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Office chair at work broke - hurt my back

I feel really cheesed off today. I had a slight accident at work and feel really embarrassed about it.

I was asked to go and work in another department today and shortly after I sat at my new desk space the chair which I was sat on broke. The suspension/ gas strut gave way and the chair dropped to the lowest setting, jolting my back. I shrieked in pain and a colleague asked me what happened and what was up.

I explained that the seat had just suddenly dropped and he said “that’s weird” and sat in the chair himself. After a couple of minutes, he said “must have been your weight as it’s OK for me”. Suddenly the chair dropped again and he said “oh yeah, that ain’t right”.

There were no other chairs available so I had to struggle onto dinnertime without a chair. People know I have MS but no one gave up their chair for me. When I mentioned to another person in the office what had happened they said “oh yes that chair, that happened to me a while back. We don’t use that chair anymore!” By this time my back was hurting and I decided to go to my car and go on my lunch break. On my return I decided that what happened earlier shouldn’t have happened and I was in a bit of pain and discomfort so decided to email the first aider to put the entry into the accident book. The first aider wasn’t too impressed having to put an entry into the book and said that he would make an entry if my back starts to hurt. I

I feel so embarrassed that the chair broke on me and as I am home now and have been sat on the sofa for a while, my back and hip has started to hurt. I am worried that if I cant get into work tomorrow then I will become a laughing stock at work and accused of skiving.

Has anybody else been in a similar situation? Did I over react by asking for the episode to go in the accident book?

you certainly did not over react by asking for the episode to go in the accident book - and make sure that what is recorded is the injury/discomfort you have suffered to your back.

You also need to contact your G P explaining what has happened and the resulting pain you have - presumably you wont be seen because of Covid but there will be a record of the incident.

I don’t know how things work over there, but you should always report workplace accidents, no matter how minor. It’s just a case of CYA. Given the fact that this chair was a known problem and shouldn’t have been in a place to be used and also that the person you reported it to isn’t interested in documenting it, you should go to your supervisor or take it up to HR.

This was a preventable accident. No way are you responsible for this, and there’s no reason to feel bad about it. I hope you feel better soon and that this didn’t cause permanent injury.

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This is disgusting…the way you were treated from the word go

  1. they knew the chair was faulty, so why did they give it to you?

  2. I cannot believe no-one offered you their chair, knowing you have MS

  3. Why wasn’t the first aider eager to help immediately?

  4. OH/HR ought to be informed as to why a disabled employee didnt have the correct facilities in place.

If your injury isnt recognised as a workplace accident NOW…it should be!

Dont let this incident go.

Boudsx

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Hi

Sorry for not replying sooner, been in work again trying to catch up with work. My back was aching loads in the night and continues to do so today.

No one has contacted me to ask if I am OK!

Never get anything here Bouds, its almost as if they think if we ignore them, they will go away.

I hope its nothing permanent Norasmom as don’t want another other problems

You hsve been treated disgracefully. One of the key facts here is that a faulty piece of equipment was not replaced, and left where it could injure another member of staff. This is reprehensible and is the responsibility of whoever is in charge of your health and safety within that office. I wouldn’t go to work. Phone in sick. Speak to your gp. And when you fill in your sick form when back at work make sure it is logged as due to an accident at work. You could probably sue them if truth be told. Sometimes this is the only way health and safety at work gets improved… By people like you taking drastic action. I know what it is like to have a really bad back and how something that at fit person would laugh off, can really kill my back. You shouldn’t feel like you are the one in the wrong or an object of ridicule in the office. This is the fault of the management and other staff also… For not removing or reporting a duff chair.

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OK you need to make sure it goes into the accident book this is dangerous. If its a known issue its scandalous. not sure who you work for but i would put in a formal complaint. if your not sure where you stand ring ACAS HELPLINE, they will talk you through what to do. Never mind having MS this is dangerous. The chair should have been removed immediately and replaced.

if you have it in the accident book you can claim if anything comes of this health wise.

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Make sure you also document who was there when it happened and who told you that the chair was known to be defective. When it comes to workplace incidents, you always want to document every little thing, even if you can’t imagine needing that information later on.

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Never heard anything all week from anyone asking me if I was OK. My back is hurting and I have been having pains (muscular I think) running down the back of my legs and am struggling to walk now. I phoned the doctors who prescribed some strong pain killers to ease the pain.

Its really shocking how some of us disabled folk are treated at work

Dear anonymous

have you read your replies?

are you going to take their advice and act on it?

Had you told your employer about your MS?

Wishing you well but am a bit cross that you seem so reluctant to fight your corner.

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OK enough of this. ring ACAS TOMORROW ok… I used to be HSE where i worked. this is all so wrong and it needs sorting.

You could have slipped a disc anything. Dont throw the disabled card ok. THIS IS SO WRONG even if you were not disabled. the point is this. Are you saying they didnt tell you as you were disabled and thought it would be funny to see you fall flat on your tail bone.

Or if you were not disabled are you saying this would not have meant much and you would have just ignored it and laughed it off?

EITHER WAY disabled or not a broken chair knowingly left at a desk for ANYONE to use is a dangerous and stupid neglectful thing to do either way.

Please report it ACAS will advise you on what to do.

I agree with Catwomen. xx

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Amen to that CC58. xx

I agree with the last few posts. Anonymous, you say it is shocking the way disabled people are treated at work… Too right, but that’s because people let employers and management get away with murder - don’t be one of those people… Read the replies on this post and ACT.

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Sorry to hear about your experience. By a recommendation from a good friend of mine, I went and got a second hand Aeron (size B, my hight is 175cm), in a good condition. I must be able to sit 10-12 hours a day and program, and sitting for so long and for so many years on a cheap “manager” type of chair did not do much good to my back, so I wanted to get the best of the best once and for all and forget it, but this new Aeron is a nightmare ! For the life of me, I don’t get why people consider this chair “extremely conforable” or “the best office chair in the world”… it’s extremely stiff and feels too hard at the middle back, like something is constantly pushing hard into it. So now I am looking for a new one through websites like https://thepapasan.com/best-floor-chairs/.

totally agree CC58 - perhaps I shouldn’t be critical but I can never understand why people post messages about early retirement/pensions etc and seem to sit back and let things just trundle on instead of getting out there, assessing the best possible deal and going for it.

And whilst I’m on my high horse I think that sometimes we are far too polite with the neuros/medics who fob us off with ‘advice’ which is pointless.

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CC58 is absolutely right! Anon should really take action if he wants anything to change. I had a similar accident happen to my colleague at work. He was disabled, the lack of proper accommodation coupled with the fact that he wasn’t made aware of any of it led to him sustaining physical damage. The fact that management knew about his disability only made It worse. He gave management such hell that they literally had to look for a new office space here (removed by moderator) to not get sued. You have way more power than you think, you should act on it. Otherwise, nothing is going to change.

Duuuncan

8d

CC58 is absolutely right! Anon should really take action if he wants anything to change. I had a similar accident happen to my colleague at work. He was disabled, the lack of proper accommodation coupled with the fact that he wasn’t made aware of any of it led to him sustaining physical damage. The fact that management knew about his disability only made It worse. He gave management such hell that they literally had to look for a new office space here (removed by moderator) to not get sued. You have way more power than you think, you should act on it. Otherwise, nothing is going to change.

I completely agree with you, this happens quite often.