Allen Nnanwuba Adum, Uche Victor Ebeze, Uchenna Patricia Ekwugha, Charles Chukwuemeka Okika


This study examines the Nigerian university students awareness of health implications of inappropriate ergonomic furniture. It sought to determine how knowledgeable Nigerian university students are on appropriate ergonomic chairs, how ergonomically appropriate the student-centred facilities like lecture halls, libraries, laboratories, relaxation centres and examination halls in Nigerian public universities are, the extent to which the students experience symptoms suggesting musculoskeletal disorder, and their awareness of the health implications of inappropriate ergonomic chairs. Survey research method was employed while the questionnaire served as the instrument for data collection. The respondents chosen were students of federal universities selected from the southeastern states. 400 copies of the questionnaire were distributed while 386 copies were returned and found useable. Health belief model was also employed to determine the ways the respondents take health preventive actions against one-size-fits-all furniture ergonomics. Findings generally demonstrate that majority of the students do were not aware of the health implications of in adequate furniture. Also, majority of them do not report the symptoms of musculoskeletal disorder despite the fact that they experience such symptoms which arose as a result of their prolong usage of inadequate furniture. It is, therefore, recommended that the university management provide appropriate ergonomic chairs in order to reduce ergonomic injuries and an improved learning environment.

Full Text:



Aboyade W.A., (1999). Computer literacy in secretarial practice in Nigeria: A dipstick paper. Available at: http://www.ijeunilorin.net/junel1999/computer%20 literacy%20in%20

Adedoyin, R. A., Idowu, B. O., Adagunodo, R. E., & Idowu, P. A., (2004). Musculoskeletal pain associated with the use of computer systems in Nigeria. The Internet Journal of Pain, Symptom Control and Palliative Care, 3(2), pp. 1-8.

Alnaser, M. Z. & Wughalter, E. H. (2009). Effect of chair design on ratings of discomfort. Work,


Anderson, G.B.J. (1999). Epidemiological features of chronic low back pain. Lancet, 354, 581-5.

Artie MacPhearson (2014). What Are Ergonomic Chairs? Office Products & Supplies writer. Retrieved, June 2014, at: http://www.answers.com/guides/what-are-ergonomic-chairs.

Ashraf, A. S. & Mahmoud, A. A. (2007). Office Ergonomics: Deficiencies in Computer Workstation Design. International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics (JOSE), 13, 2, 215-223.

Balague, F., Troussier, B. & Salminen, J. J. (1999) Non-specific low back pain in children and adolescents: risk factors. European Spine Journal, 8, 429-438.

Barrero, M., Hedgewith, A. (2002). Computer environments for children: A review of design issues. Work, 18,227-237.

Bendix, T., (1987). Adjustment of the Seated Workplace. Copenhagen: Laegeforeningens Forlag,

Bendix, T., (1987). Adjustment of the seated workplace-with special reference to heights and inclinations of seat and table. Daniel medical bulletin, 34, (3), 125-139.

Bendix, T., & Biering-Sorensen, F. (1983) Posture of the trunk when sitting on forward inclining seats. Scand J. Medical Rehabilitation, 15,197-203.

Bennett, C., (2001). Classrooms and computers: An elementary school case study, In Bittner, AC, Champney, & Morrissey S. J. (Ed.) Advances in Occupational Ergonomics and Safety, Netherlands: IOS Press, pp. 354-360.

Bratton, R. L. (1999). Assessment and management of acute low back pain. AmFam Physician, 60, 229-306.

Bridger, R. (1988). Postural adaptations to a slopping chair and work surface. Human Factors, 30, 237-47.

Bridger, R. Von Eisenhar-Rothe, C. & Henneberg, M. (1989). Effects of seat slope and hip flexion on spinal angels in sitting. Human Factors, 31, 679-88.

Brown, M. (2006). Trends in learning space design. In D. Oblinger (Ed.) Learning spaces(chapter9).Sourcedfrom http://www.educause.edu/learningspaces ch9

Burton, A. K., Clarke, R. D., McClune, T. D. & Tillotson, K. M. (1996). The natural history of low back pain in adolescents. Spine, 21, 2323-2328.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (2014). How to Select an ErgonomicChair.Retrievedfrom.http: //www.canadiancentreforoccupationalhealthandsafety.org

Carrol, J. M. (1997). Human-Computer Interaction: Psychology as a Science of Design. An International Journal of Psychological Projection and Design, 24, (48), 61-83.

