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VDUs and castors
Frogmarch 2002 - Whitby
Filling in a compulsory VDU health and safety risk assessment this morning. Does anybody actually refer to a computer screen as a VDU? Other than in health and safety questionnaires, of course.

It stresses the importance of castors on chairs. Why is it that office chairs always have castors? Was there a campaign by the caster marketing board that managed to forever associated castors on chairs with employee productivity?

Since the dawn of time, chairs have typically had four solid legs. When one sits on a chair, one expects it to be solid, supportive, and not to whizz across the floor. None of my chairs at home have castors.

Britain built an empire while sitting on chairs with legs; now work is done sitting on fully-adjustable chairs fluidly whizzing about offices on castors, and we have a worldwide economic crisis. Down with ergonomics!

I've only once fallen off my chair at work, some fifteen years ago, when I was leaning forward towards my computer and concentrating so hard on my code that my chair slid away from me. I am convinced that castors are a hazard.

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My desk chair at home is on castors. It's definitely easier to stand up from than a chair without them.

Oh, I understand that some may prefer chairs with castors; what I object to is the requirement that all office chairs must have castors.

(I find an unmoving chair significantly easier to stand up from than one that might move away from me.)

Yeah, at the least they should provide locking castors.

Is it an actual requirement, though? The HSE's official publication (Seating At Work, HSG57) specifically notes that castors are NOT always appropriate and even features an illustration of a non-wheeled chair later, making me suspect this may just be an urban legend: "everybody does it, so it must be compulsory".

(There's also a warning that people over 16 stone must not use gas-lift chairs unless specifically designed, with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 requiring employers to accommodate variations in seating where needed; it seems the chair *does* need to be height-adjustable and movable, but no requirement for wheels.)

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