ADA: How to make an Office Chair Safe, putting on the brakes when needed.

Home modifications by occupational therapist (OT) based on principles of universal design and accessibility.

Universal/accessible design of the home from an occupational therapy and a construction perspective. This blog is part of a quest for cool, convenient, functional design that makes life safer, easier, and as maintenance-free as possible. It's about the lifestyle.
I've been researching office chairs that allow for safety and mobility.  Basically I need a chair for someone with a brain injury and eventually my mom who has Parkinson's disease that will roll when the person is seated and will lock and not roll when the person stands/sits in the chair. 

This was a difficult task but I did have some success:-)

The first and simplest solution,  braking casters.  
  • "Safety casters with an internal brake prevents wheels from rolling freely when the user stands up.  Allows smooth effortless chair rolling while seated.  Minimizes chair movement when no weight is applied."  Basically I believe these are considered decompression brakes on the casters, decompression brakes unlock the caster when weight is applied
  • "Safety casters with reverse brake prevents wheels from turning freely when the user is seated.  Provides smooth rolling chair movement when no weight is applied."    These I believe are compression lock casters and lock the wheel when weight is applied.

Both of these types of casters are recommended to improve safety for someone who has difficulty with rolling chairs getting away from them.  I'm not sure which one would be the safest.  I have attempted to find videos of how these casters work but with no success.  

Below is an amazon link to the safety casters with an internal brake which seems to be the most recommended of the two casters.  If anyone tries them out please let us know your thoughts.

Master Caster Safety Casters, 100 lbs./Caster, Nylon, Matte Black, 5/Set

 Before putting them on my mom's chair I'll be ordering both types of casters and trying them on my chair.  Stay tuned for the video. 

Has anyone else tried either of these caster types?

Quick note:  IKEA had an office chair with braking casters that got horrible reviews, I think it was taken off the market because the casters didn't roll.

As far as safe office chairs with a brake, this throne is the king.  This office chair is the safest, most functional chair I've found after loads of searching.

The Vela Tango Office Chair, this chair comes in a high end model with all the bells and whistles and a lower end model with less features.  Watch the video to really see this chair in action.

Vela Tango Safety Chair 

Watch this video to see how cool this chair really is:

Keyword searched:  chairs with push locks, safety chairs, safety office chairs, chairs with push lock casters,rolling chairs with locks, , chairs with push down locks, easy lock rolling chair, office chairs with brakes, safety brake casters, compression release casters, safety brake casters


Anonymous said...

Wow - just what I need. Any australian distributors?

Karen Koch said...

It's a great chair for mobility, everyone I know who has one loves it. I don't know any distributors in Australia, google Vela Tango Chairs.

In the USA you can get one at:

Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

Would be great except that the base chair is over $1,600!

Karen Koch said...

Yes, but all equipment and high end office chairs are over $1000.00.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the link re: safety casters. Now can get the desk chair of choice and add safety casters

Desk Chairs said...

I've been researching office chairs that allow for safety and mobility. Basically I need a chair for someone with a brain injury and eventually my ...

Anonymous said...

Great informative article thanks for sharing this.. Brakes allow the user to stop carts in motion and lock them in place to increase safety by reducing the chance of a runaway cart. steel casters

Unknown said...

VIVA OFFICE Mid-Back Office Task Chair from Bizarkdeal

Great Chair! I have this exact one in my dorm and easily adjusts to fit the heights of the two desks in my room. Also is it not only bright but very comfortable as well. If you're looking for a chair to do work in, I'd definitely recommend this one.

Karen Koch said...

Thanks Selina. I have one too and I must admit I'm a bit spoiled. I love how easy it is to propel with my feet, it makes it so I can move around in the chair fast and easy. I hate to admit but I actually find this chair to be fun.

winschod said...

Thanks for sharing, it was interesting to read!

post-polio survivor said...

Vela chairs are sold out. Anything else available?

Karen Koch said...

No, unfortunately I haven't had time to research alternatives. If you find something please post. It's a huge need.