Why a Chair is a Crucial Health and Safety Component
With so many different types and styles of chairs in existence, they can often get overlooked as simply pieces of furniture which do not play much of a part in health and safety. When employers think about health and safety in the workplace, in addition to health and safety training courses they are likely to think of safety features which prevent horrific injuries and deaths from machinery or hazardous substances. The humble chair is likely to come quite far down the list in terms of issues, but nevertheless it is still a factor which needs consideration.
A chair will be a health and safety issue for those who spend most of their working day sat down. Those particularly at risk therefore include office workers and those at assembly lines who sit down to perform their particular task. The significant amount of time spent sitting in the same position means that it is vitally important for the chair to be comfortable and support the individual in a suitable posture.
Without providing this suitable support, over time a person will begin to develop certain troubles such as back problems. This can be extremely painful and debilitating, not to mention causing a serious amount of disruption and inconvenience to the company when the employee has to take time off work and they need to either suffer from a drop in overall output or spend time and money in finding a temporary replacement.
The serious consequences of an inadequate chair have meant that it is now a legal requirement in a lot of countries for employers to conduct ergonomic assessments of the workplace and provide workers with equipment such as a suitable chair, foot rests, wrist rests and back supports.
The early years of health and safety focused upon preventing deaths and serious injuries which, although commendable, did not extend very much towards less dramatic injuries such as those caused by inadequate manual handling techniques or poor sitting posture. As the years went by though, more and more attention was given to worker well-being and their welfare, as evidenced by the syllabus of the NEBOSH General Certificate course which contains a number of elements on topics including manual handling, psychological issues, employee welfare facilities etc, and not just focusing solely on accident prevention.
Employee welfare and well-being is an important part of modern-day health and safety provisions, and is something which all health and safety managers need to be aware of and implement within their organisation.