A questionnaire was recently distributed to approximately 500 building service contractors, jansan distributors, and facility managers to ascertain their understanding of antifatigue matting systems.
According to the questionnaire’s sponsor Crown Mats and Matting, which developed antifatigue matting systems about 40 years ago, the goal was not only to test the recipients’ knowledge of antifatigue mats, but also to help educate them on how the systems work and their benefits.
Some of the items covered:
• More than 12 percent thought “almost all mats today have antifatigue qualities.”  However, most of the respondents knew this is not the case.  Antifatigue matting systems are mats specially designed to reduce “the pain or tiredness caused by standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time.”
• Virtually all knew that standing for long periods of time on a hard surface floor can cause pain and fatigue, resulting in reduced worker productivity, increased absenteeism, and lower morale.
• A little more than half believe pain and fatigue can occur on any type of hard surface floor: wood, stone, tile, or cement. However, studies indicate that standing for long periods on a cement floor can have a greater adverse impact on workers than standing on any other type of floor surface.
“This is likely because cement and concrete have no ‘give’ when walked or stood on,” says Christopher Tricozzi, vice president of sales and marketing for Crown Mats and Matting.  “One of the key benefits of an antifatigue matting system is the ‘give, take, and rebound’ effect that helps improve blood flow and circulation through the legs and reduce fatigue.”
Legally Required?
When respondents were asked if U.S. employers are required to install antifatigue matting systems, nearly 90 percent reported that they do not believe it is mandatory.
This may be open to debate because the Health and Safety in Employment Act of 1992 requires employers to take all practicable steps to provide a safe and healthy workplace for employees.
Many experts believe that prolonged standing should be considered hazardous because we know it can lead to discomfort, pain, or injury.  “They [experts] advise that antifatigue matting systems should be a part of a facility’s efforts to keep the work environment safe and healthy for its workers,” concludes Tricozzi.