Ergonomics is the science of designing jobs, equipment and workplaces to fit workers, or in the words and title of one the books by renowned ergonomist, Etienne Grandjean, ‘Fitting the task to the man’. To ensure maximum comfort, all Karo gaming stools are designed in accordance with the current trends in ergonomics.
Ergonomics in the workplace has to do largely with designing the work environment, the equipment and tasks to be performed in a way that takes cognisance of human physiology to minimise the amount of stress and stain on the employee. In its simplest form, the work environment or area needs to have good lighting and ventilation, it should be clean, non toxic and safe, while the actual task should be designed so that lifting, reaching, pulling, stretching, bending and static seating is minimised. Finally, the equipment needs to be designed and setup in a manner that will simplify the task and reduce the risk of personal injury, both long and short-term. By reducing absenteeism and improving safety, operational costs will decrease, or otherwise stated, a well designed work area will improve productivity, employee morale and company profitability.
In the office environment, the most important ergonomic considerations are:
Once the environmental factors have been addressed, the office chair or gaming stool is arguably the most important piece of equipment in any office or gaming room, and one that has a huge impact on the long-term well-being of the employee or patron.
When sitting, the body weight is transferred to the seat, floor, and to a lesser extent, the backrest and armrests. Traditionally, we have always been taught to sit in an upright position, much like the old Egyptian Pharaohs, with elbows, hips and knees at 90 degree angles. However, we seldom see people actually sitting in this position, simply because our body is not designed to allow us to sit in this position for any extended period of time. Sitting in this traditional upright position increases the pressure in the intervertebral discs in the lumbar region of the back (see figure 2), which causes lower back pain and people will automatically adjust their sitting position to alleviate any associated discomfort. As can be seen from figure 2, the pressure in the intervertebral discs in the lumbar region (L3, L4 and L5), is steadily reduced when the angle between the back and thigh increases from the ‘traditional’ 90 degrees, and reaches a minimum when this angle is approximately 130 degrees; the so-called horse-riding or foetal position (figure 3).
When we sit in the traditional 90 degree upright position, our hip joint only rotates by approximately 60 degrees. To make up the 90 degree angle between our thigh and back, our pelvis must rotate through the remaining 30 degrees. This rotation flattens the natural elongated ‘S’ shape of the spine, predominantly in the lumbar region of the back (figure 4).
A good ergonomically designed chair or gaming stool is able to significantly reduce the incidence of lower back pain, provided the following important features are incorporated in its design: