How can you tell if your office chair is actually safe and well-made? There’s more to an office chair than how good it looks and how comfortable you feel. We’ve compiled the relevant legislation and British Standards that work seating should meet.
What is the UK legislation on workplace seating?
There are a number of regulations and acts workplace seating should abide by, including:
- Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974: Because employers have a duty to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for their employees, seating at work should not be hazardous or endanger the health and safety of staff. Workers should know how to use them correctly with clear instructions; this means seating suppliers and manufacturers should make safe products that follow the British Standards
- Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992: It is required under Regulation 11 that each worker has a suitable seat for work that must be done sitting – whether all of the work is done sitting or a substantial part of it
- Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992: Seating is referenced when talking about the health and safety of DSE and VDUs (visual display units) with stress on how work seating should not be poor and should support eye levels, good posture and positioning
- Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992: This also gives guidance on handling and moving goods whilst seated
- Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996: This legislations requires employers to consult their staff, or elected representatives, on issues affecting their health and safety
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998: Employers have a duty to provide working equipment that is maintained in an efficient and safe state with seating regarded as work equipment under these regulations
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999: Under this legislation, employers and those self-employed both have a duty to assess risks to health and safety, including risks associated with seating. The duty holder must identify the measures that are needed to be implemented to comply with health and safety needs
What about working from home?
We’ve seen a drastic rise in the number of homeworkers recently, but what obligations do employers have for their work-from-home staff? Well, they have the same health and safety responsibilities for homeworkers as they do for any other workers. That means checking in on them often, making sure their home working environments are safe and that they will not come to harm or injury from work-related tasks.
The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has guidance for employers on how to protect homeworkers and those who do lone working. They stress the importance of keeping in touch and supervising staff and to be constantly evaluating their risks. Training, supervising and monitoring should not be compromised, and as an employer, you still have to follow the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations to manage the risk to lone workers.
When it comes to seating, task chairs need to be durable, safe and supportive of lumbar and posture. Just like office chairs, they should follow British Standards to ensure they are safe to work on.
The British Standards related to seating at work
So, what British Standards should work seating meet? HSE’s seating at work guidance has in its appendix the relevant British Standards to seating at work:
- BS 2543: 1995: Woven and knitted fabrics for upholstery
- BS 3044: 1990: Ergonomics principles in the design and selection of office furniture
- BS 3379: 1991 (amend 2): Flexible polyurethane cellular materials for load-bearing applications
- BS 4875: 2001: Strength and stability of furniture: Requirements for the strength and durability of the structure of domestic and contract seating
- BS 5459: 2000 (amend 2): Performance requirements and tests for office furniture: Office pedestal seating for use by persons weighing up to 150 kg and for use up to 24 hours a day, including type – approval tests for individual components
- BS 5852: 1990 (amend 2): Methods of test for assessment of the ignitability of upholstered seating by smouldering and flaming ignition sources
- BS 5940: 1990: Office furniture: Specification for design and dimensions of office workstations, desks, tables and chairs
- BS EN ISO 9241: 1999: Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs). Part 5: Workstation layout and postural requirements
- BS EN 1335-2: 2018: Specifies safety, strength and durability requirements for office work chairs based on use of eight hours a day by persons weighing up to 110kg, assessing strength of materials, stability and mechanics
- BS EN 1335-1: 2020: Specifies dimensions of three types of office chairs along with test methods for their determination
How to tell if your office chair is certified
Upholstery and fabrics on task chairs should come with an ignitability sign (normally a cigarette symbol) to show their safety and testing. Look for product details and specifications and if information isn’t explicit on their testing against British Standards, don’t hesitate to enquire. Many brands don’t list them, as it’s a general requirement for the products to be on the market. However, not all products have been tested and up to date, so do check.
Fortunately, here at DBI Furniture Solutions, we are professionals and supply only the best and certified products for the most healthy and safe working environments, particularly when it comes to work seating.
Good office chairs should be ergonomic, meaning they need to be height adjustable, support lower back regions and alleviate pressure to encourage good blood circulation and posture.
Also check out our piece on the different types of office seating and their benefits for more details.
We spend hours upon hours in a sedentary position every day at our office desks. Whether we’re working from home or in the office, we can become engrossed in tasks and forget to stand up and move around, so it’s important that we have great office seating that can keep us comfortable, focused and in good health.
