Ergonomics aims to design work and environment for people, thus they can work easily, effectively and safely . The comfort, physical health, well-being, and performance of people can be increased by designing equipment, goods, furniture, and other devices according to the needs of the human body . One of the conditions to support productivity is to ensure that the work spaces and equipments used are conforming to user’s anthropometric and biomechanical characteristics. Karthi Vidhyalaya ICSE School This condition also applies to school environment in which students are using chair and desk during the learning lessons and they are acquire permanent sitting habits for about 6 hours per day . Henceforth, children’s anthropometric measurements are varies in different age groups and even more in the same age groups. Thus, it will leads to the bad postures, musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) or psychological dissatisfaction . Therefore, this study aims to compare the differences in anthropometric data between different ages and gender of the children. In Malaysia, we are lacks of ergonomics assessment for school environment as compared to industrials and occupational setting . The study found that classroom furniture, backrest shape and desk height were significantly associated with the lifetime prevalence of MSD (33%) and neck pain (20.2%) among the primary school children. https://karthividhyalayaicse.com/ Therefore, public health concerns over the effects of bad posture need to be focused on the design of classroom furniture. In addition, this study will look at the percentage of mismatch between the children anthropometric measurements and their school furniture.
A. Recruitment of Subjects A cross-sectional study was done involving 91 primary school children aged 8 (Year 2) and 11 years old (Year 5). Primary school children in Malaysia were divided into level 1 and level 2. In this study, level 1 was represented by Year 2 school children while, Year 5 represented level 2. Stratified random sampling was used to select these school children. There were two primary schools participated in this study which had been chosen by purposive random sampling. The class and respondent name list were obtained from the latest database of each school. Inclusive criteria were Malaysia citizen school children and no disability. Written consent from parents was given to the children and taken back on the day of measurement.
B. Questionnaires Interview questionnaire were distributed to the respondents during school hours. The participants answered all the questions under the supervision and guidance of a researcher. The questionnaires consisted of 3 parts: (1) socio-demographic and background information including: name, age, height, weight, history of disease and matching of chair, (2) selected parameter of chair and desk, (3) selected anthropometric data of children. The second and third parts of the questionnaires were filled up by the researcher during measurement
C. Anthropometric Measurements Anthropometric measurements were collected by using a Martyn type anthropometer. Each of the respondents was asked to sit on a customized made chair. Seven (7) anthropometric measurement (height, weight, popliteal height, buttockpopliteal length, hip breadth, shoulder height and elbow height while sitting) as well as five (5) furniture dimensions (seat height, seat depth, seat width, backrest height and seat to desk height) were taken. The anthropometric measurements were based on methods in MS ISO 7250-1:2008. All measurement were made by the same measurer and recorded by an assistant for four different sessions. During the measurement, children were without shoes. Accuracy and repeatability of the measurements were achieved by intra-tester reliability test.
1) The following anthropometric measurements of student were collected in this study a) Popliteal height Vertical distance from the foot-rest surface to the lower surface of the thigh immediately behind the knee, bent at right angles. b) Buttock popliteal length Horizontal distance from the hollow of the knee to the rearmost point of the buttock. c) Hip breadth Breadth of the body measured across the widest portion of the hips. d) Shoulder height Vertical distance from a horizontal sitting surface to the acromion. e) Elbow height Vertical distance from a horizontal sitting surface to the lowest bony point of the elbow bent at a right angle with the forearm horizontal.
2) For the furniture dimension, the following dimensions were taken (Fig. 2): a) Seat Height Vertical distance from floor to the middle point of the front edge of the seat. b) Seat depth Distance from the back to the front of the sitting surface. c) Seat width Horizontal distance between the lateral edges of the seat with measuring tape. d) Backrest height Vertical distance from the top of the front edge of the seat to the top of front edge of the desk. e) Seat to desk height Vertical distance from the top of the front edge of the seat to the top of front edge of the desk.
D. Data Analysis All data were analyzed using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 18.0. The study hypotheses were tested by using independent sample t-tests and descriptive analyses. The furniture dimensions were matched with children anthropometric data .
According to the obtained data it can be concluded that school’s furniture did not match with the selected anthropometric measurements of the children. Proposed dimension of furniture for Year 2 and Year 5 shows the increased in the percentage of match for backrest height seat height, seat depth and seat to desk height. It is recommended to ergonomically redesign the school furniture. School furniture could be redesigned according to two proposed dimensions that were recommended in more specific on age group and standardize dimensions which based on 5th and 95th percentile of both age groups.