Many people are in jobs that require a substantial amount of standing in the workplace. Other than the possibility of the repetitive nature of such work, which tends to tediousness, there is the effect of restricted movement that can result in fatigue, sore feet, pain in the lower back,ican also cause a decline in morale and productivity. However, the pain of standing for long hours at the workplace hasn’t gone unnoticed by industry watchers or employers who have their employees’ interest at heart—not forgetting OH&S issues or requirements.
These concerns have led to the emergence of a game-changing product – the anti-fatigue mat. Practically anyone who has a ‘standing job’ can use this to their advantage.
What are Anti-Fatigue Mats?
Anti-fatigue mats are mats that are designed to reduce fatigue caused by standing for long periods on a hard surface. Possessing ergonomic qualities, they provide support for your body, reduce fatigue while you are working and offer relief to your feet. They are mostly used in factory floors, healthcare facilities, kitchens, and even offices, as well as other places which demand a lot of standing and walking.
What are the advantages offered by an Anti-Fatigue Mats?
Anti-fatigue floor mats provide better resistance and shock absorption on concrete floors or other hard surfaces that would otherwise cause lower leg and foot pain. This especially effects work done repetitively, standing in a single spot. And, the work can be light work, but the thing to note is the repetitive nature and the restricted movement on one location, which has a hard surface.
(For more information on a 1990s study on the effects of light repetitive manual work, click here.)
Anti-fatigue mats facilitate better circulation for your body, allowing your blood to flow without any restrictions thus reducing the nerve endings that consistently send pain signals to your grey matter, which tell the brain to change position and or move your feet. The is how the body works. When the situation becomes a problem the body sends out a pain signal telling you something isnt in order and the correct blood flow isnt getting through.
Anti-fatigue mats reduce compression of the spinal cord by up to 40%.
What are the types of Anti Fatigue Mats in the market?
Light Foam Anti-Fatigue Mats: Used in the home mainly in kitchens and bathrooms, they are regular in terms of ergonomics and anti-fatigue properties. They should not be used for a long periods as they compress fairly quickly, losing their support capability and memory.
Foam Anti Fatigue Mats: These are safety mats manufactured with a small percentage of rubber, which gives them their durability. They are designed to cater for light duty workshops and environments.
Hard Rubber Anti Fatigue Mats: Hard rubber anti-fatigue floor mats are the the most robust anti-fatigue mats in the market. Though they are incredibly tough they offer less in terms of anti-fatigue and ergonomic properties than other anti-fatigue mats because of their hardness. They are mostly used in industrial sites.
Gel Anti Fatigue Mats: One of the most beneficial when it comes to ergonomics and fatigue prevention, gel anti-fatigue mats have a hard exterior which makes them resilient. The best places to use them are households and offices as they are not ideal for harsh environments.
How to select the right Anti-fatigue Mat
Consider these factors before you select an Anti-fatigue mat for your workplace or even your home:
- The flooring
- The length of time the user will be required to be on his/her feet
- If the user will remain standing throughout the day
- Consider the pressure the mat can withstand
- Take into account the area the mat would need to cover
Harder flooring requires thicker anti-fatigue floor mats. Cement and tile floors, the thickest ones. However, there are significant factors one must take into consideration before choosing, like the conditions of the flooring.
On wet floors such as in kitchens and outdoor environments, anti-slip and bacterial resistant mats are ideal. Even carpeted floors and soft floors need an anti-fatigue mat. A thin mat will provide a firm standing area on soft floors. The longer your employees are on their feet, the thicker the anti-fatigue mat should be. Even on soft flooring, an employee who must stand in the same area for an entire 8-hour shift should use a mat of medium thickness as a minimum.
Likewise, a thin mat can be used on a cement floor if employees have to spend only a few minutes at a time standing. Also, take into account how much your workers walk while working. The more employees walk, the less they need thicker anti-fatigue mats. As the exercise of walking allows blood to circulate freely, reducing injuries and fatigue. Thicker mats are not always the best option. As they are heavier, they are more likely to cause a tripping hazard than thinner mats.
Ideally, you should never buy a mat that is too thick or too thin. The optimal thickness of the mat should be 19 mm (3/4″) as it provides the best anti-fatigue properties. However, if your workspace already has softer flooring where you intend to place your mat, a 13 mm (½”) should be sufficient.
As human beings are not of the same height and weight, make sure to check the amount of pressure the mat can withstand. For example, if a 113 kg (250 lb) man stands on a mat that is designed for a 68 kg (150 lb) person, the mat will soon lose its resiliency and anti-fatigue properties.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Remember that as a leading anti fatigue mat specialise, we at Australian Matting Company (AMCO) are well placed to assist you with all your anti fatigue matting needs.