With studies showing a strong link between lower back pain and sitting behaviour among sedentary office workers, it’s vital that we choose the correct office chairs and seating for our individual workstations. So, let’s run through the different types of office seating available and their benefits.
Ergonomic and adjustable
You may have heard of this type of office seating, especially when it comes to good posture and workplace health and safety. The benefits that these chairs can provide are recognised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on seating at work. An ergonomic office chair is one that works to accommodate humans with good back support and posture. The benefits of an ergonomic office chair are endless:
- Can be adjusted to give desk workers good eye levels for their screens, which can help with eye strain
- Designed with comfort in mind with plenty of space for the buttocks
- Has supportive padding and cushioning
- Gives good lumbar support to help reduce lower back pain
- It can reduce pressure on hips
- Improves posture
- Helps with blood circulation with curved seating
- Can reduce RSI with its great adjustability
Lean-on or sit-stand desks
- Offer workers increased mobility
- Help with blood circulation
- Go with specific workstations, where conventional seating is impractical
- Be used where workstations don’t allow for knee space
- Adjust in height
- Take a part of the body’s weight when constructed in a lean-in model
- Help with varied positioning
Multifunctional office seating
What’s great about multifunctional furniture is the variety they offer, both in style and portability. Types of multifunctional seating include:
- Solid-stand chairs
- Star-based chairs with wheels
- Upholstered chairs with arm rests
- Static seating
- Mesh fabrics
- Cantilever chairs
What’s great about this type of office seating is that you can instantly update any office – boosting staff motivation and morale in the process – from a fantastic, extensive range of high-quality, reputable office furniture brands. Contact us today to see what would suit your office.
Beam seating is perfect for:
- Reception areas
- Visitor rooms
- Waiting areas
And their benefits include:
- Being easily transportable due to the beam construction
- Offering more seating options
- Great for optimising space
- Can offer padded or hard seats
- Coming in a range of styles to suit different interiors
- Due to their row design, they are great for assemblies or community rooms
- Easy to clean and wipe down
Mesh office chairs
What’s so great about mesh office seating?
- They offer great breathability in the fabric
- Provide good ventilation
- Especially great for warm environments
- Unlike padded backs, they can offer thinner comfort
- Highly durable
- Less likely to fray or rip
- Can retain their shape well
- Can come in a range of styles and colours
- Easy to clean
- The fabric is taut and very supportive
Allowing you to rotate 360 degrees to the left or right, a swivel chair provides a comfortable and productive work environment, how?
- You can move easily around to access office items
- Saves time on not having to get up as much
- Very comfortable with height adjustment and reclining options
- They’re easy to transport if you need to move rooms or offices
- It offers comfortable resting with varied arm rests
- With 360-degrees turning, you can benefit from increased mobility and positioning to help disrupt sedentary sitting
High-back chairs are especially great for taller individuals with benefits including:
- Offering great lumbar support
- Helps with neck positioning
- Can improve posture
- Allow workers to adjust to comfortable positions
- You can fix it at a healthy level that matches your laptop or computer screen
- They provide a lot of space and back support, especially good for tall people
Whilst the term ‘sofa’ may seem odd when relating to an office, different workplace dynamics are benefiting hugely from comfy office sofas that fit a range of workspaces – from breakout areas to office relaxation rooms. Why are office sofas a great idea?
- They can help boost staff morale
- Allow for workers to bond
- Improves collaboration
- Helps employees have comfy breaks
- Great for reading time and timeouts in general
- Brilliant for informal staff meetings
As you can see, there’s quite the range when it comes to office seating. It all comes down to understanding your brand and the needs of your workplace and employees. With a whole host of benefits from each type of office seating, you can be sure to find the right one for your business.
For any advice or help with office seating and furniture, contact our team of office furniture experts today.
Over thousands of years, human beings have evolved to run long distances, hunt and forage for food and spend the majority of our time outside. What we’re not designed for is sitting hunched over an office desk for hours on end.
And yet that’s exactly what’s happening in our increasingly office-based culture, with 78% of office workers saying they spend too long sat down. That’s why bad posture in the workplace is such a common (and growing) problem.
Why is good posture so important?
Your mum was right: your posture is important. Good posture means that your bones, muscles, joints and ligaments are properly aligned, leading to them being used more efficiently.
Good posture can also help prevent several health problems, including:
- Increased risk of backaches
- Poor digestion
- Increased chances of cardiovascular issues
- Varicose veins
- Changes in your spinal curvature
What causes bad posture?
