists to enhance blood flow
These tips and key concepts will help enhance workplace productivity, but also reduce the chance of injury for office workers
For most of us, our office workspace is what it is. You deal with the desk, chair, office layout/cubicle space and computer workstation that you were given. However, even those of us not allowed to choose our own chairs and desks can reconstruct our office space to enhance ergonomics. If you’re not familiar with the concept, ergonomics is the science of applied design to protect the human body, prevent strain and stress on joints and muscles, while maximizing productivity. The CDC highlights numerous serious health disorders stemming from poor workplace ergonomics, but you can take matters into your own hands and reconstruct that space to protect yourself.
These days, most of us spend the majority of our time on the computer while at work. This means that your computer system’s setup and layout are of paramount importance in terms of ergonomics. You need to be most concerned with two elements here:
The computer monitor should be at or just below eye level, and it should be angled so that you can see the screen clearly despite the glare of those ubiquitous fluorescents overhead. If you have to squint, hunch, tilt your head or otherwise adjust your body to see the screen clearly, it’s not set up correctly.
The primary means of interaction between humans and computers is through the keyboard and mouse. Make sure that the keyboard is at or just below the level of your arms when in a seated position. Have a wrist rest in front of the keyboard to support your wrists. The mouse should be located on the same level as the keyboard and usable without any unnecessary twisting or readjusting of your body.
You might not think a footrest is an appropriate piece of office furniture, but it is. Adding a footrest under your desk can help decrease stress and strain on your legs, knees and hips, and it can also help enhance blood flow. Not all workplaces will happily let you add a footrest to your office, but it should be considered to help protect you.
All of your frequently used items should be kept within easy reach of your office chair. Ideally, you’ll have a document holder next to your monitor, so you can reach it while keeping your elbows near your sides. This also applies to your phone. As a note, if you spend a considerable amount of time on the phone during the day, consider investing in a good headset, rather than using the uncomfortable handset. This will prevent you from trying to type and talk or listen at the same time while crunching your head to your shoulder (to hold the handset in place). A headset can make an enormous difference in your comfort and alleviate phone call-related neck, shoulder and back pain.
Follow these tips and reconstruct your office workspace for better comfort and ergonomics. Your body will thank you.
There are many brands of ergonomic chairs on the market today, including Allseating, BOSS, ErgoFast, Eurotech, and many others. With so many different choices of ergonomic chairs and stools, many of which you can probably find in an office near you, it’s clear that ergonomics have become a popular trend in office furniture design. But how many people actually know what makes a chair, or any other piece of office furniture, “ergonomic”? Keep reading if you’re interested in learning more about this revolution in seating and furniture design, and making the most of your health and workplace experience.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ergonomics, which is also known as human engineering or biotechnology, is a type of applied science that is centered on the design and arrangement of “things people use” so that those people and things “interact most efficiently and safely.” The term may also be used to describe the characteristics and design of an object as a consequence of the use of ergonomic science. This may all sound complicated, but at the end of the day, ergonomic furniture is designed to keep people comfortable and safe as they work, and most importantly, to help workers avoid stress-related injuries on the job. The following factors affect the ergonomic design of an office chair, which is the most important piece of furniture for a comfortable workplace.
A regular office chair can easily leave a person with pain in the back, neck, and shoulders after extended use. It really doesn’t take long to feel these effects if you are sitting in a poorly designed office chair day in and day out. With one of the available ergonomically designed products, such as the popular ergoCentric chairs, this is no longer a problem. An ergonomic chair is designed to provide optimal back support, including lumbar support in addition to a classic backrest with just the right amount of padding, to keep the spine in a healthy straight position. This ultimately limits stress, absorbs shocks, and reduces the likelihood of injury.
The height of a chair may seem inconsequential, but it can make a big difference when it’s wrong. If the height of your chair and/or armrests isn’t right, you will quickly become uncomfortable on the job. Ergonomically designed chairs have adjustable armrests and seats, and sometimes even adjustable backrests, so you can get the perfect match for your height and body type.
The overall size of a chair matters in ergonomics as well. The design of an office chair should not only consider the height of various parts, but also the width of the backrest, and the depth and width of the seat. The backrest should be at least 12 inches wide and the seat should be at least 18 inches wide, if not more, to provide adequate support for the worker.
At the end of the day, all these ergonomic factors can help contribute to a happier and healthier workforce, which makes an organization much more productive in the long run.