Ergonomics & You

“The strength of a company lies in the backbone of its staff.”

Frequent and long periods spent sitting behind a desk can have a lasting, detrimental effect on your physical and mental well-being, and thus negatively influence personal performance. In fact, cumulative trauma disorders (CTD’S) defined as physical injuries that develop gradually over a period because of repeated biochemical and physiological stresses on a specific body part, have risen dramatically over the years.

The muscles in the back are primarily responsible for holding the human spine upright. In its normal, upright position, the spine can take a lot of strain. However, when subjected to stress by bending (due to weak supporting muscles and poor posture), the health of the inter-vertebral discs can deteriorate, resulting in harmful effects ranging from acute pain to chronic degenerative diseases.

However, we can prevent muscular tenseness by developing healthy posture, stretching, and doing exercises. An essential element is “dynamic posture”: dynamic posture means permanently moving from the central axis to a forward-leaning or reclining position.

A good office chair promotes dynamic posture. The sedentary worker should sit “dynamically” to avoid the muscle cramps and tension that result from static posture. We should all aim for a healthy balance between tensing and relaxing the different muscle groups. To do this the chair you select must permit all seated positions. When we change from standing to sitting the spine is brought out of its physiological S-shape by the twisting of the pelvis into a more or less non-physiological posture. Thus the compressive load onto the inter vertebral discs is increased enormously which may cause the painful herniated vertebral disc.

1. Always sit to the rear of the seat, with your back firmly supported by the backrest.

2. Change your position often, by moving the upper body as frequently as possible to avoid muscular cramps (dynamic posture).

3. Keep the angle at the knees, elbows and hips at least 90 degrees or greater. If possible, tilt the seat forward when leaning over the desk. Use the supporting features provided by your chair.

The Jefferson Swivel Chair’s seat area is much larger and deeper than a standard Windsor’s seat. Here a Jefferson Swivel is next to a New York City Bow Back.

Thomas Jefferson invented the first swivel chair. He went on to become the third President of the United States during (1801–1809). By using an English-style Windsor chair of which was possibly made and purchased from Francis Trumble or Philadelphia cabinet-maker Benjamin Randolph, Thomas Jefferson invented the first swivel chair in 1776. Jefferson heavily modified the Windsor chair and incorporated top and bottom parts connected by a central iron spindle, enabling the top half known as the seat, to swivel on casters of the type used in rope-hung windows.

When the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia in May 1776, Jefferson’s swivel chair is purported to be where he drafted the United States Declaration of Independence. Jefferson later had the swivel chair sent to his Virginia plantation, Monticello, where he later built a “writing paddle” onto its side in 1791

The History of the Ergonomic Chair

In 1968, Wilfred Dauphin, a German, was hired by a British company to research the impact of the computer on office furniture requirements. Because the British firm could not implement his full idea, he and his wife founded their own company out of their garage. Dauphin created the first ergonomic chair–a basic chair that allowed sitters to adjust the back and seat height. The market for these comfortable, adjustable chairs arose in Germany and spread around Europe and into the United States.  MDC-UM has represented the Dauphin company since 1995. The Dauphin company was formed and is recognized as the foremost manufacturer of ergonomic chairs in Europe. Today many companies produce ergonomic type chairs including the HNI corporation in the US, which is the second largest furniture manufacturer in the world manufacturing the following brands –  include The HON Company, Allsteel, Gunlocke, Paoli, Maxon, HBF, Sagus, Heatilator, Heat & Glo, Harman, Quadra-Fire, Lamex and OFM, Inc

Our company represents both corporations and have been solving ergonomic issues for over 25 years.

Mr. Wilfred Dauphin, Natasha Mustapha and Richard Farah at the Orgatec Show in Cologne, Germany on October 22nd, 2000