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Why it is Vital to Select an Office Chair that is Fit for Purpose


Jared Goodwin
Jared Goodwin

I often meet with people who are looking to cut costs on their office furniture budget and often this results in cutting the price spent per chair. It is always my advice not to do this, I would always recommend spending the most you can afford on supplying your staff with a quality commercial grade office chair. Many staff spends 6 or more hours a day sitting on this chair so it is important that the chair have a comfortable seat, is ergonomic and fit for purpose. Believe me, your staff will appreciate the quality office chair over most other choices you may include in your office furniture selections.

Whilst the initial outlay of supplying a quality commercial office chair may appear high to some, you need to also consider can you afford the risk you might be taking by providing a chair that is not suited for the purpose intended? This does not just apply to a task chair but also to visitors and training chairs. Recently a local council in Western Australia was ordered to reimburse the WA Department of Education more than $200,000 after a teacher seriously injured herself on a mass production cheap chair that collapsed during a work conference.

As Steven Brown of Etienne Lawyers, Work Health and Safety expert says: “Under the Work Health and Safety Act employers have a general duty to ensure that the personal safety of employees are cared for by maintaining and providing a work environment that is safe and without risks to health. Chairs that employee’s use that give rise to them incurring repetitive strain injury, or cause them to have back problems fits within the realms of what employers are responsible for. Taking adequate precautions as those suggested by Bowermans is a prudent and sensible course of action. By having chairs that meet recommended standards as opposed to having chairs that have no certification, an employer is able to show that on the face it they acted properly and were fulfilling their duty of care towards their employees.”

So what is ergonomics? As per Wikipedia this is also known as comfort design, functional design and systems, this is the practice of designing products, systems or processes to take proper account of the interaction between them and the people who use them.

So how do you know if your chair is suited for a commercial office environment? Ideally the chair will be AFRDI  tested and certified. AFRDI is a government-authorised non-profit organisation which certifies furniture to Australian and New Zealand standards.

There are different levels of certification – Level 4, 5, 6 – with Level 6 being the most severe and regarded as the market standard.

AFRDI state that Level 6 is regarded as suitable for users up to about 110kg. There are AFRDI certifications for 135kg and 160kg ratings also.

At Bowermans all our chairs are suited for commercial use and have a minimum 3 year warranty period with most chairs having a 5 or 10 year warranty period.

A fully ergonomic office chair will have three lever adjustment. Another great feature of some commercial chairs is to have a seat slide adjustment which allows you to slide the seat out which helps to suit shorter and taller people as no chair setting will suit all in an office.

Things to also consider
• Does the chair have features that will help someone do their job better? Arm rests with adjustable heights are useful for heavy computer users. Wider or narrower arm rests may also be required depending on the worker’s dimensions and tasks they do.
• Will the selected chair make doing a job more difficult? An example may be that someone may be using a chair with casters or wheels when a stable and stationary work position would be better.
• The weight of the user

At Bowermans we welcome you to visit our North Parramatta or Revesby showroom so we can help you find the most suitable office chair.


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