Castellucci, H. I., Arezes, P. M., & Viviani, C. A. (2010). Mismatch between classroom furniture and anthropometric measures in Chilean schools. Applied Ergonomics, 41, 563-568.

Chaffin, D. & Anderson, G. (1991). Occupational biomechanics. Wiley, New York, pp 254-260.

Chakrabarti, D. & Das, A. (2004). Design development of a new seat-desk unit suitable. For Indian school children. Proceedings of National Conference on Humanizing Work and Work Environment, National Institute of Industrial Engineering.

Chaudhary, N., Sharma, D., Grover, R. & Nainwal, U. (2004). Mismatch between classroom furniture dimensions and student anthropometric characteristics: A study of schools of Pantnagar. Proceedings of National Conference on Humanizing Work and Environment, National Institute of Industrial Engineering.

Chung, B. Y., Park, K. S. (1986). An ergonomics study of standard sizes of educational chairs and desks. Ergonomic Society Korea, 5, (1), 29-41.

Chung, J. W. Y., Wong, T. K. S. (2007). Anthropometric evaluation for primary school furniture design, Ergonomic; 50 (3): 323-334.

Corlett, E. N. (2009). Ergonomic and sitting at work. Work, 34, 235-238.

Cotton, L. M., O “Connell, D. G., Palmer, P. P., Rutland, M. D. (2002). Mismatch of school desks and chairs by ethnicity and grade level in middle school. Work, 18, 269-280.

Cranz, G. (2000). The Alexander Technique in the world of design: posture and the common chair. Bodywork Movement Ther, 4, (2), 90-98.

Croney, J. (1971). Anthropometric for designers. London: B. T. Bats ford Ltd. pp11

Das, A., & Chakrabarti, D. (2004). Role of free postural adoption on performance and informal workplace design. Proceedings of National Conference on Humanizing Work and Work Environment, National Institute of Industrial Engineering, April, Mumbai.

Doll, J. (2012) A Pain In The Class: Why Classroom Ergonomics Are Key: Retrieved from http://www.windowshow.com on November 21, 2014.

Douglas, P. (1966). The Challenge of the Computer Utility. (e-book: [online edition]). Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/ebook_computers, on 25 January, 2014.

Elumir, M. D. (2014). Repetitive Stress Injury. Retrieved from

http://www.drelumir.com/cond/general/repetitive-stress-injury on 30th july, 2014.

Emil Pascarelli & Deborah Quilter (2014). Repetitive Strain Injury. Applied Ergonomics, 23,


Eunice (2010). Why Ergonomics is Important. Retrieved from,


Evans, W. A., Courtney, A. J., & Fok, K. F. (1988). The design of school furniture for Hong Kong school children: an anthropometric case study. Applied Ergonomics, 19, 122-134.

Farahani, A. & Shakib, M. (2009). A Survey on Some Skeletal Disorders and Proportionality of Anthropometric Features to School Furniture Dimensions in Primary Students. World J. Sport Society; 2: 266-271. From: http://www.defence.gov.au/dpe/ohsc/publications/Officewise_Publication September 1, 2014.

Frumkin, H., Geller, R. J., Rubin, I. J. & Nodvin, J. (2006). Safe and healthy school

environments. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp 61-62.

Gadge, K., & Innes, E. (2007). An investigation into the immediate effects on comfort, productivity and posture of the Bambach TM saddle seat and a standard office chair. Work, 29, 189-203.

Gee, L. (2006). Human-centered design guidelines. In D. Oblinger (Ed.) Learning spaces(chapter10).Availablefromhttp://www.educause.edu/learningspaces ch10

Georgiou, P. (2013). Are Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) Covered Under Workers’

Compensation. Retrieved from: http://www.petergeorgiou.com on September 1, 2014.

Gerencher, K. (2010). Sitting too long raises risk of early death from all causes. Retrieved from: http://www.petergeorgiou.com on August 3, 2014.

Glanz, K., Rimer, B. K., & Lewis, F. M. (2002). Health behavior and health education. Journal of the Human Environmental System, 5, 12-16.

Goldtouch, A. C. (2014) Ergonomics in the Classroom: Student Edition. Retrieved from http://www.saharareports.com on March 4, 2014.

Gouvali, M. K. & Boudolos, K. (2006). Match between school furniture dimensions and children’s anthropometry. Applied Ergonomics, 37(6), 765-773.

Grimes, P. & Legg, S. (2004). Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in students as a risk factor for adult MSD: a review of the multiple factors affecting posture, comfort, and health in classroom environments. Journal of the Human Environmental System, 7, 1-9.

