Are you sitting comfortably? - your guide to back support at work

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Avoiding Back Problems.

NHS figures show that back pain is the most common cause of workplace absence and although manual handling and lifting are a common cause, a lot of problems are caused by poor posture which often occurs from sitting for long periods of time and slouching over computers or desks. Therefore, it’s in the best interests of employers to reduce absenteeism and try to prevent these problems before they occur by encouraging employees to improve their posture, and supplying the correct chairs for the job, whether they work in the office or remotely.

Employers are required to undertake risk assessments under the Health & Safety Display Screen Regulations 1992 to address risks for the individual taking into account the environment, the job to do and the specific requirements of the person involved. But here are a few tips to help improve posture:

  • Support your back - Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair. It’s important that your lower back is properly supported to reduce back strain so make sure your chair is adjusted accordingly.
  • Chair height – Ideally your knees should be level with your hips and you should use your keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor, which helps to prevent repetitive strain injuries. Your elbows should be by the side of your body so they bend at right angles.
  • Adjust the chair - The back of the chair should be at a 100° -110° reclined angle and if necessary use back rests to support your upper and lower back. Armrests should be adjusted so that your shoulders are relaxed.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor - Use a footrest to support them at a comfortable height if necessary.

How To Sit Properly: Choosing Workplace Chairs

Your Guide To Sitting Comfortably.

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to spend hours sitting in the same position, staring at a computer screen, without giving a second thought to posture or the potential pain that we’re banking for the future.

Sitting for long periods is unnatural because the body is primarily designed to be moving. This means your chair can have a huge impact on your posture and in many cases it can actually mould the form of your body, which can have serious consequences, especially if it’s putting unnecessary strain on muscles and joints.

For this reason, a key factor when choosing a chair is how long you’ll use it for each day. As a general rule, if you sit down for more than four hours a day, it’s worth paying a premium for an extra level of support and plenty of additional features.

So once you’ve decided whether to go for a light, medium or heavy duty chair, the next consideration is the height of the chair, which is especially important if you’re working at a desk that isn’t adjustable. Ideally your feet should rest flat on the floor or else you might need a footrest.

The chair should also be deep enough so you can support your lumbar on the backrest. The backrest should be an appropriate size and shape to support the lower and middle back properly without restricting arm or shoulder movements. A floating backrest which moves with your back and enables various postures can also be a useful option.

Adjustable armrests are also important on chairs that are used for extended periods, especially because in some cases armrests can restrict how close a chair can be to the desk.

Finally, even if you’re sitting in what feels like the perfect chair, it’s still important to have regular breaks, so don’t feel guilty about standing up and taking five minutes to do something else!

Which do you need?

Take a look at the following product highlights, which illustrate the main differences between the types of chairs available. It might help you to make a decision on which chair would be most appropriate for your needs.

high back chairs at Slingsbyoperator chair at SlingsbyOperator chairs   Operator seating is designed for intense VDU and keyboard use or where other single function work is carried out for long periods. They tend to come with high or medium backs providing support to the whole back and shoulders. Our range encompasses a robust and sturdy range of operator seating suitable for use in severe and contract working conditions. Optional arms are available.

Typist chairs  Typist chairs are similar to operator chairs in their use. They are mostly designed to accommodate someone Executive chair at Slingsbytypist chair at Slingsbysitting at a desk for intensive VDU and keyboard use. However the typist chair tends to have a low back providing support to the mid to lower back and therefore can only recline slightly. They mainly adjust up and down for a higher or lower back support.

24hr seating  Seating that is in constant use for long periods by one or more user. 24hr operator chairs have a stronger build than normal contract office chairs and are usually more generously upholstered for increased user comfort.

24hr Seating at SlingsbyErgonomic Chair at SlingsbyHigh back chairs  Seating that is in constant use for intensive work done whilst seated. In addition, high back chairs extend the full length of the back up to the shoulders and can include support for the head and neck.

Ergonomic chairs  Ergonomic chairs provide long-lasting comfort and support and are designed to maximise efficiency and quality of work. They are adjustable and are ideal for preventing back pain and promoting good posture.

Manager/Executive range  Manager/Executive seating is more generously proportioned than operator or task seating and is usually more deeply upholstered. It is appropriate where users tasks are more varied and do not involve intense repeated activity such as constant keyboard use.


...It Pays To Think Big.

Just over a quarter of the adult population in the UK is clinically obese according to the NHS and the numbers are growing rapidly which is leading many forward thinking businesses to install specialist bariatric equipment, not only to appeal to this emerging customer base, but also to cater towards the needs of its growing employees!bariatric chairs at Slingsby

In the USA, obesity now dictates a lot of the built environment with buildings being designed to be larger, and wider seats being used everywhere from sports stadiums through to bus stops. Research from this year’s European Congress on Obesity predicts that nearly half of all British men and more than a third of all women will be obese by 2040 if current trends continue so even though the Western world is finally waking up to obesity, until something drastic is done to reverse the trend, the appetite for bariatric equipment looks set to continue to grow.