Ergonomic Lab Chairs

Ergonomic Lab Chairs

Ergonomic Lab Chairs

The best discoveries in science always begin by taking a seat.  Whether it is endless hours spent working with liquid handling devices in a wet lab, or pouring over spreadsheets in a dry lab, it is critically important for researchers to be properly supported while they work.

Lab workers and spend much of their time sitting while they work, which means the chairs they sit in affect them in a variety of ways. Every variable inside a lab influences overall lab productivity, but the way one sits is a variable that massively impacts efficiency. Researchers working long hours in pharma, biotech, university, or medical settings should seek laboratory-specific seating developed purposely to fit their needs. Labs, hospitals, and offices that take wellness seriously and provide employees with ergonomic furniture will enjoy a decrease in absences and an increase in overall productivity. 

Durability

The first step to improve lab productivity begins when selecting where to buy chairs for your lab. Chairs purchased from office supply stores aren’t designed to withstand harsh conditions which means the chair’s durability is not well-suited for long-term lab work. If a chair has to be replaced or repaired because it isn’t manufactured for the appropriate conditions, time and resources will be wasted replacing these chairs. Most office store chains offer limited warranties that cover only one year of use, whereas Lab Depot offers a 15-year warranty. Chairs sold in office supply stores were not made with labs in mind, and are often manufactured with fabric upholstery which is not permitted in most lab settings.

Cleanability

Big box store chairs are not made with sturdy components or easy-to-clean materials. Productivity is improved when labs use chairs created with materials like antifungal and antibacterial vinyl and self-skinning polyurethane that can be easily cleaned with readily available cleaning agents. Lab Depot chairs and stools are manufactured with vinyl with a closed pore system which makes it inherently antibacterial which is vital following the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Back Support

Another thing to consider when selecting the right chairs for your lab is comfort, back support, and ergonomics. Poor seat height, back support height, and back support angle can negatively affect posture and might create back problems. A person’s back is composed of an S-shape formed by three natural curves. When these natural curves are properly aligned, ears, shoulders and hips are in the same plane. It’s important to have a seat that supports these curves, because poor posture could lead to pain and serious injury.1 Lab Depot offers chairs with built-in lumbar support and backs that are fully adjustable for different height and angles.

Ergonomics

It is important to find chairs suitable for the conditions lab workers face every day. Certain design features help ergonomics and improve posture. For example, a waterfall seat is designed to relieve the pressure off thighs and lower legs with the contour and slight downward slope of the seat. If this style of seat is used in conjunction with a foot ring, it dramatically improves blood circulation to lower limbs. Additionally, adding seat tilt to a chair can allow better blood flow for extended seating periods.

Arm Position

The height, angle, and depth of a chair’s arms reduces strain in hands during repetitive motions such as typing or moving a mouse. It helps increase precision while doing extensive tasks like benchwork with pipettes or plating cell cultures. Developing cumulative trauma injuries due to repetitive tasks like pipetting, use of small hand held tools, or opening and closing vial caps is a risk for laboratory workers. The mobility of arms prevents improper posture that could be a health hazard. Prolonged awkward postures at a microscope, laboratory hood or biological safety cabinet, and a variety of other laboratory tasks can also create injuries.2

Seat Angle and Height

The angle of a seat can help reduce lumbar pressure if the work involves leaning forward like working with a microscope. OSHA recommends tilting your seat forward or using a seat wedge when working in a forward posture, while being sure not to extend their chin forward when working. OSHA also states workers should adjust the position of their work, the work surface, or the chair so that they sit in an upright, supported position. 1  Unlike many costly designer chairs found in office settings, Lab Depot manufactures chairs with easily adjustable controls which the user can adjust the settings to best fit their body type out of the box.

In summary, laboratory seating should not be viewed as merely an accessory needed to outfit a lab, but rather as a very important piece of furniture.  The health, comfort and long-term productivity of all researchers can be dramatically improved through the use of purposely designed, carefully crafted ergonomic chairs and stools.

 

1https://www.osha.gov/Publications/laboratory/OSHAfactsheet-laboratory-safety-ergonomics.pdf

2https://uhs.berkeley.edu/facstaff/ergonomics/laboratory