The diagram above and this one (at http://www.etc.edu.cn/eet/eet/articles/ergonomics/index.htm) are a brilliant way to see how you should be sitting at the computer table. This is true for school desks as much as it is for computer desks at home. Learning how to sit properly has a large impact on your feeling during the day and on your productivity. Follow this diagram to better health while working at a desk.
This is a fascinating and helpful video that discusses workplace injuries and how to prevent them. Certainly, from the classroom furniture that students use to the office desks that adults utilize, there are safety concerns at every stage. And at every stage there are key ways to take care of your body and to ensure safety while you’re doing your classroom or your job. Learn with these tips about keeping yourself and your children safe in the classroom and as part of the workforce.
Both children who sit for the entire day and adults who sit on office chairs all day long need to think about the type of chair that they use. In the office, there are many recommendations for office chairs. The seat height should be adjusted to a range of 420-500mm. The seat edge should be rounded so that it minimizes the pressure under the thighs.
The seat pan should actually tilt forward and backwards by about 5 degrees and the seat base should swivel and have five or more castors for stability.
The backrest should be adjustable and about 500mm in height. If the seat and backrest don’t adjust by themselves, the angle between them should be about 105 degrees. While most people wouldn’t think about the upholstery, the upholstery material should be something that doesn’t slide or sweat.
Footrests are actually very important for shorter people. The footrest should be a minimum of 450mm in length by 350mm in width. Certainly, most classroom furniture doesn’t include office chairs, but these specs are important for the teacher’s desk or for kids who work in chairs of this sort at home.
The UCLA Ergonomics Program is a unique and creative program which offers “ergo-friendly” solutions to a large number of work-related issues. The goal of the program is to help make the work that people do a better fit so that workers are more comfortable, safer, and ultimately working in a more efficient way.
There are four steps recommended by the UCLA Ergonomics Program when a new employee first begins to work at his computer table. Step one is to select an appropriate chair. Work tasks, body size and shape should all be considered when choosing a chair. Be sure that you spine is most comfortable when it is in a “neutral posture” while sitting in the chair.
The second step is selecting an ergonomic keyboard. Articulating keyboard trays can be a good solution, providing optimal positioning of input devices. Make sure the tray does not force you to be too far away from your other work materials, like your telephone.
Making sure that your screen, documents and telephone are well positioned is the third step to an ergonomically healthy workstation. Always be sure that your neck is always in a neutral and relaxed position. Here are suggestions as to how to place your monitor so it works best for you.
• Position your monitor directly in front of you and above your keyboard.
• Center the top of the monitor approximately 2-3” above your eye level when seated. (If you wear bifocals, take care to lower the monitor to a comfortable reading level.)
• Be sure to sit at least an arm’s length away from the screen and then adjust the distance for your vision.
• Take care to reduce glare by carefully positioning the screen.
• Place the screen at right angles to windows
• Remember to adjust the curtains or blinds as needed
• Place the vertical screen angle and screen controls in such a way so that the glare from overhead lights is minimized
• Place your telephone within easy reach. Telephone stands or arms can help.
• Use a headset or speaker phone to eliminate cradling the handset.
Step four: Make sure to take breaks throughout the day. Even with a close to perfect work environment it is still crucial to move around during the day. Lengthy postures that keep the body still for long periods of time are harmful, inhibiting blood circulation, taking a toll on the body. Here are some suggestions on how to keep the body moving during the long work day:
• Every twenty minutes or so be sure to take a 1-2 minute stretch break. After an hour of work, take another break, changing your task for at least 5-10 minutes. It is helpful to move away from your computer desk during lunch.
• You can get relief from eye fatigue by resting and refocusing your eyes from time to time. Look away from the monitor and focus on something else further away.
• Give your eyes a break. Cover them with your palms for about 10-15 seconds every so often.
• Always be aware of your posture while working, and keep it correct. And try to keep moving.
Many people don’t think about ergonomics when they consider their school furniture choices. They just buy the furniture that will fit in the classroom and that might be the least expensive. Thinking about ergonomics, however, is very important. The school chairs that student use can make a big difference in their comfort level and their ability to focus. The school desks, as well, allow the kids to be organized and ready for their day – or to feel cramped and uncomfortable.
It’s certainly worthwhile, if a school is starting out with new furniture, to have these ideas in mind and to think about these considerations. The ergonomics in the school environment are very important and can make quite a difference in the learning environment.
In England there exist laws which govern the size of the desks and chairs that teachers receive to insure that the chairs are comfortable and ergonomically sound. Unfortunately when it comes to students, the school desk and chairs have no such requirement. Therefore school desks and chairs are often chosen for their low cost, rather than for their level of comfort.
Over the years the ergonomics of school furniture has become more important, not less, as children spend longer periods of time at their desks and in front of computers in school.
Former English education secretary Charles Clarke reported for the British Educational Suppliers Association on what his research showed was the serious need to improve the education of Britain’s children. The report stated that, “Sitting for extended periods on chairs that are of inappropriate size and that lack ergonomic design and at classroom desks or tables whose height relative to the chair is incorrect and will be uncomfortable” will diminish students’ ability to learn. Furthermore, “The Back Pain Association is convinced that schools are a significant source of back problems.”
The report also stated that schools did not pay much attention to the ergonomic factor when choosing school furniture like classroom chairs. Rather, the motivating factor for picking student furniture was the “lowest unit price.”
Not only do children sit in their school chairs longer than they did in the past, but students are also not the same size they were in the 1960s, when much of today’s school furniture was designed. In the past 50 years children are actually taller, on average, than they were in the 60s.
The report urged ministers to have schools utilize adjustable furniture in the new schools that are now under construction under England’s school rebuilding program.