Work chairs ergonomics

In the past there was only a limited attention paid to workplace environment and equipment in industrial sector. Nowadays, an optimal design and arrangement of a workplace is not only a social issue but represents a key aspect of economic success of many enterprises. Correspondence between economically desirable and physiologically suitable workplace is a frequent subject of discussion between management and work teams in companies as well as among specialists on this topic or paramedics.

Generally said, working conditions and working environment must be optimally adapted to the human physiognomy, anatomy, processing capacity, psychological needs etc. This is an indispensable assumption for achieving lasting personal performance at high level and therefore achieving the economic efficiency of an enterprise as a whole.

Sit or stand

Despite negative side effects, sitting work position is regarded as advantageous in comparison with standing work position. It is characterized by lower energetic output, lower load on lower extremities, lower demands on the circulatory system and, in comparison with the standing position, it provides greater stability, it enables to perform activities with higher demands on precise coordination and, last but not least, visually demanding tasks and so on.

Emphasis on spine

Continuously increasing level of technological development has resulted in a greater need for professionals with sedentary nature of their job. The average time spent sitting, be it at work or at extracurricular activities, is increasing. Spine is the main support element of static postures of a body. Man uses it permanently, regardless if sitting or standing at a workplace. In terms of load of the musculoskeletal system and the spine, long sitting sessions cause several negative consequences, mainly unhealthy body posture, overload of muscular and ligament systems, deformation of the intervertebral discs and so on.

Chair as an important part of ergonomic workplace equipment

For many working professionals, the work chair is one of the most important working tools. If a person sits permanently, the chair is in permanent contact with their body and in these cases there is a greater effect on their health than by other workplace equipment. Bad sitting necessarily entails greater energy demands associated with balancing improper posture or dodging painful states. More efficient would be, of course, to use this waste energy to work itself. According to some ergonomists, this waste energy can reach up to 30% in many cases.

Dynamic sitting

Ergonomically designed work chairs enable the use of so called Dynamic sitting. In practice it means that we change the position (height or tilt of backrest and seat) after a while of sitting in order to preventively avoid painful states. Flawless operation with the possibility to setup the chair during sitting is a precondition for comfortable dynamic seating. The frequency of change is determined by the individual perception of the needs of the user. It is therefore necessary to observe this need and, most importantly, practice it. This way we can greatly lengthen our performance at work, improve the functioning of blood circulation, and prevent premature fatigue.

Ways of sitting at work

There are basically three main sitting positions that we distinguish and that are applied with regards to the nature of the work. These are front, middle, and back sitting.

When we are talking about appropriateness of some of the positions for certain work activities, it is not meant a rigid sitting, but an occasional change of the centre of gravity, angles and heights of the chair around the certain position. The possibility to alter these mentioned positions during work supports the sitting dynamics. The type of sitting is influenced by the design of a work chair, workplace arrangement, and individual habits.