The ability to work comfortably is a crucial part of laboratory design. Choosing the right lab chair requires many important considerations, including considering whether or not one type of chair can meet your entire lab’s seating requirements.
(We’ll give you a hint: it probably can’t, unless your lab only has one type of workstation.) The choice also requires knowing how chairs will perform in regard to your lab’s safety needs.
Here are some of the key elements to consider when choosing laboratory chairs.
Different areas of your laboratory space require different seating arrangements based on what type of work is being performed. Your lab’s overall design must inform your furniture choices; for example, high lab benches require lab stools rather than more typical chairs.
Computer workstations will require lower chairs, and if you expect that people will be spending a long time doing computer work, you will want to find ergonomic furniture that can support this work.
The importance of comfort is a primary consideration that needs to take the type of work done in the lab into account. Are the people working in the lab going to be sitting for hours on end, or are they going to be moving around a lot?
The more sitting, the more comfort is required.
Ergonomic design goes beyond just comfort. Choosing the correct ergonomically designed chair will help prevent back pain and other health concerns, making work physically more comfortable and allowing your lab’s employees to be as productive as possible.
When you’re selecting ergonomic lab stools and chairs, there are a few principles to keep in mind. Adjustable height is key; you want your employees to be able to sit with their knees at a 90-degree angle and have their feet resting comfortably on the ground.
Footrests can make tall bench seats more ergonomic and easier for lab staff to use. Many chairs come with built-in foot rings that allow leg support in any position.
Lab stools may not have backrests, but seating with adjustable backrests should allow the backrest to be moved for lumbar support. Laboratory staff needs to be able to maintain proper posture, and a chair with a backrest that is adjustable both horizontally and vertically will properly support the lumbar area of the back.
If your lab’s work involves a lot of typing, armrests should also be moveable or even removable so that someone can work with their elbows at a 90-degree angle. If your work involves having to lean forward to look into a microscope or other instrument, a forward seat tilt option should be considered.
This will allow your staff to maintain an open hip angle and will relieve the added pressure exerted on the lumbar area of the back when leaning forward.
Finally, the height of your work surface determines the appropriate seat height of your chair. It can be uncomfortable to climb into a chair with a seat height of over 29 inches, especially for employees under 5’2” in height, so these chairs should have footrests that will help people get into them.
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Your laboratory’s safety needs may dictate some of the seating options you have available. Some labs may require vinyl upholstery to prevent bacterial contamination and growth.
Others may require colorfast treatment on the upholstery or flame-retardant fabric in settings where sparks may occur.
ESD (electrostatic discharge or electrostatic dissipation) protection is also an option for seating. These chairs reduce the amount of static electricity generated by sitting in them and discharge any static buildup safely through the floor.
Cleanrooms often require this type of seating, as do labs where sensitive electronics are used or built. ESD laboratory chairs are readily available in numerous shapes and configurations, so ESD concerns should not be a barrier to using the type of chair that’s best suited for your lab space.
Specific Considerations For Lab Spaces
Certain types of lab spaces have more stringent requirements for their seating. This might be due to who uses the lab, or due to what the lab does.
Cleanrooms have highly specific chair needs. These include the need to reduce particle generation and the need to be comfortable while operating in a cleanroom gown.
Adjustability tends to generate dust particles. This means that the safest option will always be a non-adjustable chair. However, non-adjustable chairs can be uncomfortable for employees to use.
The best solution is to use a chair that has its controls covered. This keeps any particles generated sealed within the chair itself, so they won’t impact your cleanroom environment.
Static control stools may also solve this problem.
Another important consideration is the cleanroom gown. Chairs with a forward tilt promote good posture, but they also will likely make your employees slip down while they’re gowned.
Consult your employees who spend time in the cleanroom about what they want.
Healthcare labs are frequently wet labs, which means that chair upholstery is an important concern. Accidental spills can occur, which makes ordinary fabric upholstery a poor choice.
They don’t have any ability to resist chemical exposure without staining. They can also absorb and retain unpleasant chemical odors, especially at the seams.
Self-skinning foam is a good chair material for these situations, as it can be wiped down very easily.
For patient-facing healthcare labs, like phlebotomy labs, an easy swivel, and high mobility means that the practitioner can easily move their chair or stool around patients while responding to patient needs and grabbing items stored in the room. Staying seated for this makes the patient care process quicker and easier.
Choosing chairs for a high school or college lab space comes with a particular set of challenges due to the high volume of different people using the space. Lab chairs and stools in this kind of space need to be durable and able to withstand frequent use by lots of different people with different body sizes.
The best chairs for school labs are heavy-duty and rugged. Polyurethane chairs with hard bodies and nonadjustable frames may be the best option because they do not need replacement as frequently as other types of chairs.
Need Laboratory Chairs?
Now that you have an idea of what kind of chairs your lab may require, shopping for them couldn’t be easier. At OnePointe Solutions, we carry all the chair options you could need.
We have created our own line of chairs to bring you the best seating solutions at the best prices, and we have also partnered with BioFit and BIMOS to ensure that you have a great range of options. We’re confident that we have the chairs your lab needs.
Our laboratory chairs feature the latest advancements in lab ergonomics, such as contoured waterfall cushions and 6-way armrests, for improved posture and blood circulation. The chairs we make come with an industry-leading 15-year-warranty, and we have ESD, cleanroom, and medical options.
We can even offer antibacterial vinyl for chairs used in a healthcare setting.
No matter what chairs you choose, OnePointe Solutions has the perfect solution for your lab’s seating needs. Contact us online or give us a call at 866-612-7312 to speak to one of our expert lab designers about your lab’s seating needs!