Harreby, M., Neergaard, K., Hesselsoe, G. & Kjer, J. (1995) Are radiological changes in the thoracic and lumbar spine of adolescents risk factors for low back pain in adults? A 25-years prospective cohort study of 640 school children. Spine, 20, 2298-2302.

Harreby, M., Nygaard, B., Jessen, T., Larsen, E., Storr-Paulsen, A., Lindahl, A., Fisker, I. & Laegaard, E. (1999). Risk factors for low back pain in cohort of 1389 Danish school children: An epidemiologic study. European Spine Journal, 8, 444-450.

Hira, D. S. (1980). An ergonomic appraisal of educational desks. Ergonomics, 23, 213-221.

Hush, J. M., Maher, C. G., & Refshauge, K. M., (2006). Risk factors for neck pain in office workers: a prospective study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 7, (8), 1-5.

International Ergonomics Association. (2010). Retrieved July 21, 2014, from


Ismiala, S. O., Musa A. I., Adejuyigbe S. B., & Akinyemi O. D., (2013) Anthropometric design of furniture for use in tertiary institutions in Abeokuta South-West Nigeria. pp. 179.

Jackson, A. & Day, D. J. (1996). Woodworkers’ manual, revised edition. London, United Kingdom: Harper Collins Publishers Limited. pp 40-55, 216-246.

Jeong, B. Y. & Park, K. S. (1990). Sex differences in anthropometry for school furniture design. Ergonomics, 33, 1511-1521.

Jones, G. T., Macfarlane, G. J. (2005). Epidemiology of low back pain in children and adolescents. Arch Dis child, 90, 312-316.

Jung, H. S. (2005). A prototype of an adjustable table and an adjustable chair for schools. Int. J. Ind. Ergonomics, 35, 955-969.

Keegan, J. (1953). Alterations of the lumbar curve related to posture and seating. J. Bone Joint Surg; 35A, 589-603.

Khanam, N. C., Reddy, V. M., & Mrunalini, A. (2006), Opinion of students on seating furniture used in classroom. Journal Human Ecology 20 (1), 15-20.

Knight G, & Noyes J. (1999). Children’s behavior and the design of school furniture. Ergonomics; 42 (5): 747-760.

Koide, I., (2005). Workplace Improvements in Small Business through Ergonomic Intervention. Toyota Motor Corporation (2005).

Koskelo, R., Vuorikari, K., & Hanninen, O. (2007). Sitting and standing postures are corrected by adjustable furniture with lowered muscle tension in high-school students, Ergonomics; 50 (10): 1643-1656.

Kryger, A. I., Anderson, J. H., Lassen, C. F., Brandt, L. P., Vilstrup, I., Overgaard, E., Thomse, J. F., & Mikkelsen, S., (2003). Does computer use pose an occupational hazard for forearm pain; from the NUDATA study, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 60, pp. 14.

Lefler R. K. (2010) Office chair: choosing the right ergonomic office chair: Retrieved from: http:www.spine-health.com/wellness/ergonomics/office-chair.com on August 4, 2014.

Leoboeuf-Yde, C., & Kyvik, K. O. (1998). At what age does low back pain become a common problem? A study of 29,424 individuals aged 12-41 years. Spine, 23, 228-34.

MacBride Office Furniture. (2014) Ergonomic furniture at Macbride. Retrieved from

http://macbrideofficefurniture.com/ergonomics/ September 1, 2014.

Magnusson, L. M. Pope H. M. (1998). A review of the biomechanics and epidemiology of working postures. J Sound Vib, 215, (4), 965-976.

Mandahawi, N., Imrhan, S., Al-Shobaki, S. & Sarder, B. (2010). ‘Hand anthropometry survey for the Jordian Population’, International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 38, 966-976.

Mandal, A. (1981). The seated man (Homo Sedens), the seated work position, theory and practice. Applied Ergonomics, 12, 16-9.

Mandal, A. C. (1994). The prevention of back pain in school children. In: Lueder R., Noro, K. (Eds.). Hard Facts about Soft Machines: The Ergonomics of Seating. Taylor & Francis, London, pp. 269-277.

Maniakis, A. & Gray, A. (2000). The economic burden of back pain in the Uk. Pain, 84, 95-103.

McCarthy, J. (1960). The Concept, Principle and Practice of Cloud Computing: A Millennium Target. Retrieved from URL www.aol.com/computing/index, on 21 October, 2014.

McVey, G. (1996). Ergonomics and the learning environment. In D. Jonassen (ed.), Handbook of research for education communications and technology. New York: Macmillan.

