Furniture advice

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Office Chair Ergonomics

Posted under , Office Furniture

Humans have 2 natural positions, laying down and standing up. Sitting down is actually not natural at all, however, people who work in an office could spend more than 280,000 hours in this position – that equates to around half their lifetime! An incorrect posture can significantly increase the pressure on the intervertebral discs. Too much pressure may cause a negative influence on your back’s health. This article looks at the office chair and ergonomics.

Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with designing according to human needs, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance. The field is also called human engineering, and human factors. When it comes to the office chair, the following ergonomic facts exist:

• Back injuries, such as lower back pain or a slipped disc are the principal cause of absenteeism from the work place.
• Approximately 18% of all absenteeism due to illness relates to back problems (the no.1 cause in Western Europe).
• The total cost of this is estimated to add up to several billion pounds.

To avoid back problems in the office and to reduce absenteeism, office furniture manufacturers have designed the ergonomic chair. An ergonomic chair is a chair that will respond to the basic rules of ergonomics.

In order to take care of your back, the following ergonomic rules should be followed:

1. You should be able to move on your chair in order to have a dynamic sitting posture.
2. Regularly tilt backwards to minimise the pressure on the intervertebral discs.
3. Maintain a good posture and use a chair that will provide good support to the body
4. Use a chair with ergonomic movement that is easy to adjust.

Movement on your chair allows contraction and relaxation of the muscles and stimulation of blood circulation which distributes nutrition and oxygen. Chairs that allow tilting backwards are best because they offer the following benefits:

• Decreases the pressure on the intervertebral discs. These discs provide the flexibility in your vertebral column and act like a shock absorber
• Opens the angle between the back and seat to avoid compression of the breathing and digestive functions and to stimulate blood circulation
• Enables the back to relax

The health of the intervertebral discs depends on the supply of rachidian liquid that contains nutritive elements necessary to the regeneration of the cellswithin the disc. The supply of these discs is related to the pressure placed on them. High pressure is bad and gives no supply. Lower is good as there is higher supply. The pressure is dependant on the posture of the person.

It is recommended to always purchase office chairs that are manufactured to ISO quality specifications that comply with European standards EN 1335-1,2,3 for size and component materials. In addition to this, look for chairs that carry the GS label, which provides further recognition of safety and high quality of a chair.

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