2-Momtazzadeh

JRHS 2008; 8(2): 9-12

Copyright © Journal of Research in Health Sciences

A Practical Method for School Furniture Design to Prevent Musculoskeletal Disorders among Pupils

Motamedzade M (PhD)

Department of Ergonomics, School of Public Health and Center for Health Research, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Iran

*Correspondence:  Email: motamedzade@yahoo.com                 

Received: 18 July   2008; Accepted: 11 September 2008

Abstract

Background: Design of school furniture is one of the contributing factors to back pain among pupils. Research has implicated that mismatch between school furniture and body size may be regarded as a causative factor for muculoskeletal disorders amongst pupils. To investigate the fitness between school furniture and pupils this study was designed and implemented in Hamadan City, west of Iran.

Methods: This descriptive study was done on 1580 pupils from 11 to 18 years old including both gen­ders, using cluster sampling. Anthropometrical dimensions including height and weight were measured and demographic data collected.

Results: According to ISO 5970 procedure, all studied pupils, divided into four groups. In the first group, including both genders in first grade of secondary school, size 3 was purposed for redesign of school furniture. In the second group, including boys in second and third grade of secondary school, size 4 was purposed for redesign of school furniture. Accordingly, in the third group including girls from second grade of secondary school to end of high school, size 4 was purposed for redesign of school furniture. In forth group including high school boys, size 5 was purposed for redesign of school furniture.

Conclusions: Current design of school furniture is not compatible with the pur­posed dimensions. In most cases, the same size furniture was in use from secondary schools to high schools.

Keywords: Anthropometrics, School Furniture, Ergonomic Design, Iran

Introduction

The education is an inevitable part of a civi­lized nation. Education of future generations requires a remarkable investment, repre­sent­ing a very high load to developing countries. Amongst critical elements to the good de­vel­opment of school children are the tools needed. In that sense, school furniture is an ex­tre­mely important tool. School fur­niture must respond to the characteristics of the popula­tion that uses it. The dimensions of school furniture must conform to the an­thropometri­cal dimensions of the boys and girls and de­signers must have information available so meet those requirements.

Children spend a large part of their times in the classroom. School age is a vital period for child development. Regarding low back pain, sitting posture is the most troublesome situation. Some studies showed that design of school furniture is one of the contributing factors to back pain among pupils (1). Re­search has implicated that mismatch between school furniture and body size may be re­garded as a causative factor for muscu­loskele­tal disorders amongst pupils (2).

For this reason, conducting a study to help develop appropriate design strategies for school furniture design is necessary. In order to reach an optimal fitness between school furniture and the pupils, the furniture should be de­signed according to psychophysical charac­teristics of the users as well as educa­tional environment specifications. There are very few developing countries, which have anthro­pometrical data of school children for the purpose of furniture design (3).

To investigate the fitness between school fur­niture and pupils, this study was designed and implemented in Hamadan City, west of Iran.

Methods

This descriptive study was done on 1580 pu­pils from 11 to 18 yr including both gen­ders, using cluster sampling. After the selec­tion of the schools and, before proceeding with the measurements, permissions from the re­gional offices of the Ministry of Edu­cation and the school Principals were neces­sary. Data was collected in the selected schools. In order to collect the data it was necessary to prepare special forms for the identification of the school, the grade level and the measure­ments for each child. After obtaining the consent of the student, weight (kg) and standing height (to the nearest cen­timetre) was measured us­ing a body weight scale (up to 120 kg) and a tape measure re­spectively. After completion of data collec­tion, ISO 5970 procedure was applied for redesign of school furniture- see ISO 5970 -1979 (4).

Results

Table 1 shows mean of age in school chil­dren. Descriptive statistics of height in schoolboys is reported in Table 2 and de­scriptive statis­tics of height in schoolgirls is reported in Table 3.

Table 1: Mean of age in school children (year)

Grade

Girls

Boys

1st grade- secondary school

12.2

11.6

2nd grade- secondary school

13.3

12.8

3rd grade- secondary school

14.3

14

1st grade- high school

15

15.2

2nd grade-high school

16.2

15.5

3rd grade-high school

17.1

16.7

End of high school

17.6

18.2

Our finding showed that in schoolboys:

1-Maximum height was observed during 13-15 yr old.

2-Maximum weight was observed during 14-15 yr old.

3-Increasement of height is small after 17. Our finding showed that in schoolgirls:

1-Maximum height was observed during 12-13 yr old.