Miller, H. (2000). Workplace research. Sourced from, http://hermanmiller.com/ Retrieved on September 8, 2014.

Miller, J. (2014). What is RSI?

http://www.spinehealth.com/wellness/ergonomics/wellness/ergonomics/office-chair.com Retrieved on 5 September, 2014.

Mokdad, M., & Al-Ansari, M. (2009). Anthropometrics for the design of Bahraini school furniture, Int. J. Internal Industrial Ergonomics.

Mououdi, M. A., & Choobineh, A. R. (1997). Static anthropometric characteristics of students age range six-11 in Mazandaran province/Iran and school furniture design based on ergonomics principles.

Murphy S, Buckle P., Stubbs D. Schlossberg E. B., Morrow S., & Liosa A. E. (2004).

Classroom posture and self-reported back and neck pain in school children. Applied Ergonomics, 35, 113-120.

Murphy, S., Buckle P., & Stubbs, D. (2007). A cross-sectional study of self-reported back and neck pain among English schoolchildren and associated physical and psychological risk factors, Applied Ergonomics, 38, 797-804.

NCTE (2007). Ergonomics, Health and Safety: Advice Sheet. England. Journal of National Centre for Technology in Education. 29, 2-8.

Ngcapu, S. R. (2006). Computer Ergonomics: Experiences of the Grade One Learner in a Gauteng Online Computer Laboratory. University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Nguyen, B. D. (2003). Evaluation of fitness between school Furniture and children body size in two Primary schools. Haiphong, Vietnam.

NHS (2013). Health Advice and Ergonomically Precautions in Computing. A National Health and Safety Bulletin. Retrieved from http://www.leedsstudentmedicalpractice.co.uk, on 2

October, 2014.

Nutalapati, R., Gaddipati, H., Chitta, M. Pinninti, R. & Boyapati, H. (2009). Ergonomics in Dentistry and the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders in Dentists. Journal of Occupational Health. 1, 1.

Nwuneli, O. (1991). Research strategies in population communication in Africa. Nairobi: Space Sellers Limited.

OFSWA. (Ontario Forestry Safe Workplace Association), (2003). Ergonomics Risk Control Program – Work Design, Processes and Procedures. Available at:www.ergonomics.onta.guide.html. Accessed 22 January, 2014.

Olsen, T. L., Anderson, R. L., Dearwater, S. R. Kriska, A. M., Cauley, J. A., Aaron, D. J. and LaPorte, R. E. (1992) The epidemiology of low back pain in an adolescent population. American Journal of Public Health, 82, 606-608.

Ortiz-Hernandez, L., Tamez-Gonzalez, S., Martinez-Alcantaram S., and Mendez-Ramirez, I., (2003). Computer use increases the risk of musculoskeletal disorders among newspaper office workers. Arch Med Research, 34, (4), 331-342.

Oxford, H. W. (1969). Anthropometric data for educational chairs. Ergonomics, 12, 140-161.

Oyewole, S. A., Haight, J. M. & Frievalds, A. (2010). The ergonomic design of classroom. Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 40 (2010), 437-447.

Ozim, N. A. (2012). The Significance of Ergonomics and Health Implications on Students Practical in Computer Science Laboratory. Ekiti State University, Nigeria. Unpublished Dissertation for B.Sc (Ed).

Panagiotopoulou, G., Christoulas, K., Papanckolaou, A., & Mandroukas, K. (2004). Classroom furniture dimensions and anthropometric measures in primary school. Applied Ergonomics, 35, 121-128.

Parcells, C., Manfred, S., & Hubbard, R., (1999). Mismatch of classroom furniture and body dimensions. Empirical findings and health implications. Adolescent Health, 24, 265-273.

Pleasant, S. (1996). Body space Anthropometry Ergonomics and Design of Work Indianapolis. T. J Press and Incorporation.

Ramadan, M. Z. (2011). Does Saudi school furniture meet ergonomics requirements? Work, 38, 93-101. Retrieved from: http://www.saharareports.com on March 4, 2014.

Robinette, K. M., and McConville, J. T. (2006). An Alternative to Percentile Models. SAE Technical Paper 810217. Society of Auto Engineers, Warrendale, PA.

Saarni, L., Nyga, C. H., Kaukiainen, R. D., & Rimpela, A. (2007). Are the desks and chairs at school appropriate? Ergonomics, 50, (10), 1561-1570.

Salminen, J.J., Erkintalo, M.O., Pentti, J., Oksanen, A. & Kormano, M. J. (1990). Recurrent low back pain and early disc degeneration in the young. Spine, 24, 1316-1321.

