For many years seating companies and DSE assessment companies have focussed on the limb measurements of individuals in order to influence or suggest the selection of a particular combination of seat pad size, backrest heights or armrest adjustment levels. Indeed, this practice has resulted in the creation of indicative average (anthropometric) measurements in order to determine the “correct” sizes for the purposes of the creation of norms.
However, limb measurements are implicitly 2-dimensional – point A to point B – without a true relation to other more 3-dimensional characteristics. This is particularly true when assessors try to measure individuals with unusual body proportions caused by the distribution of their body volume.
Implicit in the process of limb length measurement is the need for the user to be seated. This brings new and unexpected implications to any recorded measurements. This is particularly the case for individuals who possess a higher level of body volume at the rear, large thighs or large calves. We can refer to this as a user with “Excess Lower Body Volume”- ELBV.
Users with ELBV often demonstrate a longer popliteal (buttock to inside knee) length due to the additional body layers at the rear. This body volume distribution can also result in heightening the position of the body on the chair so that the position of the lumbar is also raised. There is also a possibility that the popliteal length is reduced because of the body volume at the rear of the calf that corresponds with the position of the front of the seat pad.
The purpose of these examples is simply to illustrate that it is often an understanding of the 3-dimensional interaction of a user’s Body Shape that influences the correct size or “fit” of chair for the individual, rather than a simpler assessment based on 2-dimensional measurement.
In 2013, Status adjusted its Anthropometrical Data Sheet to include an indication of body shape, also adjusting its assessment sheet to be known as a Body Shape Assessment Form.
Limb measurements are important, but having a more representative indication of a person’s shape helps employers to find a chair that is more likely to be a “fit” for the individual.