How Anti-Fatigue Mats Protect Employers and Employees

Amco ESD Orthomaster mat in an industrial facility

Are anti-fatigue mats required by law in Australia? In this article:

A worker received workers’ compensation for a heel injury in a legal case in 2015. The worker had to stand in one place all day. Standing for long periods of time caused her an injury.  The worker was awarded compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages. 

This case shows how anti-fatigue floor mats can save businesses money by lowering workers’ compensation claims for injuries. It highlights the financial benefits for employers using these mats.

The Case of Michelle Keogh vs. Qantas Airways Limited

In January 2013, a worker at Qantas Airways Ltd felt a sudden pain in her right heel. She was standing at her workstation on the kitchen production line.

Diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, she initially received workers’ compensation. However, her employer terminated her compensation and employment a year later. 

The worker filed another claim for plantar fasciitis in her left foot. She said that standing for a long time on a thin rubber mat that felt like concrete made her condition worse.

The Victorian Magistrates Court found in favor of the worker, ordering Qantas to reinstate her weekly compensation payments. 

Magistrate Phillip Ginnane said that the employer’s new anti-fatigue mats met occupational safety and health standards. However, they were replaced randomly without a set schedule. This caused the mats to wear out over time.

This case shows how important it is to use ergonomic solutions to protect employees. One example is using anti-fatigue mats. These solutions can help prevent workplace injuries and they can save businesses money.

The Financial Impact of Workplace Injuries

Workplace injuries can have significant financial repercussions for businesses. Workers’ compensation claims cost money for medical care and payments to workers. But they also lead to lost productivity, higher insurance costs, and possible legal expenses. 

Implementing ergonomic solutions like anti-fatigue mats can help mitigate these costs by preventing injuries before they occur.

Amco Orthodelux Anti-Fatigue Mat

What are the workplace safety rules for standing for long periods at work in Australia? Are anti-fatigue mats required by law?

Under the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act in Australia, employers have a duty to ensure the health and safety of workers as far as is reasonably practicable. 

This includes managing the risks associated with prolonged sitting and standing. 

Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must:

  • Identify hazards by finding out what could go wrong and what could cause harm.
  • Assess risks to understand the harm each hazard could cause, how serious the harm could be, and the likelihood of it happening.
  • Control risks by implementing the most effective control measures that are reasonably practicable in the circumstances.
  • Review control measures to ensure they are working as planned.

Employers need to discuss with workers and others about health and safety, collaborate, and plan activities to reduce risks efficiently. 

This law highlights the importance of using ergonomic solutions. One example is anti-fatigue standing mats. These mats help reduce the risks of standing for long periods. 

Read more about what Safe Work Austraila says about sitting and standing for extended periods at work here.

How Anti-Fatigue Mats Can Save Money

Anti-fatigue mats are designed to reduce the strain on muscles and joints caused by prolonged standing on hard surfaces. 

These mats have a soft surface that supports movement, improves blood flow, and keeps muscles engaged. Bevelled edges are designed to reduce any trip hazard the mat presents.

Here are several ways in which anti-fatigue mats can save workplace injury and an employer money too:

  1. Fewer injuries: Anti-fatigue mats can reduce musculoskeletal disorders and other injuries, leading to fewer workers’ compensation claims. This not only saves direct costs but also helps maintain lower insurance premiums.
  2. Increased Productivity: Comfortable employees are more productive. Reducing fatigue and discomfort allows workers to focus better on their tasks, leading to improved efficiency and output.
  3. Decreased Absenteeism: Preventing injuries and fatigue helps reduce absenteeism, ensuring that employees spend more time at work rather than recovering from work-related injuries.
  4. Lower Turnover Rates: A safer and more comfortable working environment can lead to higher employee satisfaction, reducing turnover rates and the costs associated with hiring and training new employees.

Amco Orthomaster® Industrial Anti-Fatigue Mat

Best Practices for Implementing Anti-Fatigue Mats

To maximise the benefits of anti-fatigue mats, employers should consider the following best practices:

Regular Monitoring and Replacement

Regularly check and replace anti-fatigue mats, like in the Qantas case, to make sure they keep working properly. 

Mats should be checked for wear and tear and replaced according to a set schedule rather than on an ad hoc basis.

Appropriate Footwear

Alongside anti-fatigue mats, providing appropriate footwear is crucial. Ergonomic mats and supportive shoes work together to reduce the strain on employees’ bodies. 

Employers should ensure that the footwear provided is comfortable and suitable for prolonged standing.

Rotating Duties

Rotating employees’ duties to include both standing and sitting arrangements can help mitigate the risk of injury. 

This practice reduces the time spent standing in one place, which can significantly lessen the strain on the body.

Evaluating Job Requirements

Re-evaluating the inherent requirements of roles can also help in identifying and mitigating potential risks. 

Employers should consider the physical demands of each position and make necessary adjustments to reduce the risk of injuries.

Amco Orthomaster® Industrial Anti-Fatigue Mat

Should you invest in new anti-fatigue matting?

Michelle Keogh vs. Qantas Airways shows why it’s important to have ergonomic solutions at work for health and safety. 

Anti-fatigue mats are a smart investment for companies. They can save money by reducing workers’ compensation claims, increasing productivity, decreasing absenteeism, and lowering turnover rates. 

Employers can improve workplace safety and comfort by following best practices. These practices include regularly monitoring, providing proper footwear, rotating tasks, and assessing job needs. 

By implementing these measures, employers can create a safer and more comfortable work environment for their employees.

For more information on how anti-fatigue mats can benefit your workplace, contact us or call us today on 1800 888 598 to speak with one of our specialist consultants. 

Our team is dedicated to helping you find the perfect ergonomic mat to improve comfort, safety, and productivity in your workplace.

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Quality anti-fatigue and anti-slip products

At AMCO we pride ourselves on being the leading supplier of anti-fatigue and anti-slip mats to Australia's heavy industry sector, including mining, power generation and terminals. 

If your workforce spend their days on their feet then we have a product that will make their load easier. Specialising in orthopaedic matting solutions, we are the anti-fatigue and anti-slip mat company you can trust.

Truck driving through a mining tunnel