Did you know ?
In a typical year the average office chair spends around 2000 hours in use, over a working life that’s more than 10 years of constant use! Slightly less for laboratory chairs, but also slightly more in some industrial environments. Most would agree that something which has such a big impact on physical comfort and well being is something worth spending time on to get right. Chairs are often purchased without any form of consultation with the end user to ensure that they are given the best chair for its intended use.
The best way to choose a chair is to see which fits your personal shape, often a chair which seems comfortable initially can cause problems after an extended period of use.
The best chair is the one you find most comfortable. For a chair to be comfortable it has to adjust to your personal shape, and everyone is different.
Sitting properly in a well-fitted chair helps to limit back strain and discomfort. Since one size does not fit all, make sure that as a minimum, your chair has: seat adjustment, backrest adjustment and armrest adjustment.
So what do you need to consider?
When choosing a chair, employers need to consider the needs of the individual, the type of work being carried out and the dimensions of the workstation. There are simple basic checks to ensure that seating is safe and suitable:
• Is the chair comfortable for the intended period of use?
• Is the lower back adequately supported?
• Is the upholstery sufficiently supportive and comfortable?
• Are edges sufficiently padded and shaped to prevent uncomfortable pressure on the thighs?
• Does the chair have adequate types and ranges of adjustment?
• Is the height adjustable to allow work to be carried out at or below elbow n height?
• Does the backrest adjust sufficiently in height and depth to allow the user to gain support?
• Are armrests suitable for the task and workstation?
• Do the armrests allow the user to bring the chair far enough forward?
• Do the armrests allow adequate arm movement?
• Are footrests required and, if so, are they suitable?
• Are there special requirements for a chair at this particular workstation?
• Are there special user requirements?
• Are there special task requirements?
The above items should be considered both when choosing new chairs, but can equally be used to assess that existing seating is of the correct type.