There are a number of different sitting and standing habits we pick up that lead to bad posture, especially when spending long hours sitting in front of a computer screen at work.
Things you may be doing that lead to bad posture include:
- Slouching in your chair
- Hunching your back
- Rounding your shoulders
- Poking your chin out when sat at a desk
- Cradling your phone between your ear and neck
These positions can sometimes feel more comfortable than actually sitting correctly, but they’re a habit that needs to be broken to avoid health problems down the line.
The type of lifestyles we live can also contribute to the way we hold ourselves. Prolonged periods of inactivity, a lack of exercise and poor ergonomic workstations can all lead to problems with your posture.
Luckily, there are some easy ways in which you can help break these habits and stay standing tall.
How to win the fight against bad posture
It’s never too late to make an effort to start improving your posture. Take these measures now to look forward to a future of better health.
Understand your posture
To improve your posture, you need to know how you currently hold yourself.
Take a look at your posture in the mirror. See where your hands rest and feel where you hold tension (for most people, this is usually in the shoulders).
If your palms face your thighs with your thumbs pointing ahead, your posture is good. If your palms face backwards, you’re probably slouching. To correct this, pull your head back and your shoulders down and back.
Make an effort to sit properly
We often develop bad posture through how we sit. If you sit too far forward on your chair, you put additional pressure on your pubic bone, and if you sit too far back, the pressure mounts on your tailbone.
Find the right balance by keeping your feet flat on the floor, your back straight and centring your weight. You should also think about supporting your lower back to prevent aches and pains if you spend long periods of time sitting.
Try correcting exercises
There are certain exercises you can do to help counteract the damage of bad posture. The best exercises strengthen your core, extend and flex your muscles and encourage better balance. They include:
- Shoulder stretches
Make sure you’re fully supported with the correct furniture
In office environments, there is a natural tendency to lean forward towards your computer, slouch at your desk or keep your legs crossed for long periods, which can lead to increased tension and muscle strain throughout your body. One of the best ways to combat this is to ensure that you are provided with comfortable, ergonomic furniture that supports good posture.
Height adjustable desks are great for encouraging good posture, as you can decide between sitting or standing whilst doing your work, giving muscle groups a rest during the day.
The right kind of chair is also very important. You need to ensure that you’re comfortable and supported and that your chair is ergonomically designed to avoid any health issues.
For more information about health and wellbeing in the office, take a look at the best ways to encourage your staff to start exercising, or take a look at the six seating sins office workers usually fall victim to.
In the offices of today, it is a lot more than just a bank of office desks with monitors and PCs/Macs being installed on each. You want it to inspire! Inspire your colleagues to push that extra bit further, think that little bit harder for that spark of creativity that gives you that one fantastic idea.
When clients enter your office you want them to be impressed. You want your office environment to represent your business. You want the look of the office to nail how you choose to market your business. Want to be seen as the cool kids on the block? Get inventive with your office design. Want to be seen as the retro kids who live for the 70’s/80’s? Where are the arcade machines? It is also true that it is the people who adopt these office spaces as their own are the ones who bring the office to life. While this is most certainly true, you must make sure that your colleagues are comfortable at their work stations to increase productivity. The best way to boost productivity in your office environments is to make sure your colleagues have the space to; eat together, play together and hang out together. The happier the colleagues, the more productive you will work.
A popular concept that small firms as well as large ones such as Microsoft, Macquarie Bank & Ernst & Young is ‘hot desking’. Hot desking is simply bring your laptop and working essentials, plunk them anywhere and you are good to go. Multiple employees can, in this arrangement, use the same desk at different hours during a day.
The image shows a Photorealistic 3d render of an office.
As well as our signature range of office furniture, we also supply a select range of all-important accessories designed to help your workplace reach its very highest potential. As with our office desks, chairs, task lighting and space-planning products, all of our accessories are chosen for their high levels of quality, delivering consistent optimal performance. So, what’s in the range? Here is a taste…
No office could work without electricity, a power source which has become so integral to our modern lives that we take it completely for granted. Power management is therefore of paramount importance and the range of components in this section are designed for convenience and reliability.
A quick peep behind our TV at home will leave most of us shuddering at the snarled tangle of wires, making us quickly look away and wonder why we looked behind there in the first place. In the office, particularly if there are many computers, the problem is dramatically magnified – check out our range of options for cable management to prevent Spaghetti Junction!
