A person conducting a business or undertaking has the primary duty under the Work Health and Safety Act to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking. This is particularly relevant to those operating any public venue, for example café’s, restaurants, clubs, schools, hospitals and sporting arenas, fly-in fly-out accommodation etc.

Chairs, sit-stand desks, workstations and gaming stools are amongst the high risk products that have come into scrutiny over the past twelve months.  Persons conducting a business or undertaking who have management or control of a workplace must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the workplace is without health and safety risks to any person. This means that the duty to provide and maintain a safe work environment and adequate facilities may be shared between duty holders, for example a business leasing premises will share the duty with the landlord or property manager of the premises. In these situations the duty holders must, so far as is reasonably practicable, consult, co-operate and co-ordinate activities with each other. Persons who design, manufacture or import furniture products that are intended to be used in workplaces must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the product is without risks to health and safety.

Officers, such as company directors, have a duty to exercise due diligence to ensure that the business or undertaking complies with the WHS Act and Regulations. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure that the business or undertaking has and uses appropriate resources and processes to provide and maintain a safe work environment and adequate facilities for workers, including the procurement of safe, compliant furnishing products.

Maintaining the work environment and facilities

The work environment should be maintained so that it remains in a clean and safe condition. Broken or damaged furniture, including chairs, desks, tables, seating and other furnishing used as equipment should be maintained and repaired promptly. Equipment and furniture must be maintained in good working order.

How to select the best products  for your workplace

The AFA works closely with regulators and standards bodies to ensure that its Members well-informed about legislative changes, compliance requirements and mandatory standards.

One example of this is the increased demand by project specifiers and procurement officers for Rated Load Standards for chairs used in public spaces.

Strong demand for AFRDI Certification

AFRDI says that the demand for certification to its Rated Load Standards is high. The Rated Loads Standards focus on proving the structural suitability of chairs for people bigger than 100 – 110 kg. This is especially important for public space furniture but also in the office where it is now not uncommon for people to be over 110 kg.

AFRDI has produced 2 Rated load Standards one covering Height Adjustable Chairs, for example gas sprung office swivel chairs, and other Fixed Height Chairs.

The Standard for HAC is AFRDI 142 with options for single and multiple shifts and for people up to 135kg and 160kg.

For FHC the AFRDI 151 Certification with options at 135kg, 160kg, 180kg are available and a bariatric option at 300kg is also on offer.

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