Ergonomic aspects
The kitchen is, without a doubt, the most important work area in the household, and kitchen users spend a lot of time here. The majority of people underestimate the amount of work and time spent in the kitchen.
During the lifetime of a kitchen you carry out millions of actions and movements, carry several tons in weight and will have walked further than Lands End to John O’Groats. Altogether you spend on average one month a year in the kitchen.

Knowing this, kitchen planning should be carefully thought out and aspects such as ergonomics and optimized work flows (distance, time) should always be taken into account.

You may have nothing against shelves in bottom cabinets – but your back sure does.
The use of shelves in Base cabinets is poor in ergonomic terms: It makes it very difficult for you to find items since you don’t have an overview of the entire cabinet contents. Quite often you will find that you have to bend or stretch to locate items you are looking for. It is not uncommon to find yourself having to remove some of the contents at the front in order to get to the items at the back.

The better alternative

Shouldn’t the work area make the kitchen

  • Easier to work in and not cause so much stress on the body?
  • Shorten paths thus freeing up more time for more relaxing leisure activities that are kinder on the joints?

Ergonomically recommended storage levels for various items
In general, frequently used items should be stored in easy-to-reach pull-outs near work areas as well as on the first level in the wall units area.

Items used less often can be stored above and below this area. Rarely-used items end up on the top level of wall units and at the bottom level of base units. This saves time during daily kitchen work.

This gains you comfort and time. Drawers and pull-outs enable you to see what you want easily and get your hands on it quickly and in comfort. It makes cooking fun.

Bending & kneeling in the kitchen
Ergonomic factors in the kitchen regarding stress on the body play an important role.

Daily activity in the kitchen is more comparable to a workout in the gym rather than a pleasant stroll in the park. That’s because it involves long distances intertwined with lots of stopping, bending, stretching and acceleration.

And the main cook of a typical four-person household does this, on average, two hours per day!

Download the Blum Storage and Zone Solutions PDF

The OWAS method

In order to demonstrate the ergonomic stress on the body during kitchen activities, the OWAS method has been employed as a tool.

The colored ergonomics model symbolizes different ergonomic stress classes using color coding.

  • Red: very severe stress on the body
  • Orange: severe stress
  • Yellow: light stress
  • Blue: no stress on the body

Bottom line
The red and orange ergonomics model demonstrates the stresses involved in retrieving items from a base cabinet with doors and shelves in a kneeling and bent position.

The yellow ergonomics model, which is accessing a full extension, shows significantly better posture. The maximum stress level is still only yellow even when removing items from the bottom drawer. This activity has none of the awkwardness and strain associated with accessing items from static shelves.

By planning drawers and roll-outs instead of shelves, you can do away with damaging bending and kneeling. You can easily remove storage items using a natural lifting movement.