Office chairs are the furniture that we keep ourselves in for long hours. Safety is surely everyone’s first priority, and that is why we might wonder how safe our office chairs are. With different controversies online, one might wonder whether his office chair is a ticking bomb or not.
Under normal circumstances, office chairs do not explode, and overall, they are pretty safe. In the worst of cases, due to poor quality and improper management of the chair, office chairs have exploded in the past. However, the risk of one exploding is close to zero due to the current safety standards and regulations.
If you are wondering whether an office chair could explode or not and what you can do to stay safe, then you are at the right place.
Can An Office Chair Explode?
In history, there have been three incidents where office chairs have exploded. So, looking at the past, we can say that office chairs can explode in the wrong conditions.
However, whether an average office chair explodes is a different story. Office chairs do not explode out of the blue. There were specific manufacturing defects in the three cases in history where the chairs exploded.
The chairs we use today do not have those defects, so the chances of an office chair exploding have never been lower.
What Causes An Office Chair To Explode?
In the very rare cases where an office chair does explode, there is only one reason: the low quality or mismanaged gas lift cylinder of the chair.
Gas lift cylinders are filled with nitrogen gas that lets our chairs lift upwards. These cylinders contain gas under pressure. The standard gas for this is nitrogen gas.
However, some companies did use air instead of nitrogen gas to save money. This is where the main issue happened. Pressurized air does not act like pressurized nitrogen gas and is more unstable. In the three cases of cylinder explosions, all three had the same issue with the gas cylinder having air instead of nitrogen gas.
What Are The Chances Of My Office Chair Exploding?
With all the doom and gloom thoughts, you might not feel that safe in your basic office chair. It is understandable.
However, the chances of your office chair exploding are close to zero. Office chairs do not explode like fireworks and do not have any trigger points. If your chair is made with a cylinder filled with nitrogen gas, which is 100% true for all chairs found on the market today, then your chair will not explode.
You might be concerned that if you sit too hard or jump on it, it will explode. Your office chair will not explode because you sit on it under more pressure. It is possible to harm the structure of the chair with sudden excessive loads, but that is not going to make the chair blast off.
Would My Office Chair Explode If It Caught On Fire?
Office chairs do have materials that catch fire quickly, such as plastic and different types of fiber materials. While it is true that a chair might get pretty rough once it goes through a fire, the chances of a chair exploding while in a fire are also extremely low.
And you don’t have to worry about your small fires, like the one from a cigarette, spreading through office chairs as well. The reason is that, even though office chairs have materials that are vulnerable to fire, they are not that flammable to cause huge hazard levels of fire spread.
Even saying that your chair will not explode is not enough for all the over-thinkers out there. So that is why I will tell you all the reasons why you should not worry about it and why your chair will not explode.
Firstly, let’s talk about the mechanisms in the chair. The gas cylinder is a piston-shaped part. This has a spring inside along with pressurized gas.
The pressure of the gas is around 1500 to 2500 psi. I agree. That is a lot of pressure. If things do go wrong horribly, this high pressure will cause a problem.
But the chair has multiple mechanisms dedicated to stopping that from happening. The spring is attached to a strong piston that keeps the spring in place.
The amount of height the gas spring can travel is also regulated by using multiple tight seals. Thus, the spring itself is not that harmful.
Understand that for a chair to explode, a lot of malfunctions have to occur at the same time. Firstly, there would be pressurized air in the cylinder rather than nitrogen gas. Then all the seals on the gas spring have to be broken at the same time.
The chair will have to be at the lowest point for the gas to be at the highest pressure, and the spring will have to fail. Even if all of these happened at the same time, there is only a slight possibility of an explosion.
In reality, all those malfunctions at the same time are as rare as it sounds. Secondly, all companies now use nitrogen gas in their chair lift cylinders due to safety concerns.
Not only that, companies have dedicated labs to test the destructiveness and durability of chairs. During these tests, if any of the chairs show signs of safety hazards or any chance of explosion, they are rejected from being commercially used.
The standard for safety is maintained rigorously. In the US, Canada, Australia, and the EU, there are more than a single layer of safety rules to maintain before the product comes to the market.
So, with that being said, you can rest easy on your office chair because it is not going to explode.
Three Historic Cases Of Office Chair Explosions
As I mentioned before, there have been only three cases in all of world history where an office chair has exploded due to using pressurized air and low-quality materials.
[If you are sensitive to descriptions of harmful incidents, then it might be best for you to not read about the cases.]
I will enlist the cases in short below:
The most recent case happened in the year 2013. It was in the Fujian province of China. A woman was injured with metal parts, screws, and sharp fragments all over her body.
This happened due to her chair exploding. Doctors got all the pieces out of her body with successful surgery, and the woman is alive and well.
The second case, and also the most horrifying one in history, happened in 2009. This was also in China. In Shandong province, a 14-year-old boy was badly injured when his chair exploded with full force.
Metal parts went into the lower half of his body. The amount of bleeding was immense. By the time the boy was taken to the hospital, he could not be saved because he had already bled too much.
This is the most horrifying event of an office chair explosion and has created panic among millions when the public got to know about it.
The very first case of an office chair explosion happened back in 2008. An old man was injured when his chair exploded. According to him, the cylinder of the chair exploded with so much force that it hit the ceiling above.
He was 65 years old at the time. He did survive the incident, but he is surely horrified.
These three cases only represent what has happened in the past. Under no circumstances should this be taken as concrete proof that office chairs will explode. Because there have been manufacturing advancements and highly improved safety protocols from then to now.
You have read it all and understand that the chairs are not explosion hazards, but you still want to be safe. That is understandable, and here is what you can do to increase the safety of your office chair.
1. Buy A Good Quality Chair From A Renowned Brand
If you are concerned about the quality of the product and the risks, your safest option is to go for a chair from a renowned brand.
Brands are the least likely to compromise when it comes to quality and safety, which are non-negotiable for them. Thus, if you buy a chair from a renowned company, the overall safety of the chair increases.
2. Do Not Try To Explode The Chair Intentionally
A lot of you out there want to conduct experiments to see if a chair really will explode. My advice to you is to not try that.
When you try to explode the chair intentionally, whether you think it would be cool to watch or for any other reason, you will expose yourself to unnecessary risks. That is why you should avoid this at all costs.
3. Check If Your Chair Gas Lift Cylinder Is Faulty Or Not
If you find that the gas cylinder is not working properly, then the best option is to simply replace it. You will find new replacements online or at your local supermarket for less than four dollars.
You can install them by yourself, following safety rules and using the proper tools.
4. Use The Chair As A Chair
Misuse of any object can lead to increased risk. You should use your chair for sitting, not for standing on it or jumping from one to another.
I agree that doing so might not make the chair explode, but you will break a tooth or two if you continue this in the long run.
Now that you know that your office chair is not likely to explode, you can work with a peaceful mind. If you still have doubts, then I suggest you follow the safety rules.
Lastly, I want to add that it is okay to think about your safety, but do not be paranoid. If you think critically, then everything is a safety hazard. So use chairs properly and don’t overthink it.