Companies that spend more money on the right chairs for employees are seeing business success by embracing ergonomics. Most employees who feel at ease at their workplaces do their jobs with a positive attitude and better motivation, according to EHS Today.
Chairs that clash with, instead of comfort, a worker's body, when the worker spends numerous consecutive hours sitting, cause musculoskeletal pain, which is the impairment of muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones.
Employers who shell out extra cash for ergonomically correct chairs benefit their businesses in the form of fewer missed workdays and higher productivity from staff members free of pain-causing work furniture.
Sturdy well-designed ergonomically correct chairs cost at least $200-400 each with higher-quality models going for $1,200-2,000. It's an outlay that makes sense, given that an employee will spend most of the 40-hour work week sitting.
How ergonomics applies to work chairs
The Merriam-Webster definition of ergonomics is "an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely."
An ergonomically correct work chair should keep the vertebral column in its natural double-S shape. It supports an upright position by an automatic inclination of the upper part of the chair and a permanent counter pressure produced by the backrest in the process, said Malte Lenkeit, ergonomics consultant at the German office furniture manufacturer Dauphin.
"This is why we need furniture that supports the body in its healthy position with the highest degree of mobility possible," Lenkeit said.
In the effort to reduce musculoskeletal pain caused by office chairs, features of a quality ergonomic work chair include adjustability for height, backrest, armrests, seat depth and stability, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety.
Many people live a sedentary lifestyle, but bodies are not designed for sitting permanently. A passive seated posture weakens the body's supporting muscles and vertebral disks are exposed to an unbalanced load.
A posture fixed this way for hours at a time can lead to tension, pain, inflammation and limited mobility. Also, such pressures exerted on the nerves can impair digestion, respiration and concentration.
That's when musculoskeletal pain caused by office chairs can decrease workers' well-being and work performance.
Paying more money to equip employees with ergonomically right chairs helps them avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, shoulder, elbow, finger and back injuries and muscle strains and fatigue.
In 2013, cases of musculoskeletal pain accounted for 33 percent of all worker injury and illness cases, said the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Back pain alone is one of the most common reasons for missed work. One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year, according to the American Chiropractic Association.
The U.S. Department of Labor has an ergonomics page on its website that says a key to musculoskeletal pain is that it is avoidable. Employers are responsible for providing workers with a healthy workplace, and one way to do that is with a devotion to ergonomically correct chairs and other furniture.
Contact Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A. today for help with musculoskeletal pain caused by office chairs and other workers' compensation and personal injury cases.