I wrote a response to one of our clients today about why EXERCISE BALLS should never be used in the office or workplace environment EVER.
“Thank you for your follow up about the use of Exercise Balls in the office environment.
If in the future you have any questions of an ergonomic nature and you would like to read the evidence based responses always feel free to review our Blog on any and all ergonomic topics at optimalperformanceblog.com The entries are also geared to employees so you can direct them to read and learn more at the same time.
You will see in one of the Blogs an entry about Exercise Balls and the fact these have no place whatsoever as per the evidence in the office or workplace.
- These present a safety risk in that some employees have made WCB related claims after falling off of the exercise balls
- PT, chiropractors, massage therapists cannot and should not be making any recommendations about equipment to be used in the office environment. Their domain of expertise lies in the clinical setting. They do not know about your workplace design or standards and should not legally be making any recommendations about equipment in your workplace
- Exercise Balls are one of the best pieces of exercise equipment when used for short periods of time in a gym or home gym and when the employee is shown the proper exercises to use with the balls
- Exercise balls have NO ergonomic design elements built into them such as adjustable armrests, adjustable seat pan length, adjustable back piece design, lumbar support, castors which match the type of floor surface in your office. This means they do not fit all employee size, weight and stature nor do they provide ANY biomechanical support to the body when seated. In fact the balls by virtue of not having any of these features built in can contribute to ergonomic hazards at the shoulders, arms, backs of the legs (where loads at the sciatic nerve, arteries and veins are a real and serious concern for some employees), paraspinal muscles of the back. Further the use of these balls has been shown to increase the intradiscal loads at the spinal discs and later the facet joints of the spine.
Conclusion; Exercise Balls should be used in an exercise setting only and employees should be shown by a Certified Kinesiologist how to exercise safely and appropriately with the exercise ball.
Exercise Balls have no place in the workplace even for short periods of time. Companies such as yours which has an ergonomic program in place and has furniture and seating standards in place do not require any outside recommendation from rehabilitation providers about equipment or accessories needed in the workplace.
Let me know if this is of help to you and the employees’ making inquiries about this. Even if an employee presents you with a doctor or therapists’ note about the need for this, you and your company are NOT required or obligated to provide this or any other specialized equipment in your offices.