What are the health and safety requirements for office furniture in the UK

October 10th, 2016

If you own an office, you need to adhere to health and safety requirements with regards to office furniture within your premises. To maintain a clean, healthy and safe working environment for your anyone that enters your office, you need to follow certain aspects of healthy and safety. Whether it be the employer’s, employees, visiting clients, or even the cleaners, you want to make sure that everyone is kept safe and out of harm at all costs.  

Health and Safety Requirements for Office Furniture in the UK

Currently in the UK, there is no legislation with regards to seating in the office, however it is covered in the VDU (Virtual Display Unit) Health and Safety at Work Legislation. Doctors say that sitting for long periods of time are detrimental for your health, especially when under a stress filled environment such as the work office. It can cause aches in the back, neck and shoulder, muscle and ligament strain, and lead to weight gain amongst other things. There are things that should be into action at your place of work to protect you against any of these threats.  

Employers have the responsibility of providing their employees with a healthy and safe working environment. Bearing that in mind, employers should assess and reduce health risks and make sure that they conduct assessments in ensuring that, as time passes and office set ups may change, the standards of health and safety are maintained no matter what. When it comes to seating strictly, employers have to continually check workstations and perform risk evaluations. If risks appear then they obviously have to make the relevant steps to rectify the problem(s). If possible risks are apparent, then employees not only need to inform the employees, they also need to show them how to combat the risks should an issue arise. Employees should also be shown how to set up and maintain their own work spaces, as well as be show how to lift and move heavy objects. Furthermore, a first aid kit/box should be kept in a visible spot in the office and should always be painted within itself.

UK employees have the right to demand a chair with adjustable height and backrest, a well lit work area, and the right to take several short breaks from string during the course of the working day. Depending on the different types of work being performed etc then different requirements with regards to health and safety for employees will come into action and it’s essential for the employer to stay on top of these issues and show leadership qualities in continually keeping their staff updated with such matters and/or all other changes within the working environment.

On top of this, employees need to take several actions as a way of taking upon responsibility for themselves. Common sense obviously plays a huge part in this so always be aware of your surroundings and what you do in them. As aforementioned, take breaks from sitting where and when possible, these should be taken before you need them as opposed to having them to recover. Remember to not sit rigidly causing stress on your body. Also, try and maintain the highest level of fitness possible with regards to health and diet. Because you spend a lot of time sitting at work, try and be more active during your social hours. Walking is a very underrated and underused form of activity, and should be implemented into your free time to keep your body in motion as much as possible to oppose the constant sitting during your working week. Try to walk around the workplace as much as possible and stretch where and when you can also. Government guidelines apply to people who sit for long periods of time at work, and depending on how long you work for, different risks can come into effect. Because of this, you with your employer’s / employees, need to team together to conquer any problems that may arise.

The common sense, which was mentioned earlier, goes more towards clearing things up or tying wires back which could potentially become an obstruction in the workplace. Don’t just leave these things for someone else to do, because at the end of the day it’s also your responsibility to look after one another. The healthier and safer you all are, then most certainly the happier you all are and in turn this creates a better environment in the workplace for you to achieve better goals.