Keep everyone in the office breathing easy by heading over to this section. You could completely change the atmosphere of your workplace for the better with one of our contemporary air purifiers.
The 1970s vision of a paperless office never quite came to fruition – keeping hard copy of many documents is essential practice. Railex is a comprehensive filing system and offers the perfect way to keep everything practically organised for fast and accurate location later on.
March is Workplace Eye Awareness Month and, as the eye functions by interpreting light and the way it strikes different objects, workplace lighting is an important consideration. Getting it exactly right in each unique environment is a challenge but one that our experienced and talented team are more than qualified to take on and win.
Want to save space, improve productivity and protect important documents? Use a Hotbox to do all three at once with the added benefit of being able to take it with you – the product is sturdy, durable, compact and lightweight with its own optional wheeled caddy.
Have we whetted your appetite? Then head on over to our ‘Accessories’ section to discover even more items in the range!
There are a precious lucky few people who will be able to say that the air they breathe in at work feels cool, fresh and pleasant, refreshing them. An even smaller number of these people report seeing soft-edged, organic and natural shapes and tones. Instead, a worrying majority of us at work, school, university or other public buildings have to tolerate stale or artificially-conditioned air in our lungs and dull, artificial shapes & colours on our retinas. Why? And when will it change? The answer, thankfully, is very soon indeed.
The presence of plants in the indoor environment has been proven to have many benefits on humans, from a perceived improvement in air quality to higher levels of morale, productivity and health. Studies in hospitals show that patients heal quicker and experience lower pain levels when plants are around and research on a smaller scale suggests a host of practical beneficial effects from bringing the green inside – the effects range from lower levels of employee absenteeism to a reduction in energy usage.
For any business or organisation, there are financial constraints which cannot be ignored – budget is naturally of major importance and any investment must be carefully considered for its cost-effectiveness. It is here that indoor plants have met a stumbling block and hence not gained truly widespread appeal – a new study, which will include masses of data from social organisations, research institutes and any organisation which registers its interest and is approved, aims to make sweeping changes and usher in a new, green era.
“There are as yet insufficient concrete figures on the matter and insufficient innovative and usable green solutions,” as Annemieke Smit, the Project Leader, succinctly sums up the matter. Under her expert guidance, the research team will collate data and produce a definitive, authoritative guide to use freely when deciding future strategy, policy and actions for the business in relation to interior plants and organic office design.
Do you want cleaner air, unrivalled natural aesthetics and healthier, happier employees? Find out how with DBI – browse our select range of indoor plants and call us to get the fastest, most competitive quote.
The brain. The body. How often we mentally, verbally and symbolically draw a distinction between these two things which are, ipso facto, two parts of the unique, unified you. Sit/stand desks are almost exclusively associated with beneficial effects on the body and, though these do lead to beneficial mental effects as well, the results of a new study appear to show a much more direct, organic and potentially-groundbreaking link. Ready to improve your neurocognition? Let’s take the journey together.
The most recent edition of respected scientific publication The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health contained the results of a year-long study carried out at a high school in Texas, USA. Led by Ranjana Mehta, a team of researchers followed a group of 27 young people through a year at school, administering neurocognitive tests at the beginning and end. In the interim, the students underwent a transition to ‘standing-biased’ classrooms, having never experienced such a thing prior to the study.
Five cognitive tests (evaluating decision-making, reasoning, memory, modification of cognitive strategy and cognitive flexibility) were given before and after the 27 students had been exposed to sit/stand desk options. Results of the tests, which were inspired by observational data and combined with data from a portable brain-imaging machine, indicated that using a sit/stand desk:
Caused or contributed to a general improvement in participants’ test scores of between 7-14%. It appears highly unlikely that education received during the year could have caused such a leap as scores from these standard tests are usually fixed around the age of 12
Increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with working memory and high-level problem-solving/decision-making
Is worthy of further, more detailed studies with a seated control group and including average grades and standardised test scores
Concluding, the authors of the study said: “These findings provide the first preliminary evidence on the neurocognitive benefits of standing desks, which to date have focused largely on energy expenditure. If the results are backed up in further studies, it could mean that a simple furniture swap to standing desks could lead to a rise in outstanding students.”
We have embraced the sit-stand desk concept since it emerged and can now offer a wide selection of designs to suit any office space. Start browsing the collection HERE and call us to get a fast, competitive quote!