2-Maximum weight was observed during 16-17 yr old.

3-Increasement of height is small after 17.

Table 2: Descriptive statistics of height in schoolboys

Grade

Mean

STD

Deviation

Maxi­mum

Mini­mum

Percentiles

5

50

90

95

1st grade- secondary school

(n=130)

143

7.6

161

123

13

2

14

2

15

1

15

4

2nd grade- secondary school

(n=125)

148

8.1

173

129

13

5

14

8

15

8

16

1

3rd grade- secondary school

(127)

157

9.3

186

133

14

2

15

7

16

9

17

2

1st grade- high school

(n=109)

165

9

184

146

15

0

16

6

17

6

18

0

2nd grade- high school

(n=111)

169

8.9

186

147

15

4

17

0

17

9

18

2

3rd grade-high school

(n=105")

171

6.6

190

153

16

0

17

2

18

0

18

2

End of high school

(n=122)

172

6.1

190

155

16

2

17

3

18

0

18

3

Table 3: Descriptive statistics of height in schoolgirls

Grade

Mean

STD

Deviation

Maxi­mum

Mini­mum

Percentiles

5

50

90

95

1st grade- secondary school

(n=118)

143

8.4

165

115

12

9

14

4

15

3

156

2nd grade- secondary school

(n=98)

150

6.9

175

130

13

8

15

0

15

9

161

3rd grade- secondary school

(100)

154

7.1

171

132

14

3

15

6

16

2

162

1st grade- high school

(n=115)

155

7

167

144

14

8

15

6

16

1

166

2nd grade- high school

(n=106)

157

4.8

168

141

14

9

15

8

16

3

165

3rd grade-high school

(n=120")

157

6.6

171

144

14

8

15

7

16

3

156

End of high school

(n=100)

159

6.5

177

145

15

0

15

8

16

6

168

Discussion

Our findings showed that current design of school furniture in educational facilities un­der study in majority was not compatible with the purposed dimensions. In some cases, it was found that the furniture was made of non-wooden materials e.g. metal furniture! Moreover, the same size furniture was in use from secondary schools to high schools.

After data collection, according to ISO 5970 procedure, all studied pupils, divided into four groups. In the first group, including both genders in first grade of secondary school, size 3 of ISO 5970 was purposed for redesign of school furniture. In the second group, including boys in second and third grade of secondary school, size 4 of ISO 5970 was purposed for redesign of school furniture. Accordingly, in the third group in­cluding girls from second grade of secon­dary school to end of high school, size 4 of ISO 5970 was purposed for redesign of school furniture. In forth group including high school boys, size 5 of ISO 5970 was purposed for redesign of school furniture (Table 4).

Table 4: Grouping of pupils according to ISO 5970

Groups

Mean of Height (cm)

ISO Size

Group1: Boys and Girls

1st grade of secondary school

143

ISO SIZE3

Height: 130-148 cm

Group 2: Boys

2nd and 3rd grade of secondary school

148-157

ISO SIZE4

Height: 148-162 cm

Group 3: Girls

2nd grade of secondary school to end of high school

150-159

ISO SIZE4

Height: 148-162

Group 4: Boys

1st grade to end of high school

165-172

ISO SIZE 5

Height: 162-184

Redesign of school furniture according to group­ing proposed in table 4 is regarded as an easy ergonomics solution to incompati­bil­ity of current design of school furniture.

Our findings showed that current design of school furniture is not compatible with the pur­posed dimensions. In most cases, the same size furniture was in use from secon­dary schools to high schools.

Acknowledgements

The author gratefully acknowledges the sup­port of the Research Deputy, Hamadan Uni­versity of Medical Sciences.

References

  1. Aagaard-Hansen J, Saval P, Steino P, Storr-Paulsen A. Back health of stu¬dents. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2001; 85(2): 41-8.
  2. Parcells C, Stommel M, Hubbard RP. Mismatch of classroom furniture and student body dimensions. Journal of Adolescent Health. 1999; 24(4): 265-73.
  3. Evans WA, Courtney AJ, Fok KF. The design of school furniture for Hong Kong school children: an anthropomet¬ric case study design. Applied Ergo¬no¬mics. 1988; 19(2):122-34.
  4. ISO 5970, Chairs and tables for edu¬ca¬tional institutions functional sizes. International Organization for Stan¬dardi¬zation, 1979.


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