Many people have experienced a low-voltage electric shock from time to time. For instance, you could create enough static electricity by rubbing your foot over certain carpets and then touching metal to cause an unpleasant jolt.
Typically, the feeling passes instantly and harmlessly, so you may not have given it much thought.
However, if you work in certain environments, static electricity may cause harm or even a real risk of danger. Some of the dangers of static electricity include:
- Ignition of flammable vapors or materials
- Damage to sensitive electronic components
- Clean room contamination
- Erases or alters magnetic media
- Forces some materials to adhere to each other
Five Qualities to Consider Before Buying an ESD Lab Chair
If you work in a lab or other type of sensitive facility, You should consider an ESD lab chair to minimize the risk of an electrostatic discharge. These five tips can help you select the right chair:
ESD Lab Chair Coverings
Should you choose a fabric or vinyl covering for your ESD chair? You might base your choice upon your environment and even possibly your preferences. Some people find fabric more comfortable and chairs with fabric coverings might cost less. However, vinyl usually resists stains more, is easier to clean and lasts longer.
Both the kinds of fabric or vinyl used to cover these chairs should prove equally effective at preventing static electricity. Polyurethane is another option that is a very tough synthetic material for work in harsh conditions.
Third-Party Verification of Quality
Your local big-box or office supply store may sell cheaper chairs that advertise themselves as ESD chairs. However, you won't have to guess about the workmanship or effectiveness of the design if you purchase ESD chairs with a certification from the Business Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association (BIFMA). This organization performs rigorous testing on office furniture to make sure that it is durable and performs as advertised.
You buy an ESD lab chair to prevent static electricity. However, comfort is also another important factor when you purchase a lab chair. Ergonomic chairs will keep you more comfortable and productive. As reported by OSHA, many lab workers risk developing injuries and disorders from the repetitive or unusual actions that their work may require
That is why they need equipment and furniture that has been built to minimize those risks. If you purchase lab chairs that include sturdy frames, adjustable heights, and comfortable backrests and seats, you can get more work done in a safer way.
If you have to work with a limited budget, you may find imported lab chairs tempting. Before you try to save money this way, you might consider this report from Underwriters Laboratory that found half of imported lab products did not pass their safety standards.
You could risk property damage, fires, or injuries if you purchase furniture that comes from countries that don't require the same standards and tests that the United States does.
Parts wear out and accidents happen even if you buy the best laboratory furniture. What happens to your productivity if one of your lab chairs loses a caster or needs another replacement part? If you purchase your chairs from a high-quality, USA-based manufacturer, you can ensure your access to convenient ordering and rapid delivery of replacement parts.
Warranty With Good Coverage
The last thing that you want to worry about when buying chairs for your lab is premature replacement. When buying cheaply made products, you usually get what you are paying for.
In other words... A chair that won't deliver on its promise of ESD control and needs to be replaced prematurely. Evaluate the warranty on your chairs prior to purchase. Look for manufacturers that give a 7-year warranty for parts and replacement to ensure that you have a good product.
And, if there is no warranty, don't waste your money.
If you're going to buy ESD lab chairs, invest in quality furniture. Look for ANSI/BIFMA certification to make certain that your chair will perform as advertised. Otherwise, consider durability and an ergonomic design to make sure that your purchase keeps your workers comfortable and safe for a long time.
Featured Image Credit: Image by Nadya Peek | CC BY