Ergonomics SA

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The anthropometric match between high school learners and commercial adjustable computer chairs

SM van Niekerk, QA Louw


Background: A South African study illustrated that the school computer chair was the least ergonomic aspect of a school computer workstation and this may explain why computer usage was the only predictor of cervical pain among high school students (Smith et al. 2007). An alarming percentage of South African learners do not match the usual school chair dimensions according to accepted criteria for chair height, depth and width. This implies that the majority of students are sitting in chairs that are both too short and too shallow for their body dimensions (Van Niekerk et al. 2011).

Method: The sample included all commercially available adjustable chairs, distributed in the Cape Metropole area and which are being sold for R500 or less. The seat height, depth and width was measured and matched to the students’ anthropometric measurements.

Results: Only the height measurement of one chair matched more than 95% of the students. None of the chairs showed a match for all of the dimensions.

Conclusion: The findings of this study indicate that even if schools want to improve the chair profile, they will not be able to do so as no commercial chair matched the students’ anthropometric measurements.

Keywords: ergonomic chair, anthropometrics, sitting posture, adolescents

AJOL African Journals Online