‘Ripe for Reinvention’ – this is what the modern workplace is revealed to be in a new research paper by Teknion in collaboration with respected design experts. The paper, titled ‘Ethonomics: Designing For The Principles Of The Modern Workplace’, outlines new and innovative design strategies that are predicted to have an influential effect in 2016.
It is becoming more commonly recognised that the workspace should bend and flex to meet the needs of the workers that inhabit it. Many companies are doing extremely well at implementing new strategies but there is still much room for improvement. Here we look at some of the most important office design trends to watch out for in 2016.
- Concealing Cables – power and data are clearly essential in the office environment but the problem of wires is a continuing one. Office furniture manufacturers are developing ever-more optimal ways to integrate cables seamlessly, preventing a prestigious executive office desk from looking shabby, disorganised and scruffy
- Multitask, Multipurpose – this is one area where progress is swift. As cubicle-style offices become less common, replaced by bench desking solutions, non-assigned seating is just as quickly sweeping in. Oval desks are predicted to grow in popularity as a convenient and versatile meeting place for larger groups while sit/stand height-adjustable office desks will be put to uses during standing meetings
- Go Green – natural decoration is high on the list of many renowned interior designers. Incorporating natural, organic patterns in fabrics is growing in prominence, as is the inclusion of green plants and foliage within the office space. Plants, both real and artificial, have a number of proven positive effects on employees from reduced absence to improved motivation and productivity
- Love to Lounge – Jeff Miller, formerly of Herman Miller and Apple, is now Vice President of Design for Poppin, a globally-successful office furniture manufacturer. He predicts new spaces being created that are totally at odds with traditional rigid workstations. Comfort is key, suggests Miller, saying that this ‘stimulates relaxed collaboration’. This need to provide comfort mandates the need for dedicated lounge areas
We can quickly and reliably supply everything you need to transform your office ready for 2016 and the future beyond. Cable management, office desking, replica plants, soft seating – we really do have it all and also employ a skilled, talented and passionate space planning team.
Ready for 2016? If not, call DBI Furniture Solutions today and we will set you on the right path.
Modern design can no longer treat carefully-implemented office ergonomics as an option. Awareness of the many health implications suffered by people as a result of their jobs continues to rise and those companies who fail to provide adequate ergonomic care for their employees lose out in a number of ways.
Here we look at three ways in which optimised office ergonomics can improve the health of both your employees and your business.
Health & Wellbeing
Numerous studies have all shown the same thing – sitting down for too long is bad for you, particularly when the chair you’re sitting on is poorly-designed for the individual.
Back and neck pain are among the most frequent health problems reported by office employees, with stress and depression naturally following.
Contemporary office desks are designed to minimise the health risks of working in an office by personalising the experience for each user.
Adjustable flexibility is key and this ethos extends across everything from desking and chairs to dedicated task lighting. Every employee should have access to the best office furniture possible and many items have an extremely reasonable price tag attached so you don’t have to break the bank to improve the health and morale of your employees for good.
Productivity & Reputation
As employee comfort increases, productivity goes up right along with it.
This is true only up to a certain point – make the office too comfortable and you might send everyone to sleep!
Chairs should be firm and supportive, creating good posture and reducing exertion by restricting motions and extending reach.
Height-adjustable sit/stand desks are the perfect complement to ergonomic office chairs and further enhance productivity.
Happy employees are more optimistic, directly affecting the planning and execution of their work. As work improves, so too does the reputation of your company.
Legality and Liability
Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their employees and an extensive amount of older office furniture is really no longer fit for purpose.
As knowledge of the health problems directly caused by poor office ergonomics increases, we could very soon see the amount of employer liability cases sharply rise.
In a recent news article, we looked at the results of the most recent study into how sitting down at our office desks for extended periods of time can have hugely-negative effects on human health, including an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
More and more organisations are taking the step towards modernity, creating dynamic, flexible and agile working environments that improve the health, happiness and productivity of their employees – sit/stand desks, now available directly from us, offer immediate benefits and are a major step forward in contemporary office design.
Throughout our history, we have maintained a sharp focus on office ergonomics and have always been among the first to supply the latest technological innovations with our extremely-discerning clients. We continue to develop and enhance our close working relationships with the very best manufacturers of office furniture and are proud to add sit/stand desks to our comprehensive collection.