Anthropometric perspective to classroom furniture ergonomics and the need for standards in Nigerian schools

Work. 2022;72(1):279-289. doi: 10.3233/WOR-205317.


Background: Classroom furniture designs have been implicated in musculoskeletal disorders among school age persons due to high level mismatches between the furniture dimensions and users' anthropometrics.

Objective: The objective of the study was to analyze classroom furniture ergonomics at selected primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria and to understand if there are noticeable patterns in the match/mismatch.

Method: Anthropometric measures relevant to furniture design were obtained from primary and secondary school children as well as from university undergraduates. The dimensions of classroom furniture available to the participants were also taken and an assessment of the suitability of the furniture was completed.

Result: The ergonomic evaluation of the classroom furniture available to the study participants revealed enormous discrepancies between the furniture dimensions and the anthropometric measures of the users. In addition, a pattern was observed in the way the matches/mismatches occurred. The furniture dimensions that matched majority of the users tend to match across the three categories and those that did not match majority of the students, also followed the same pattern.

Conclusion: The study presents remarkably high levels of mismatches between classroom furniture and users' anthropometrics and therefore calls for a review of the policies for classroom furniture design in Nigeria, if at all any policy exists.

Keywords: Anthropometry; ergonomic design; mismatch; musculoskeletal disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Child
  • Ergonomics
  • Humans
  • Interior Design and Furnishings*
  • Nigeria
  • Schools*