Understanding your responsibilities as an employer
Are you doing your bit as an employer?
Whilst there is no generic legislation that demands an employer provides specific equipment for office working, a safe working environment and managing health and safety risks are expected. This includes the provision of comfortable working conditions, suitable display screen equipment, hygiene and welfare.
However, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) places a duty on employers and service providers to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities to help them to overcome barriers they may face in gaining and remaining in employment and in accessing and using goods and services.
Safe and comfortable seating
A chair is the most important piece of equipment in an office and an employer has a general duty to ensure that the seating is safe and carries no health risks, enabling the staff member to conduct what’s required from the job role in a comfort.
Risk assessments may be required under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
A chair is more than just a seat
There are many factors to consider when it comes to health and safety in the workplace – even for furniture and basic equipment. A quick checklist for seating should ask:
- Is the seat height adjustable and design adequate to accept differences in personnel height and weight?
- Does the backrest provide firm support to the lower and middle back?
- If present, are armrests adjustable and have the ability to fold away?
- Is the seat flexible and mobile?
- Are optional footrests available?
Workstation positioning is paramount when it comes to computer work and accessing storage, as is material durability.