Ergonomic Designs

Though ours is the Industrial Engineering Department, we have to strive hard to get the concept accepted by the management, as there exists resistance for any change. The students of the Third Year Engineering class collected Anthropometric data over the last four years. This data was statistically analyzed to get various percentile figures for Indian 15-25 year population. Based upon this data we have designed the bench, which we are in the process of getting fabricated in the near future. Results: It is expected that the new bench design will provide considerable comfort to the students.

Ergonomic Product Design: Classroom Bench Author: Prof. Shriram M. Sane Co-author: Ms. Varsha Karandikar, Paarth Savale, Industrial and Production Engineering Department, Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, 666, Upper Indira Nagar, Bibwewadi, Pune 411037. Introduction: The primary motive of Ergonomics is to provide comfortable and stress free working environment. Ergonomics has wide spread applications in almost every aspect of our surroundings, ranging from offices, factories, educational facilities to everyday domestic actions, sports and other recreational activities.

Poor ergonomic designs often lead to contemporary plagues such as spinal ailments, carpel tunnel syndrome, back and neck pain, general fatigue, strained eyes and repetitive strain injuries. Unless a conscious effort is made by us to address the issues related to ineffective ergonomic designs, it will continue to result in increased medical costs and loss of productivity. • In today’s educational environment a student is required to sit on benches for at least four to six hours per day. In the present scenario we observe very poor bench design from the ergonomic point of view.

Long seating hours in these improperly designed benches may cause health problems in the younger generation hampering their other physical activities. It is also observed that due to improper design of this bench, there is wastage of space as well as material. Methodology: i. Anthropometrical data of students and their associates was collected by batches of three consecutive years (2001-2004) of the students. ii. The various number of data points were gradually increased over the period of the collection. Each student was required to collect data of a minimum of 10 other people besides him/herself. ii. The entire data of all the years was assimilated in order to create a combined database of anthropometrical data sorted according to age, gender, regionalism, etc iv. The data is further utilized for the design of various ergonomically viable items. Based on the data collected, we have proposed an ergonomically designed bench. In the current educational scenario the classroom bench is a crucial component of a healthy working environment. Disadvantages of Existing Bench Design: The existing bench design have been in use for the last decade or so.

Yet these designs have never been modified in order to comply with ergonomic requirements. Contrary to popular belief, sitting, which most people believe is relaxing, is in fact a hard task for the back and the legs. Sitting for long periods of time can cause increased pressure on the intervertebral discs. Listed below are a few of the common ailments observed: ? The space between the tabletop and the backrest is very large. This requires the students to shift forward and lean forward while writing or move the arm away from the body. The backrest is completely vertical and is therefore extremely taxing on the back. The backrest also does not provide complete support for the back and lumber area. It also does not support the natural curvature of the back. ? The width of the bench-top is not sufficient to support the forearm properly while writing. This suspended position of the forearm induces fatigue. Despite of the length of the tabletop, it does not provide suitable space for stationary. ? It was observed that the students rest their feet on the cross bar provided in the front rather than on the floor.