A weblog dedicated to Ergonomics education, dicussion and debate. This emerging field has the power to transform industry, business and the lives of ordinary people for the better. The Industrial Athlete intends to encourage and document our profession's vision of an ergonomically-friendly future!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Back From Flu-Shot Induced Sickness! Topic of The Week: Why Are We Hurting Our Kids Through Cheap And Bad Design?

Sorry about not posting for a week. I got my flu shot last week, and I got sick for a couple days following it (go figure), so it messed up my routine!

But I digress.

Back to ergonomics ... it seems we are setting up our young people for muscloskeletal injuries before they even enter the workforce, by forcing them to sit in desks that aren't made to fit them properly:

Griffith University researcher Neil Tuttle found that lack of good seating is behind majority of the back and neck pain experienced by students.


"If the seat width and seat height of an armchair were made to fit the average dimensions of a population, the chair would be unusable for most of the population," ABC Online quoted Tuttle, as saying.

Not only is the folly of designing for the 50th percentile person (i.e. "the average
person") causing discomfort, pain, and eventual injury, it seems outmoded Victorian ideals concerning The Right Posture are also rubbing salt in the wound:

Tuttle also said that teachers should not ask students to "sit up" or "sit still".

He added that leaning back in chairs with legs extended should not be considered a ‘lazy’ attitude.

"If you want to change one attitude it's that there is a correct posture," he says, adding that students should be allowed to wiggle in their seats.

There is no "right posture". In fact, it is a well-worn cliche in ergonomics circles that the best posture is the next one. We also need to lose the notion that a squirming student isn't necessarily a disruption or a potential ADD case. It is merely a symptom of a case of design where good fit is a distant afterthought.

Source Article: http://www.topnews.in/poor-chair-designs-be-blamed-neck-and-back-pain-school-students-23603


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