Question of the Week from Employers; How to Select the Right Chair

I have been reading the ongoing comments from both HR, Facility Managers coupled with some very subjective responses from “ergonomists” about the best method for determining how to select new seating product for employees. I feel strongly that it is up to qualified ergonomic professionals to guide employers toward the use of objective evidence based methodologies to determine the best product for the workplace and employee. With this in mind here is my response in Link In which is worth repeating here:

“The best and most proactive method which Barbara and Justine have hinted at is to have a qualified Ergonomist perform a Seating product review. At OPC we are not allowed to have any affiliation or kickback from any seating manufacturer or dealer. As such our clients ask us to review specific product; which is based on a thorough understanding of the bona fide occupational requirements (thru the OPC JDA system); an understanding of the anthropometrics of the workplace; and a clear understanding of bona fide disabilities & impairments to be accommodated for. This seating products should then be objectively measured as per the CSA and the BIFMA guidelines for product review. From this a short list of appropriate products should provided to clients from which they can make an informed decision.
In many ergonomic related discussions on line and in Linked In we still find subjective responses to science based questions on the part of professionals who should know better and inform their clients responsibly. The method outlined above applies to any and all product with which the human factor will be interacting with.  We tell our clients to always use good science and couple it with formal employee feedback over the course of 2 weeks minimum (allow for changes in employee postures and physiology as well as learning curves) to make an informed and appropriate decision about chairs.
Having a selection of employees sit in a chair for a few minutes in a showroom or on site in the workplace is NOT good science and provides no meaningful data for the Facility Manager to make an informed decision

JE Sleeth OPC Inc Senior Ergonomist, Physiotherapist

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