In every laboratory, personnel spend a lot of time - often hour after hour - in a chair.
With the wrong chair, those hours get grueling. Even with the right chair, it takes the correct adjustments to get the most comfortable and correct seating. It’s all about the ergonomics.
According to Ergonomics: The Study of Work from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “ergonomics is the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the job.”
This report points out that “awkward and uncomfortable positions can be eliminated by … providing ergonomic chairs or stools.”
In shopping for a new lab chair, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) recommends some key guidelines. To make the best selection, it takes starting with the right mindset.
As these guidelines note: “A basic rule of ergonomics is that there is no such thing as an ‘average’ person.” At the same time, a truly custom seat shows up in a professional race car, not in a lab.
So, a lab chair needs lots of adjustable features to accommodate as many people as possible. According to the CCOHS, an ergonomic chair should include adjustments for height and tilt, and include adjustable armrests, when needed.
To keep a person comfortable, a lab chair’s seat should curve downward and not push on the back of a person’s legs. Plus, there should be lower-back support.
To keep a chair stable, only a five-point base will do the job. Of course, that chair must swivel to make it easier to turn from one task to another.
To dig even deeper into the details of what makes a great ergonomic chair, visit CCOHS’s ergonomic chair page.
After picking the right lab chair, only part of the job is done. Now, all of those adjustments must be put to work. To get a chair right, visit How to Adjust Your Office Chair from Wirecutter. Here, all of the adjustments are explained, and it provides an easy way to follow along and get a chair set up right.
Still, it’s worth carefully reviewing a specific chair’s manual for adjustment features and ergonomic recommendations.
We’ve set up a page of our own recommendations in laboratory chairs. This selection includes chairs for desk- to high-bench height. Also, each of these chairs comes with a lifetime warranty on the piston and a 15-year warranty on all other parts. That provides some serious seating security.
Some of our chairs even include special options, like an electrostatic dissipative (ESD) feature. For example, our Vinyl ESD & Clean Room Chair Chrome includes grounding, conductive and dissipative static-control materials, and it comes in 19–24 and 22–29 inch options.
So, wander around our options in ergonomic lab chairs to find the ones that fit the needs of your lab.
Only the right chair and the proper setup can ‘defeat the seat’ - making your lab a comfy and productive place to do science.