Anti-fatigue mats are great for creating a healthy work environment, enhancing worker productivity, and reducing injury and equipment replacement costs.
The need for an anti-fatigue mat
Standing or sitting down for more than four hours is hazardous to a person’s health and can cause extreme fatigue and a decline in worker productivity. Fatigue and other health and safety hazards can be reduced or eliminated entirely and employee productivity enhanced with the installation of anti-fatigue mats in the workplace.
Benefits of anti-fatigue mats
Anti-fatigue mats are designed to improve the safety of employees by reducing slip-and-fall accidents due to fatigue, especially in cases where workers have to stand or sit for long periods of time. Another safety benefit of anti-fatigue mats is that they come with cushioning for equipment or parts that have been dropped – damaged tools can be costly. They also provide grease resistance, as grease increases the risk of workers slipping or falling.
Types of anti-fatigue mats
Anti-fatigue mats are versatile and come in different sizes, with many features and benefits. There are mats for those who stand and for those who sit for long hours, as well as mats for different work environments. Anti-fatigue mats can also be customised to fit a particular area or space.
- Light duty – These mats have thousands of air bubbles, creating a soft and comfortable cushion.
- Medium to heavy duty – Are padded with foam for cushion and bounce. They’re more durable and can tolerate foot and light cart traffic. They’re also made with Zedlan™ material that reduces fatigue and increases the mat’s lifespan.
- Foam – For dry indoor environments.
- Rubber or vinyl – Suitable for wet areas with water, oil, grease and other fluids. They offer drainage and cushioning to improve area safety. Workers can stand raised above any liquids that are drained beneath the mat.
- Small mats – A small cushioned mat is suitable for workers who stand or sit down most of the time.
- Big mats – For employees who move between one workstation to another in one location, like in a lab.
- Mobile (ErgoMates) – This is perfect for workers who regularly walk to different workstations. The device is strapped on over their shoes and moves with them as they walk.
- Bevelled edges – This reduces the risk of employees tripping over and rolling carts or dollies will be easier to do.
- Riser – Short employees who often stand can use a riser with a cushioned anti-fatigue surface to raise them to the right height.
- Added traction – This is great for kitchens and industrial settings to reduce the risk of workers getting into slip-and-fall accidents.
- Anti-static – Workplaces that have unstable and flammable chemicals can use anti-static mats for improving safety. For example, in labs, static electricity can cause fire.
Choosing an anti-fatigue mat
a) Rental vs. high-performance mats
Businesses sometimes rent mats on either a weekly or monthly basis and usually don’t last longer than a few months. They are then disposed of to landfills. In contrast, high-performance mats are normally bought from a distributer with a 1 or 2-year warranty, or even longer. This means that they’re more cost effective in the long run and environmentally friendly.
High-performance anti-fatigue mats prevent health problems as a result of standing or sitting on hard floors for a long period of time. They offer a cushion or bounce that helps increase the movement of the body, balances a person’s weight on the floor, and improves the flow and circulation of blood. This in turn gets rid of aches and pains from standing or sitting down for too long.
b) Cost and quality
Low-cost anti-fatigue mats tend to be of poor quality materials. Like rental mats, they’ll only last a few months. Vinyl mats, for example, are popular because they’re inexpensive and are suitable for particular types of work environments. However, they’re prone to losing their buoyancy fast, which makes them ineffective for decreasing fatigue, aches and pains.
As mentioned above, poor-quality mats like rental mats usually come with a three-month warranty. High-quality mats, like the high-performance mat, have a 1-year warranty or more.
d) Test drive
Before choosing an anti-fatigue mat for your business, test drive it with your employees. There are different types of anti-fatigue mats for a variety of work environments as discussed above, and the way they feel can vary from person to person. After you’ve tried out several types, choose the mat that your workers feel is the most comfortable.