The seated man (Homo Sedens) the seated work position. Theory and practice

Appl Ergon. 1981 Mar;12(1):19-26. doi: 10.1016/0003-6870(81)90089-2.


Modern furniture in schools, factories and offices is constructed in such a way that no one can use it properly. Each day people sit for many hours hunched over their tables in postures extremely harmful to the back. No one should be surprised that more than half of the population today is complaining of backache. In no other field of human activity is a similar gap between theory and reality found. A closer study of 'normal' sitting postures will explain why nobody is able to sit in the 'ideal' position. First of all, the eye in this position is at a distance of 50-60 cm from the book or working material and the axis of vision is horizontal. In addition, this posture requires at least 90 degrees flexion of the hip joint, yet the normal human being can only bend 60 degrees . A considerably better sitting posture can be obtained if the table is tilted about 10 degrees . In this way the book is brought closer and at a better angle to the eye. The worst bending of the neck is thus avoided. Furthermore, the seat can, with advantage, be tilted 20 degrees forward to reduce the flexion of the lumbar region. By both these means the extra 30 degrees flexion, which is the most strenuous part of flexion, is avoided.