Factors to Consider Before Installing Anti-Fatigue Mats
Anti-fatigue mats are commonly used in a variety of locations where workers must stand in one place for long periods of time. According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), scientific data proves that prolonged standing is "particularly stressful and fatiguing."
While the CCOHS recommends the use of anti-fatigue mats, it also suggests the following practices in addition to installing anti-fatigue matting for people who must stand all day at work:
• Change the work/standing position. Work should be changed so that workers have a choice, or at least an opportunity, to change position or sit during the work shift.
• Footwear. "There is no doubt that the choice of footwear is an important consideration," noted CCOHS. Shoes should have adequate arch and heal support as well as cushioning.
• Flooring. Hard, unyielding floors, such as concrete, are the least comfortable to walk and work on, having "the impact of a hammer pounding the heel at every step." Data suggests considering the installation of rubber, carpeting, or some other softer floor covering.
"Unfortunately, many industrial facilities have concrete flooring and changing them is either not possible or cost prohibitive," says Brett Davis, vice president of sales and marketing for Crown Mats and Matting. "That's why anti-fatigue mats are often the only other option."
According to Davis, anti-fatigue mats absorb the "shock" due to walking and their cushioning effect reduces fatigue. "Employers should look at all options in reducing worker fatigue. Invariably, the result is enhanced worker productivity and morale," he added.