The Safety Business

Case Study –  Workstation Lower Back Pain



The company had an employee who was suffering from lower back pain. The problem seemed to ease off over the weekend but the pain seemed to be exacerbated when the employee returned to work on the Monday and worked on the computer

The employee had been referred to their own GP to rule out something more serious and the company had revised the employees display screen risk assessment and a few adjustments to be made. What made the situation even more tricky was that the employee had been supplied with a fully adjustable chair and found this really comfortable.

Quite simply the company called us in as they were at a loss at what to do. They asked us to carry out a comprehensive display screen risk assessment on their behalf.

During the Display Screen Risk Assessment process we established that the castors fitted to the chair that the employee was sitting on were made of plastic and the floor had a laminate covering.

Plastic castors roll and swivel on hard surfaces and because of this low friction the employee was (unbeknown to her) applying a significant amount of pressure through the lower part of her body to her feet whist seated at the workstation to keep the chair in position.

We felt this was the cause of the lower back pain and tested this theory by asking the employee to raise her feet off the floor. As soon as she did the chair rolled away from the desk on its own accord proving our point!

Our advice

We revised the Display Screen Risk Assessment and our advice was not only simple but cheap.

We recommended that our client to purchase a small piece of square carpet (obviously taped down so it wouldn’t cause a trip hazard!) and place this beneath the employees chair. This would create friction between the castors and the laminate floor and prevent the chair from rolling and stop the need for the employee to apply a significant amount of pressure through the lower part of her body to her feet to keep it in position

Call us on  0207 724 4038  or email us at to find out how we can help you with workplace health and safety.

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