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Ergonomics in the workplace is a health and safety requirement: Here's how to ensure your office chairs comply

by , 17 January 2013
Employees are no longer content to sit for long periods on office chairs that don't feel comfortable or allow them to adjust to what suits them so they can work ergonomically at their desk. While this may seem like a given, it wasn't all that long ago that the office chair was viewed simply as an expensive, high-backed leather perk reserved for executives. While the importance of aesthetics or prestige hasn't faded, our definition of what an office chair ought to do has changed dramatically. In fact, if your office chairs aren't ergonomic, you could be putting your employees' health and safety at risk.

Linda Trim reports on HR Pulse the following three health and safety factors you need to remember when investing in a new office chair.
 
These three tips will help you ensure your office chairs are ergonomic:
 
Tip #1: How long are you going to be sitting in the office chair for?If you're planning on buying an office chair to use for shorter stretches of time, consider how you're going to use the office chair. If you're planning on buying an office chair to use for longer stretches of time, remember that each part of the office chair—the arms, seat, lumbar support region and upper back—all need to adapt to specific parts of the body to ensure your health and safety while allowing you to work ergonomically. The contours of the seat and the back should make you feel supported while properly orienting you to the workspace around you. 
 
Tip #2: When you test office chairs, pay attention to ergonomic factors like pressure points on your body
Consider it a health and safety red flag if you notice an undue amount of pressure on any one location. It's also helpful to realise that no matter how great the office chair actually is, its ergonomic design can really only go so far. At the end of the day, it's up to the user to make the most of the adjustments available. 
 
Tip #3: Do your health and safety homework before buying a new office chair!
While the myriad of office chairs to choose from might seem tricky, you'll be able to make the most of the ergonomic options and health and safety features available within any given price range if you do a bit of research before heading out to make your purchase. It'll pay off in the long run as you'll have happier, healthier employees who don't complain about back ache or get up every 10 minutes as they can't get comfortable. Go for the most ergonomic choice to ensure your employees' health and safety.
 
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