Guide to "ergonomics and office chairs" for use in the field

Project No. BGIA 4175


completed 12/2009


As the number of office workplaces grows, lack of movement increases in significance as a risk factor for musculoskeletal disorders. One possible preventive approach is that of promoting movement at the workplace. This includes the use of ergonomic office chairs embodying a range of design concepts which are intended to promote dynamic sitting.
In a comparative ergonomic study of dynamic office chairs (BGIA Project 4130), the BGIA - Institute for Occupational Safety and Health had studied a range of office chair principles. During the associated laboratory and field studies, significant observations were gathered which may be very useful to companies during the procurement of office chairs. At the initiative of the VBG (the institution for statutory accident insurance and prevention int the administrative sector), the findings were therefore to be compiled in the form of a VBG "InfoMap" and a technical information leaflet.


The results of BGIA Project 4130 were evaluated with consideration for the aspects of cost-effectiveness, individual user characteristics, safety, ease of use, and ergonomic design. The results of the evaluation were then to be compiled in a VBG "Info-Map", which was intended to appeal not least to SMEs. In addition, an information leaflet was to be created which provides office chair users with information on adjustment for ergonomic use following purchase.


A VBG Info-Map was produced with the title: "Spoilt for choice: how do I purchase the right chair"/"Assistance and criteria for the selection of office chairs". Besides tips and information on ergonomics, cost-effectiveness and individual use, the Info-Map also contains an overview of test and quality marks for office chairs. An overview of different design principles of office chairs, including particularly dynamic office chairs, is also provided and describes their characteristic properties.
In addition, an information sheet has been produced with the title (in German): "Which lever should I start with?". Its purpose is to facilitate ergonomic adjustment and use of the office chair.

Last Update:

28 May 2013


Research institution(s):
  • BGIA - Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung


Type of hazard:

work-related health hazards


Bildschirmarbeit, Ergonomie, Muskel-Skelett-Erkrankungen (außer Krebserkrankungen)

Description, key words:

office and VDU workplaces, office chair, ergonomics, guide to purchasing