In March, The Shire of Northam in Western Australia was 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 the cost of replacing 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 of 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.
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.
Our consultants love to have a chat, so go ahead and give us a call on 1300 OHS RTW (647 789) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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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