Businesses risk financial loss if they do not have ergonomic chairs.
Considering the average adult now spends 50-70% of the day sitting at work, it makes sense that priority should be given to ensuring employees are comfortable and healthy while sitting at their workstations. Investing in ergonomic chairs means investing in one of the most valuable assets in your business: your employees.
Ontario employers paid an estimated $1B between 2003 & 2007 on Work-Related Muscular Skeletal Disorders (WMSDs); including back pain, muscle strain, and shoulder pain.
In the USA, Musculoskeletal disorders account for about one-third of all injury and illness costs for businesses.
WMSDs are the number one reason for lost-time claims reported to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). These claims are often more expensive than a sudden accident such as a slip and fall because they often go undetected and worsen over time. Once detected employees take a long time to recover, which means higher medical costs and more lost-time at work. There are also hidden costs including more frequent sick days and loss of productivity leading up to the final claim, as well as costs related to hiring and training temporary replacement staff.
The OSHA defines office ergonomics as, “The science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population.” With the rapid development of computers and other technology, and now more recently the popularity of the open-office design, employers need to make sure that they are keeping up with the regulations and best-practices to reduce the risk of injuries due to poor ergonomics at the office.
Ergonomic Assessment: First Steps to Reduce Financial Risk
First an analysis of your workplace requirements & tasks environment needs to be done, including the building environment (i.e. lighting, air quality, noise), the office design, and the office furniture. Envirotech Office workspace planning consultants work with organizations to assess and make recommendations to optimize their workplace.
What to look for in an Ergonomic Chair
- Seat height is adjustable, and can be adjusted while sitting on the seat.
- Seat width should be at least 1” wider than your hips, but arms should still be able to rest comfortably on the arm rests
- Back of the knees should not be touching the back of the seat when sitting back in the chair.
- Mechanisms to adjust back angle, tilt seat position, seat position lock, tilt tension of the seat. There are various levels of adjustability on different ergonomic chairs.
- Lumbar support – Best lumbar support offers both vertical and depth adjustment
- Armrests should be height adjustable. Some can adjust back and forth, adjust in and out, and some even swing out of the way when not needed.
- The base of the chair should be stable with a minimum of 5 spokes and quality casters.
- Headrests are on some ergonomic chairs. They support the head and help with neck related issues.
Ergonomic chairs in an open-office environment
In an open-office environment, or flexible workspace, where a variety of employees will be sharing task chairs, make sure to get a range in adjustability. Be sure to buy quality ergonomic chairs to get the greatest return on investment. Your employees will appreciate the support these chairs offer and the range of adjustability; and it will prolong the lifecycle of the office chair. Envirotech Office offers quality new, used and remanufactured ergonomic office chairs with a variety of fabrics to match the decor of a modern office.
- www.labour.gov.on.ca – ergonomics guide
- www.thehumansolution.com – how to choose an ergonomic chair
- www.ini.wa.gov – Office Ergonomics, Practical Solutions for a Safer Workplace – PDF
Published – Jan. 9, 2016