Our bodies are not designed to be in the seated position for hours on end. For many of us, however, our jobs require us to sit in a chair in front of a computer for most of the day. If the chair is not designed ergonomically, our bodies will let us know. As an article in EHS Today notes, sitting in a chair weakens the body’s supporting muscles and is bad for the disks in our backs.
The result can be pain, limited mobility, inflammation, and tension in the body. Back injuries are the most common problem associated with chairs. A bad chair could lead to serious musculoskeletal disorders, which are injuries that affect discs in your spine, your muscles, joints, nerves, cartilage, and tendons.
It’s important that workers understand that the wrong type of chair at work can have serious consequences. A chair that is not ergonomically designed (that is, having adjustable parts and giving the correct support for posture, weight and lumbar while seated) can cause more problems than many people might realize. Pressure on the nerves will affect digestion, breathing and the ability to concentrate. A bad chair harms the body and the employee’s performance.
What types of problems does a poorly designed chair cause?
Here are frequent problems associated with sitting in office chairs, according to EHS Today:
- Back problems
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
Your office chair should be designed to support your posture, giving you a neck and backrest. You should feel comfortable while seated. The chair should reduce pressure on the hips, which should be relaxed while you're seated. The chair should support an upright position.
Responsible employers should accommodate requests to replace a chair that is not right for the employee. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s OSH Act of 1970, employers must provide a place of employment “free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm” including ergonomic hazards.
If you’re worried that your chair at work is causing pain that may lead to more serious problems, don’t hesitate to talk to your boss or human resources department. They may be able to help you modify the chair. If the old chair, after modification, is still a problem, ask for a new ergonomically designed chair.
When an employer denies a workers’ comp claim
You may have been experiencing musculoskeletal pain for some time. You might even need to take time off from work for medical appointments. In some cases, your injury might mean you can’t work at all.
Your employer and its insurance company, however, may dispute a workers’ compensation claim. They may argue the injury was not related to work and deny the approval of needed treatment. You may be told to return to work when you’re not ready.
That’s why it’s critical to have an experienced attorney to protect your rights and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.