Anti-fatigue mats are one of the best, most cost-effective ways of improving health and safety at your premises, and boosting employee productivity and engagement. There are many different types of anti-fatigue mats available so we thought that we would take this opportunity to highlight some of the options for specific job roles.
Many office workers are choosing to use a standing or hybrid desk, as there are several health benefits and the price of these units is becoming much more affordable. Unfortunately for those workers who are standing on harder surfaces – laminates, wood, even the thinner types of carpet found in a lot of professional offices – the standing desk can lead to problems with joints, stiffness, swollen feet and backache.
The solution is an anti-fatigue mat that is designed for office workers. Choose a high-quality, high-density foam construction that provides just enough cushioning for the user to feel more comfort without being so soft that it does not provide support.
In retail settings, the worker is likely to do a lot of twisting and leaning. This kind of activity can quickly cause wear and tear to the matting – so you will need something that is designed for this kind of abuse. Look for toughened PVC surfaces that are built for longevity, otherwise you may find that you are replacing your mats too frequently for them to be cost-effective.
Machinists need more than just comfort, they need to be able to deal quickly and effectively with the filings, shavings and other debris that their work creates. They need a mat that has holes or perforations throughout to trap the fallout from the machine work – which means that you cannot get a typical foam-based product. Instead, look for natural rubber that also offers sufficient flex to provide comfort to the user.
In production settings you can choose from a couple of different mats depending on the type of environment – how much traffic the mat will see, whether it is a wet or dry site and the kind of work that is undertaken. For lighter use, a good cost-effective option will focus on the anti-fatigue properties at the expense of being super hard-wearing and durable, as those users will not be making heavy demands on their matting.
At the welding station, of course, flame-retardancy is a high priority. Stray sparks, dripped molten metal and other by-products of the welding process can quickly damage a mat that is not built for purpose, which will mean you need to replace the mat or risk the mat becoming a trip hazard in its own right. Check your mat for the British Standard related to fire resistance – BS EN 13501-1:2002 is the one to look out for.
Professional kitchen environments need a balance of comfort, anti-slip properties, and resistance to the oils, greases and detergents that are inevitably going to drip, spill or splatter. You need to look for a mat that is marked as safe for use around oil and grease – typically made from nitrile rubber.
These locations will also usually have the same need as machine shops when it comes to collecting any dropped substances and preventing them from becoming slip hazards or from being trodden around the rest of your site.
Environments such as oil refineries require many of the same features as professional kitchens when it comes to matting – their mats must be oil resistant (obviously), anti-slip, hard-wearing and of course slightly flexible. At these sites, however, the use case is considerably more heavy-duty. Look for a heavy-duty, oil-resistant matting that has excellent anti-slip properties, otherwise you will be exposing your employees to the likelihood of slip and fall accidents.
Hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical sites, food manufacturing facilities – all of these need matting that can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised. This will require high temperature tolerances, resistance to damage from detergents and good drainage. Choose a mat that has holes for water or other liquids to escape through quickly, and a closed-cell construction to ensure that the mat can tolerate a broad range of temperatures.
Where chemical spills, splashes or drips are a risk, your anti-fatigue mat will need to be built to withstand those often caustic substances. There is no need to sacrifice the anti-fatigue benefits, however, as you can find mats on the market that are designed to resist commonly used chemicals, oils, and other products found on the industrial site, while also giving good cushioning and flexibility.