Salminen, J. J., Pentti, J. & Terho, P. (1992). Low back pain and disability in 14-year-old schoolchildren. Acta Paediatrica, 81, 1035-1039.

Sanders, M. S., & McCormick, E. J. (1993). Human factors in engineering and design, seventh ed. McGram-Hill International Editions, New York.

Sandstrom, E., & Eaton, A. (2008) Quia- class. Ergonomics, 123

Sarter, N. B. & Cohen, P. R. (2002). Multimodal Information Presentation in Support of Human-Automation Communication and Coordination. A Journal of Advances in Human

Performance and Cognitive Engineering Research, 10, (2), 13-36.

Savanur, C. S., Altekar, C. R., & De, A. (2007). Lack of conformity between Indian classroom furniture and student dimensions: proposed future seat/table dimensions. Ergonomics; 50 (10): 1612-1625.

Savanur, C. S., Ghosh, S., Dhar, U., & De, A. (2004). An ergonomics study of comparison between school classroom furniture and student’s anthropometry. Proceedings of National Conference on Humanizing Work and Work Environment, National Institute of Industrial Engineering.

Scott, C. (2014). Repetitive Strain Injury. Retrieved from:

http://web.eecs.umich.edu/cscott/rsi.html on 30th July, 2014.

Sjolie, N. (2004). Associations between activities and low back pain in adolescents. Scnad J. Med Sci Sports, 14, 352-359.

Soares, M. M., Jacobs, K., Reis, P., Moro, A. R., Da Silva, J., Paschoarelli, L., Nunes Sobrinho, F., Peres, L. (2012). Anthropometric aspects of body seated in school. Work, 41, 907-914.

Straker, L., Briggs, A., Greig, A. (2002). The effect of individually adjusted workstations on upper quadrant posture and muscle activity in school children. Work, 18, 239-248.

Straker, L., Pollock, C., Burgess-Limerick, R. (2006). Excerpts from Cyberg discussion on preliminary guidelines for wise use of computers by children. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 36, (12), 1089-1095.

Taimela, S., Kujala, U. M., Salminen, J., Viljanen, T. (1997). The prevalence of low back pain among children and adolescents. A nationwide, cohort-based questionnaire survey in Finland. Spine, 22, 1132-1136.

Thariq, M. G. M., Munasinghe, H. P. and Abeysekara, J. D. (2010) ‘Designing chairs with mounted desktop for university students: Ergonomics and comfort’, International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 40, (2010), 8-18.

Toomingas, A., Gavhed, D. (2008). Workstation layout and work postures at call centres in Sweden in relation to national law, EU-directives and ISO-standards, and to operators’ comfort and symptoms. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 38, (11), 1051-1061.

Trevelyan, F. C., & Legg, S. J. (2006). Back pain in school children – where to from here? Applied Ergonomics, 37(1), 45-54.

Troussier, B. (1999). Comparative study of two different kinds of school furniture among children. Ergonomics 42, 516-526.

Troussier, B., Tesniere, C., Fauconnier, J., Grison J., Juvin, R., & Phelip, X. (1999).

Comparative study of two different kinds of school furniture among children. Ergonomics, 42, (3), 516-526.

Vikat, A., Rimpela, M., Salminen, J.J., Rimpela, A., Savolainen, A. & Virtanen, S. M. (2000) Neck or shoulder pain and low back pain in Finnish adolescents. Scandiavian Journal of Public Health, 28, 164-173.

Watson, K. D. Papageorgiou, A. C. & Jones, T. J. (2002). Low back pain in school children: occurrence and characteristics. Pain, 97, 87-92.

Wingrat, J. K., & Exner, C. E. (2005). The impact of school furniture on fourth grade children on-task and sitting behavior in the classroom: A pilot study. Work, 25, 263-272.

Woods, V. (2005). Musculoskeletal disorders and visual strain in intensive data processing workers. Occupational Medicine, 55, pp. 121-127.

Work safe Victoria (2006). Office wise – A guide to health and safety in the office. Retrieved from :http://www.defence.gov.au/dpe/ohsc/publications/ Officewise_Publication.pdf.

Yeats, B. (1997). Factors that influence the postural health of school children. Work, 9, 45-55.

Yeats, B. (1997). Factors that may influence the postural health of school children (K-12). Work, 9, 45-55.

Zacharkow, D. (1988). Posture: sitting, chair design and exercise. Springfield, IL: CC. Thomas.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

(c)Rex Commpan Publishing Group