Anti Fatigue Mats
Anti fatigue mats or anti stress mats as they are also known are widely used in commercial and industrial premises to provide worker comfort. Anti fatigue mats provide a cushioning effect under foot and provide a warmer, softer surface to stand on. Many benefits are found when using anti fatigue mats in the workplace.
Studies carried out at the Centre for Ergonomics, University of Michigan and the Department of Industrial Engineering, Kansas State University, observed the differences between standing on hard floors compared with standing on soft floors such as anti fatigue mats.
The studies both concluded that the use of anti fatigue mats have a significant affect on fatigue and comfort in different body regions. Several health problems can result from standing on a hard surface for an extended period. Firstly, standing on a hard surface causes muscles to constrict, which reduces the blood flow. This can cause pain in muscles and joints and cause blood to stagnate. In addition, long-term standing can lead to pronation, or excessive flattening of the foot. While this can be simply tiring and a bit painful, it can also lead to serious foot conditions. Lower back pain is highest in workers who stand for 4 hours or more per day. Standing on an anti fatigue mat may help to prevent and ease these conditions.
The stress we go through every day in our workplace is one of the causes of work absence. While our work varies from one another, numerous research has proven that people who work in a static position are more likely to be physically fatigued compared to those whose work is not. When you stand at work for a long time the results are often discomfort, aches and fatigue
Designed to reduce work fatigue which is usually caused by prolonged standing on a hard or cold surface during working hours, the Anti-fatigue mat is an affordable and effective solution to leg and back fatigue, and its impact on productivity. Introducing the anti-fatigue mat into your organisation could enhance your employee’s performance and create a comfortable working environment, which in turn can help encourage concentration and productivity.
What is an anti-Fatigue Mat?
Have you ever felt it before? Leg, foot, pelvic and even back pain which result from standing in a static position for long periods of time. The introduction of Anti-fatigue mats has been helpful and success stories from various companies have been recorded. In fact, it was published recently that the use of Anti-fatigue mats at work can increase the productivity of workers, provide comfort, reduce relevant workplace injuries, and also enhance productivity.
However, Anti-Fatigue mats are specially designed ergonomic equipment (mats) which are developed to drastically reduce the symptoms of fatigue which is caused by being in a static position for too long. Anti-Fatigue mats defend you against Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSDs.), they work by encouraging subtle movements of your foot and leg muscles which encourages the free flowing of blood.
Made from different materials to suit every working environment, Anti-fatigue mats are specially designed to meet the functionality of different environments which includes machine shops, warehouses, factories, kitchens, welding bays, offices (standing desks), shops hotels and hair salons, but they all work in the same way by reducing worker fatigue.
Anti fatigue mats have a cushioning effect that allows continuous micro-movements of the feet, which minimises blood pooling in the legs. Anti-fatigue mats may also help to improve comfort by providing a warmer surface to stand on so offering relief from cold or damp floor conditions.
There is good reason to believe that the reduction of fatigue that is provided by the use of an anti fatigue mat also reduces the possibility of accidents and improves general work efficiency.
How Anti-Fatigue Mats Work and the Principle Behind It
Normally, standing on a hard surface for a long time can be tiring and uncomfortable, this may, however, lead to aches, back and waist pains and other serious WRMSDs. The employees’ leg muscles become static and constricted which reduces blood flow and this can lead to severe pains, discomfort, aches and fatigue.
The employees’ heart will be forced to pump more blood for circulation, the stress on the heart is the main cause of fatigue. Because they are designed to make the muscles inperceptably move, Anti-Fatigue mats help to improve the free flow of blood in the calf and leg muscles which in turn reduces pressure on the heart and therefore reduces fatigue. Research has been carried out which has shown that an employee standing on an Anti-Fatigue mat will be more productive and even more motivated compared to an employee standing on a hard surface.
With the help of an anti fatigue mat and the micro movements in the lower limbs it causes, the venous valve present in your calf pumps the deoxygenated blood back to the heart through the venous system. This re-oxygenated blood can then be distributed throughout the body which in turn provides energy, increases productivity and reduces fatigue. When the body becomes static, the venous pump becomes idle and this causes blood to pool in the lower limbs.
According to a research carried out by prominent Ergonomist, Mark Redfern of the University of Michigan in 1988 on the workers of Ford Chesterfield Trim Plant, it was proven that the workers who used the Anti-Fatigue mats experienced lower fatigue and were up to 50% more productive than the employees who did not.
Health Conditions That May Be Linked to Working On Your Feet
- Joint pains – usually in ankles, knees, hips & back.
- Plantar Fasciitis.
- Increases in fatigue and tiredness which may lead to a lack of concentration and reduced productivity.
- Excessive over-pronation of the feet, possibly contributing to and causing “flat feet”.
- Varicose veins and other circulatory disorders.
- Poor body mechanics and posture
- Swollen Feet & Ankles – blood pools in the lower limbs due to gravity.
- Orthopaedic conditions including reduced muscle elasticity and rheumatic conditions.
- Corns & bunions on feet.
- Achilles Tendonitis.
Benefits of an Anti-Fatigue Mat
The benefits of Anti-Fatigue mats cannot be overemphasised. They can increase employees’ performance, create a comfortable and ideal working environment, and can reduce work place injuries. Highlighted below are the possible benefits of Anti-Fatigue mats:
- Improves general work productivity.
- Improved circulation
- Reduction in WRMSD’s
- Anti-Fatigue mats increase worker performance by reducing fatigue by up to 50%.
- Reduced absenteeism due to reduced medical issues and accidents.
- Promotes positive mental strength and good body dynamics.
- It increases worker comfort and creates a better work environment for employees.
Anti-Fatigue mats also double up as Anti Slip mats, therefore reducing the risk of slips and trips.
Anti-fatigue mats can benefit employees anywhere where they may be standing for long periods of time. This has been confirmed recently in a scientific study undertaken by Loughborough university. The tests took place under laboratory conditions using both objective and subjective measures. 14 participants compared standing on anti fatigue mats with standing on concrete. The subjective results showed significant benefits to the participants standing on the anti fatigue mats and both thermal and postural benefits were experienced and fatigue levels were reduced.
Anti fatigue mats, as many people know are often used in factories, however it is less realised that employees in other sectors can also benefit. Other areas where an anti-fatigue mat could be a benefit include: commercial kitchens, shops, restaurants, banks, hotels, pharmacies, chemists, hotel receptions, warehouses and many more.
With improved anti fatigue mat product ranges, anti fatigue mats no longer have to look ‘industrial’ and we can offer a range of anti fatigue mats to fit in with the look of your premises.
We can supply anti fatigue matting on rolls, cut to length or as individual mats and offer anti fatigue mats for businesses and the home.
If you would like any advice before purchasing an anti fatigue mat, please do not hesitate to contact us.