Ergonomic evaluation of school furniture in Slovenia: From primary school to university

Work. 2022;73(1):229-245. doi: 10.3233/WOR-210487.


Background: Adequate school furniture is important to prevent musculoskeletal discomfort among students.

Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the suitability of school furniture compared to body dimensions of students.

Methods: A cross-sectional study included a total of 442 students from primary school, secondary school, and university. Nine body dimensions along with five furniture dimensions were measured and equations for mismatch criteria were applied.

Results: In primary school, differences in body dimensions were more evident among students of different age, while in secondary school and university, differences between male and female students became more apparent. The mismatch for desk height ranged from 100.0% at primary school to 48.0% at university. Similarly, the seat height mismatch was the most evident in primary school (89.7% -94.6%), lower at university (52.0%) and the lowest in secondary school (18.0%). The seat depth mismatch was present among all groups, ranging from 23.1% to 40.4%, and was in general more pronounced in males. Seat to desk clearance mismatch was the most evident among secondary school students. In primary school, seat and desk height were generally too high for most of students.

Conclusions: Specific differences in body dimensions among groups of students of different age and gender were observed and a high student-furniture mismatch was identified in all educational institutions. Implementation of adjustable school furniture, covering at least two size marks, is needed to provide ergonomic and healthy learning conditions and to further enhance the comfort and well-being of students in the classroom.

Keywords: Classroom; furniture; school ergonomics; students.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ergonomics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interior Design and Furnishings*
  • Male
  • Schools*
  • Slovenia
  • Universities