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OCC-HEALTH  May 2012

OCC-HEALTH May 2012

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Subject:

Re Workplace furniture

From:

Catherine Tye <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Occupational Health mailing list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 4 May 2012 22:24:56 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (47 lines)

Hi Rachael,

In my view at the end of the day it depends on the purchasing approach of the organisation.... buy anything as long as it is the same colour (I worked for an organisation who ordered 220 identical chairs and said well if someone has a problem they can go to OH and get the 'special' chair - Arrgh!) or buy cheap and replace more often or invest and they last longer. Neither is right or wrong. Cheaper chairs tend to have a warranty of 2 years but more robust ones 5 years.

For me, at the end of the day fit (poor fit can cause problems - you would not wear poor fitting shoes as they will cause pain and limping etc), choice (employees feeling consulted and in control) and safe working loads are the most important aspects - usually a choice of three chairs will fit most needs - particularly if you have chairs with a rock mechanism (for those peeps who won't get up and move, or long working hours or known back problems), independent back tilt, seat slide, choice of back dimensions and shape and a chair suitable for broad/heavy/tall frame and chairs more suited to those with upper limb problems (as opposed to most chairs which are designed for lower back support) etc. The commonest issue I see is that gas mechanisms deflate so the chairs don't hold their height, in cheap chairs the seat padding gets squashed so you can 'feel' the chair frame through them and high quality chairs not setup for individuals so useful functions not used.

Under the Provision and use of work equipment regulations chairs for office based staff form part of an employee's work equipment so they need to meet the CE/EN standards requirements etc. Most managers/employers don't think of the desk, computer and chair etc as someone's work equipment. If they considered that an employee spends 37 hours a week in it that actually investing in their comfort results in higher productivity so the business case is - get something that fits, is comfortable, simple to use, train employees one how to setup their workstation and how to adjust it, give chair instructions out, train assessors well and give the employee choice = higher productivity, reduced absence from backs/necks in spasm etc, etc!

Like anything I encourage managers to plan for a chair replacement programme so they replace a certain number each year and budget in advance accordingly, how is that for cunning!?

Oh, and the discounts on chairs that can be negotiated with suppliers are huge :0) Push hard!

I'll get off my soapbox now! Have a fun bank holiday weekend! Yay!

Kind Regards,
Catherine





Date:    Wed, 2 May 2012 08:04:46 +0100
From:    Rachael Mclachlan <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Workplace Furniture

Good Morning,

I wonder if anyone else has any views on this topic...

We currently purchase chairs etc from a well known large office supplies company and dont usually spend more than 50pound on a chair for  anyone in our organisation, not even our office based staff who sit at their desks for a considerable amount of time (in the region of 65 staff).  I am thinking of trying to persuade my organisation to look at what and who we are ordering from and compare the quality, workmanship, functionality and after care service.

Is this reasonable or do you think I am fighting  a losing battle?

I really would appreciate your views on this one, and as always I look forward to your responses!

Rgds
Rachael

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