Office chairs never had that sinister look on them (well, maybe except those office gaming chairs that look out of this world). They look so innocent and dull that we never associated them with being health risks and safety hazards. You may look now at your own work chair and will not be convinced, but really, office chairs can actually cause injuries!
We all know by now that some of the most common problems known to the office working man are likely to be caused by a bad work chair. These problems include incorrect body posture and poor blood circulation leading to back pains, stress and fatigue. However, these internal health problems are not the only things you should look out for.
Aside from those mentioned above, what you should look out for are possible risks of getting injured while sitting on an office chair. Yes, you can even be at risk even when you are sitting on an ergonomically correct chair. You can even be at risk sitting on a plush executive chair. To avoid these, here are some tips on how to be safe while sitting on the office chair.
1. Don’t purchase chairs that look wobbly
When you are looking for new work chairs, do not just consider the price but its support as well. As much as possible, look for chairs with a 5 legged base. Also, look carefully at the casters and wheels. Check if they are durable enough to handle weight. They must also fit very snugly into the base. For preventive measures, always keep the entire base of the office chair on the floor.
2. Stop being stubborn and read the manual
When assembling chairs, most of us tend to “follow our hearts” and assemble it as if we have been doing it for the past years. Well, some of you may have, but it won’t hurt to read the manual and follow the instructions, does it? Make sure all the pieces are placed in their proper places. If you see a screw lying around, chances are two or more compartments are not completely screwed together, thus the spare screw. Also make sure that all the casters or wheels are inserted properly into the base.
3. Choose according to your floor surface
Most office chairs come with casters or wheels and are ideally used for carpeted floors and hard surfaces. Wheels may not be that suitable for overly smooth floor surfaces; this may cause injury. Tiled floors however may call for softer casters to avoid damaging the floor. If you are not sure about the choice of base your work chair should have, seek the assistance of the retailer or the manufacturer.
4. Check on the parts of the chair regularly
Just like every investment you make, you also have to regularly keep up with how your office chair is currently doing. Inspect all the parts of your work chairs for at least every 6 months. Check to see whether they are still good and tightly attached. If you see damaged components, you may have to replace them with new ones. For office chairs that are used more than 8 hours a day (chairs in hospitals and the like are used 24 hours a day), you may have to fully inspect them at least every 2 months.
5. Adjust the chair according to your body
Almost all kinds of chairs come with adjustments to suit your body measurement. Ergonomic chairs basically score best in these arena but regular office chairs can also be customized as well. The seat height can be adjusted according to how tall the user is. Tilt can also be adjusted to fit the user’s preference. Similarly, most workplace chairs come with tension control which allows the chair to be able to compensate for the different body weights of its users.
6. The chair is not a rocket ship, neither is it a rocking boat
For crying out loud, no matter how much you try, your office chair is not going to fly to the moon. Or sail the seas. Or both. Anyway, the point is, we try to have fun using our chair, confident that it can handle the pressure we are giving, not knowing that no, it can’t. When sitting on your office, do not lean or tilt the chair too far backward that the front wheels are already off the floor. This will cause the office chair to fall back, damaging the chair and giving you a serious back pain.
The same is true for leaning too far forward until the back wheels are lifted off the floor. Technically the same thing will happen as the first example, only now you’re on the floor face first rather than back first. To avoid this, keep in mind to always keep both of your feet on the floor. If you can’t help but rock the chair, buy an chair with the best tilt function.
7. Don’t leave electrical appliances on it
This is especially true for office chairs with fabric covering. If you leave any electrical appliance on it, it can overheat and fire may break out. You may think, who on earth would leave an electrical appliance on a chair? Well, think again because I saw you placing your cellphone and digital camera on the seat while they are being charged.