(TPSO asked our friends at leading workplace health and ergonomics company, Posturite, to explain why a combination of chair choice and work habits can help keep security personnel more comfortable and less likely to develop aches and pains.)
If you work in an office or a control room, odds are you spend a lot of the day (or night) sitting down on a task chair. Sitting-related problems take a long time to develop. Often you won’t know there’s a problem with your posture or your chair until the pain sets in, and by then it’s probably already affecting your concentration, wellbeing and productivity. Musculoskeletal problems like back pain and upper limb disorders (commonly known as RSI) can affect your mood, make it difficult to concentrate and of course impact all areas of your life, not just work. While the chair you use is by no means the only measure of how at risk you are of developing an MSD, if it’s uncomfortable then this will probably influence how you feel, act and perform at work in some way simply because of the amount of time you spend using it.
Prolonged sitting in itself, regardless of the chair you use, is thought to increase your risk of health problems like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. This is why it is so important to firstly consider the type of chair you use (especially if that chair is being used for long periods of time, by multiple people), and secondly, to encourage and practice healthy working habits like taking breaks, stretching and moving regularly.
If you use display screen equipment (DSE) such as TV screens or computer monitors daily for prolonged periods of time, it is the responsibility of your employer to provide appropriate seating that meets the DSE regulations. However, meeting DSE regulations isn’t everything. Our Seating Specialist David Kirtley, who has 17 years of experience in the ergonomics industry, says the key to getting the right product is to: “Trial, trial, trial. That’s the only way that they can make their staff happy.”
Unfortunately ergonomic equipment is still seen by many employers as a last resort for specialist cases rather than as a cost and pain-saving prevention for everyone. Usually this is because of the higher upfront cost of buying ergonomic products, and the fact that it is often difficult to measure the exact cost of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace.
“Experience shows that neglecting to give seating the attention it deserves often proves to be costly, not only in maintenance and replacements, but in physical damage caused to employees,” adds David.
HSE reports that 35% of all work-related illnesses in 2017-2018 were attributed to musculoskeletal problems, resulting in a loss of 6.6 million days across a 12-month period. In addition, researchers from Imperial College London, Arthritis Research UK and the University of Aberdeen found that almost half the UK population may be living with chronic pain. It is vital that we use well-designed, properly set-up equipment at work seeing as this is where we all spend so much of our time.
When it comes to buying chairs for security personnel, David says: “In the typical security office scenario, chairs are often used 24/7 by people of varying heights, weights and shapes. While it is difficult to find a one-size-fits-all solution, there are certain chair models I would recommend over others. On the whole, choose a durable, sturdy, well-padded chair with plenty of adjustment options.”
David’s three chairs of choice for security personnel are:
HÅG Tribute – this generously padded chair comes with inbuilt lumbar support and the HÅG in Balance® mechanism which is highly praised in the industry. It means that (when activated) the chair moves intuitively with the user so their muscles are constantly engaged. This is an excellent way of remaining active while sitting.
RH Logic 24/7 – this is a fully customisable chair with options for coccyx cut-outs, neck rests, arm rests and memory foam seats. It comes as standard with a lumbar pump so users can find the perfect amount of support for them, instantly. It is also durable, well-built and comes with a 5-year warranty for 24/7 use.
Throna – armchair-level comfort with great ergonomic support. The frame design is inspired by seats used in the automotive industry, making it extremely sturdy and comfortable for extended use and easily adaptable to various sizes and ergonomic needs.
All of these chairs can be found on: posturite.co.uk.
A range of adjustment options are important if the chair is being used in shifts. As a minimum you want height adjustment, seat pan depth and back tilt. Staff should be provided with training or instructions on how to use the functions on the chair to get the most out of them.
David Kirtley would like to offer all TPSO readers a free consultation and chair trial with his team. Please email him on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange. For more advice on ergonomics and posture, please visit our online art of sitting resource: https://www.posturite.co.uk/help-advice/useful-resources/learning-guides/art-of-sitting