By now, you’ve selected a chair that has all the adjustment features that make it a good fit for you and your job. The chair height and lumbar support adjust to fit you, yet it does not seem to roll easily or it rolls too easily. Many times, the wheels are mismatched with the floor surface.

Most new chairs are shipped with casters that have hard wheels designed to be used on carpeted floors. But what if the chair ends up on a hard floor surface (linoleum, tile, concrete, etc.) or on a plastic chair mat or carpet protector? If this happens, the casters should be replaced with ones that have softer wheels. Softer wheels provide better traction on hard surfaces thus preventing unexpected rolling.

How to tell soft from hard wheels

Wheels are a component of a caster. Casters are generally attached directly to the chair on a stem that snaps into the chair rungs. To determine if the wheel is soft or hard, push your thumbnail into the wheel. If it leaves a noticeable indentation, then it is a soft wheel. If no indentation appears, then it is a hard wheel.

Glides vs. wheels

Some work processes require a greater degree of control, making any chair movement unacceptable. This includes medical and laboratory work where fine hand manipulation and greater dexterity is required. Some jobs, such as sewing machine operators, require employees to use a foot or knee to operate the machine, making chairs with wheels impractical. For that reason, chairs without wheels are selected but often these chairs lack many of the recommended adjustment features.

Rolling office chairs can be easily converted to stationary chairs by replacing the caster with chair glides. Glides allow the chair to sit firmly on the floor, allowing employees to concentrate on the work at hand without any worry of them rolling away from their work. Glides and casters can be easily switched in minutes using tools such as a rubber mallet, flat-head screwdriver, and pliers.

The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for medical advice or legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.