AFRDI (The Australasian Furnishing Research and Development Institute), also known as Furntech, is a not-for-profit group that researches and tests many different types of commercial and domestic furniture. AFRDI has created industry standards that assist manufacturers in making quality products, help retailers properly market furniture items, and aid consumers in understanding what they’re buying.

Swivel office chairs with height adjustment capability fall under the AS/NZS 4438 or the AFRDI 142- Rated Load set of requirements. The AS/NZS 4438 requirements are for users weighing 110 kg or less. Under this standard there are three levels; 4, 5, and 6. Level 4 certified office chairs are for general office use. Level 5 chairs are for industrial locations or other demanding office environments. Level 6 chairs are designed to truly take a beating, and are recommended for high-use situations and heavy industry.

If you’re looking for a chair to satisfy requirements of your company’s human resources department, a level 6 chair is ideal. If your HR department doesn’t have specific requirements, a level 4 or 5 chair should be sufficient.

AFRDI 142- Rated Load certification standards cover office chairs designed for users over 110 kg. For users up to and including 135 kg, look for certification 135 SS or 135 MS (SS is for 40 hours per week of use, and MS is for significantly over 40 hours per week). If the intended user is between 135 kg and 160 kg, look for certification 160 SS and 160 MS.

Keep in mind that these certifications are for safety and durability only. While a level 6 chair will have more adjustability features (and is therefore more ergonomic by definition) they are not certified as ergonomic under these classifications.

AFRDI Blue and Green Tick Certification

There are several tags under the AFRDI-Furntech certification scheme: AFRDI, AFRDI Blue Tick, Green Tick, Furntech Orange Tick, AFRDI Rated Load, and AFRDI 146 Leather. But the Green Tick and Blue Tick tags deserve special mention.

Green Tick Hang Tag - In addition to creating a consistent set of standards, AFRDI ensures that each item they test is safe by being strong, stable and inflammable. The organisation also puts an emphasis on environmental sustainability. They take into consideration factors like how raw materials are sourced and how durable a product is (to keep items out of landfills), and even if components are recyclable.

The Green Building Council of Australia recognises the AFRDI certifications under the following equivalency:

  • ·         AFRDI Green Tick Level C/Silver – Level B recognition
  • ·         AFRDI Green Tick Level B/Gold – Level A recognition
  • ·         AFRDI Green Tick Level A/Platinum – Level A recognition

Blue Tick Hang Tag – Blue Tick certification means that not only does the chair meet the safety and durability requirements for AS/NZS 4438, it signifies that the supplier has entered into an agreement with AFRDI to maintain the quality of their chairs according to AFRDI specifications.

To use the Blue Tick tag on their products, suppliers must have products tested every three years, if the AFRDI standards change, or the supplier makes changes to the product. In addition, the supplier must keep a log of complaints and be willing to allow spot checks from AFRDI. This ensures any office chair with a Blue Tick tag is held to the most current standards.