Effect of furniture weight on carrying, lifting, and turning of chairs and desks among elementary school children

LU'Lu' Purwaningrum, Kyotaro Funatsu, Jinghong Xiong, Cucuk Nur Rosyidi, Satoshi Muraki

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Rearranging furniture in elementary school classrooms encourages classroom activities. In elementary schools in Indonesia and some other developing countries, usually only one style of furniture is used for all children, and the furniture is heavy and oversized for younger children. This affects their ability to carry it. The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of elementary school furniture weight and children's age on performance of three carrying tasks (carrying a chair, lifting and turning a chair on a desk, and carrying both a chair and a desk together), from the ergonomics point of view. A total of 42 schoolchildren (ages 6-9; 17 Indonesian, 25 Japanese) participated in this study. Two types of Japanese chairs (Chair A and B, weight: 3.2 kg and 3.9 kg), one type of Indonesian chair (Chair C, weight: 5.0 kg), and two types of desks (height: 58 cm and 68 cm) were used. Indonesian chairs took significantly longer time to carry than the two Japanese chairs, and there was a significant negative relationship between age and task time for Chairs B and C, but not Chair A. Success rates for lifting and turning the chair declined as age decreased and chair weight increased, but were not significantly influenced by desk height. Success rates for carrying a chair and desk together significantly decreased with heavier furniture. Children aged six showed an extremely low success rate in almost all conditions. In conclusion, children's ability to carry furniture is affected by their age and furniture characteristics, especially weight. In order to encourage classroom activities in elementary school, school furniture should be of appropriate weight. Supervision for younger children is required during classroom furniture arrangement.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0128843
    JournalPloS one
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 8 2015

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
    • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
    • General


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