Assessment of dental student posture in two seating conditions using RULA methodology - a pilot study

Br Dent J. 2007 Nov 24;203(10):601-5. doi: 10.1038/bdj.2007.1047.


Objectives: To assess dental students' posture on two different seats in order to determine if one seat predisposes to a difference in working posture.

Design: A between-subject experimental design was selected.

Setting: The study was undertaken at the University of Birmingham School of Dentistry in 2006. Subjects (materials) and methods Sixty second year dental students at the University of Birmingham who were attending their fi rst classes in the phantom head laboratory were randomly selected and allocated to two different seats (30 Bambach Saddle Seats and 30 conventional seats). Students were trained in the use of the seats. After ten weeks, the students were observed, photographs were taken by the researcher and these were assessed using Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA).

Main outcome measures: The posture of the students was assessed using the RULA. Each student was given a risk score. A Mann Whitney test was used for statistical analysis.

Results: The results indicated that the students using the conventional seat recorded significantly higher risk scores (p <0.05) when compared with the students using Bambach Saddle Seat, suggesting an improvement in posture when using the Bambach Saddle Seat.

Conclusion: RULA has identified that dental students using a Bambach Saddle Seat were able to maintain an acceptable working posture during simulated dental treatment and this seating may reduce the development of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dental Equipment
  • Equipment Design
  • Ergonomics / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Posture* / physiology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Students, Dental*
  • Upper Extremity / physiology*