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Chairmakers

Ergonomics

Chairs are one of the most important pieces of office equipment. To be effective, the chair needs to be adjusted to suit the user. 

Features of a well-designed chair that can be adjusted to suit a range of people include: 
 
• back rest easily adjustable in height and angle 
• back rest provides lumbar support 
• height of chair is adjustable 
• seat (pan) width is appropriate for the individual user 
• seat (pan) depth is appropriate or adjustable 
• adjustable or removable armrests 
• five star castor base for stability, and 
• “breathable” fabric. 
 
Height - The seat height should be adjusted so your feet rest firmly on the floor allowing 
you to take some weight through your feet when you are seated. As a guide, while 
standing, adjust the height of the chair so the highest point of the seat is just below your 
kneecap. If you feel pressure near the back of the seat, raise your chair. If you feel 
pressure near the front of your seat, lower your chair. 
 
Back Support – The height of the back rest should ensure the lumbar pad supports the 
natural curve of your lower back. The back rest should be able to tilt slightly to allow a 
comfortable and supported sitting position to be achieved. 
 
Seat Tilt – Seat tilt can be adjusted to improve your comfort. This will also affect your 
weight distribution. A small tilt of approximately five degrees is usually recommended (i.e. 
seat pan sloping downwards slightly rather than upwards). 
 
Depth of Seat – When sitting, your thighs should be fully supported by the seat pan. The pan should allow 
you to use the back support without the front of pressing against the backs of your knees. If the seat pan is 
too deep, try a back support to reduce the length of the seat pan. Some chairs may have adjustable seat 
pans. 
 
Width – The seat pan should be wide enough so it does not apply pressure to your thighs. Conversely the 
seat should be narrow enough so you can comfortably reach the armrests, if applicable. 
 
Arm Support – Armrests can provide support for the upper part of your forearms; however armrests should 
not prevent the chair from being drawn close to the desk or restrict natural movements. Generally, the 
inclusion of armrests comes down to personal preference. If armrests are used they should be adjusted to 
elbow height. If armrests are not appropriate or comfortable they can often be removed.