A surprising number of claims come from an unexpected source: collapsing chairs. Collapsing chairs are extremely dangerous and often collapse during normal use. Many injuries can occur from a chair collapse, including:
- Heavy bruising
- Smashed fingers
- Broken arms and wrists
- Fractured pelvises
- Severe lacerations
Injuries associated with deteriorating folding chairs may require corrective surgeries, hospitalization and significant recovery times. They are extremely expensive to both the injured and your organization, as medical expenses alone can easily top tens of thousands of dollars.
Prevent Collapsing Chairs
To avoid an injury and costly claim, perform a thorough and in-depth safety review of all chairs—whether they are folding or standard design. Questions to ask when determining if a chair should be retired:
- When was the chair purchased? If it’s over 10 years old, you may want to retire it, since collapses are more likely on older chairs.
- Has it been recalled by the manufacturer? Numerous types of folding chairs are recalled each year, sometimes decades after production. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps track of product recalls.
- Are the legs firmly attached with all hardware in good working order?
- Are there any rust spots, jagged pieces or breaks in the metal that could cut, jab or otherwise injure someone?
- If the chair is wooden, does the chair show any signs of dry rot, molding or instability?
- Do the chair legs firmly and securely contact the floor or are they uneven? If you sit in the chair, does it move back and forth or remain stationary? If there is significant movement, the chair should be retired.
- Has the chair been repaired multiple times in the past? Chairs that have been mended by applying duct tape or other questionable methods should be thrown out.
- Do you feel safe in the chair? Would you feel comfortable placing your child or grandparents on the chair? If you answer “no”, it’s a good idea to retire the chair.
If your organization is like many others, you likely have a large supply of chairs and tables that you have had for years or even decades. Examine the condition of your chairs and tables to ensure they are in proper condition.
Remember, it is your responsibility to provide a safe environment.