Back in March The Shire of Northam in Western Australia were ordered to pay the Education Department a whopping $220 000 following an incident where an Ikea chair collapsed causing a serious knee injury to a visiting teacher.
The court was advised that the same style of chair had collapsed previously and the chairs were not suited to the environment in which they were being used. The Council argued that replacing the cost of the chairs would be excessive however the court found that the cost of doing so was “insignificant when one thinks of the harm that could have been foreseen”.
Chairs must be fit for purpose including the environment in which they operate, and often by buying cheap office chairs this can be overlooked. So what should you keep in mind next time you look for office chairs?
Things To Remember When Buying Your Next Office Chair:
- Look For Chairs That Have Levers For Adjustable Height
All ergonomic chairs should have a height adjustable seat. Usually between 16 to 21 inches is a good height to have feet firmly planted on the floor.
- Consider The Width and Depth
You should look for a chair that is about 17 to 20 inches in width and 2 to 4 inches in depth.
- Check The Lumbar Support
This is the support given to your lower back. Lumbar support is an extremely important component to ergonomics as most lower back pain and injuries occur from poor lumbar support. Ensure the office chair has adjustable lumbar support for height and depth.
- Ensure the backrest is of a suitable width
Last but not least, good overall back support will have the backrest between 12 to 19 inches.
We’ve developed a handy poster outlining the best ergonomic practices that you can hang at home or in the workplace. Feel free to download and share it to friends or colleagues.
An ergonomic assessment is an efficient way to determine if your chairs are fit for purpose. At Recovery Partners, our team is dedicated to providing accurate ergonomic assessments and risk management for a range of industries.
If you’re interested, you can enquire through our online referral system here. Alternatively, our consultants love to have a chat, so give us a call on
1300 OHS RTW.
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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