Every business has battled with the costs and problems caused by accidents and absences, but many don’t or simply know how to tackle these issues. Some may not even be aware of the full impact injury and absences are having on their workforce and, subsequently, their business. If you’re not sure what anti-fatigue mats are, or you’ve only just come across them, you might be wondering what exactly they are and if the cost is worth the benefit to your business.
What are anti-fatigue mats
If you’ve been looking into how to make your workplace safer for your workforce, or even how to reduce absences and save money, you may have come across anti-fatigue mats at some point. While it may seem surprising, these simple mats are designed to deliver a range of safety benefits to your work environment. Their main benefit is to help reduce fatigue in job roles that typically require a lot of standing, hence their name. Today, you’ll also find a wide range of mats that are designed to reduce accidents, protect the environment itself and much more.
How anti-fatigue mats work
There’s a reason why walking around for hours is a lot better for us then just standing around for hours. Our bodies need to move, and using our muscles is good for the joints and even the heart itself. Many of the injuries caused by standing around for extended periods such as aches, stiffness and rheumatic diseases are a result of poor movement.
Anti-fatigue mats work by using a cushioned surface to get the feet, and therefore the legs and body, moving. Feet are forced to constantly adapt to the soft surface of the mat, which encourages the typical muscle contraction and expansion we experience when walking. This also gets the venous pump working, which helps pump blood back to the heart and reduces other stress and fatigue including hip and back problems. Compared to a hard floor, the shock absorption of anti-fatigue mats reduces compression of the spinal-cord and improves posture as well as blood circulation.
The benefits of anti-fatigue mats
There are several benefits of anti-fatigue mats to both the workplace and, more important, your employees.
Benefits to your workforce
The main purpose of anti-fatigue mats is to reduce fatigue from standing and the negative impact it can have on people’s health. Anyone that’s stood around for a couple of hours knows how uncomfortable it can be, and this feeling is only intensified when there are several hours in a work shift and several work shifts in a week. Sustained standing like this goes beyond simply feeling uncomfortable; research has shown it can have serious detrimental effects on the health and well-being of workers.
Anti-fatigue mats use innovative cushioned material to help reduce joint damage, swollen feet and legs, orthopaedic foot problems such as Achilles Tendinitis, and venous disorders like varicose veins. It can also help reduce the other commonly related problems like back, hip and neck pain as well as other problems that can lead to rheumatic diseases.
Slips and trips at work are still the number one cause for injury in workplaces in the UK with 29% citing this as their reason for absence or injury compared to the next highest of 22% for lifting or handling. These types of accidents are often caused by slippery floors which can be especially problematic in work areas that handle water, oil or other chemicals.
As well as reducing fatigue, there are now a variety of workplace mats designed to be resistant to one or a variety of liquids to help reduce slips and falls in even wet areas. A textured rubber surface is naturally grippy for all workplace areas, while special materials mean other anti-fatigue mats can provide additional traction in wet areas as well.
Benefits to the workplace
Reduce material damages
Many anti-fatigue mats are naturally more absorbent thanks to their anti-fatigue properties and therefore result in less damage caused by dropping objects. There are now also a range of mats designed specifically to protect against dropping materials including harmful chemicals, fragile glass and heavy objects. While they can’t reduce the number of accidents caused by dropping materials, they can help minimise the damage caused by these events. This includes absorbing the impact of glass to reduce damage caused by shattering, as well as reducing any damage caused by dropping heavy objects.
Again, while many acts and natural sound proofers, today there are many anti-fatigue mats designed specifically to absorb sound and vibrations. These mats are perfect for workplaces that operation heavy or loud machinery and want to create a more comfortable work environment.
Easy to clean
Anti-fatigue mats are designed to be easy to clean and maintain to help make clean-up easier. For workplaces that deal with chemicals or liquids, this is especially important as clean-up can be vital to the overall safety of the workplace. Again, this also helps to make it a more comfortable environment for everyone.
How anti-fatigue help your business
The good news is that all these benefits will also directly impact your business for the better. With nearly a quarter of over-7-day injuries caused by slips and trips and fatigue from standing causing such wide range health problems, you’ll like see an immediate and significant benefit to your business long-term.
The costs associated with accidents and absences to business from across the world reaches far into the billions. While there isn’t always something you can do about absences and even workplace injury, you can help to reduce it where possible with the help of solutions like anti-fatigue mats.
As well as the numerous health problems caused by standing fatigue, you can also help reduce the number of slips and trips. Plus, you’ll find an anti-fatigue mat to help improve the safety of just about any workplace. From mats designed to insulated and absorb against electric shocks to fire-retardant workplace mats, installing a solution that is designed specifically for your environment can help to significantly reduce the number of incidents in your workplace. Not only is this great for your employees, but you’ll save a lot of money from paid absences and work leave as well.
Protect your workers
Again, choosing a mat that is designed to meet your work environment means added protection for your workforce. As well as saving you money directly from absences, it also means protecting your most valuable business asset. Without your workforce there would be no work, so ensuring that they are safe should be a priority.
Happy workers are simply better workers. There’s been countless research that shows how keeping your workforce happy can have serious benefits to the quality and amount of work they do. As well as actually being in work longer thanks to fewer absences, they’ll also be a lot more productive when they are. With less time cleaning up spillages, at home from injury and simply feeling uncomfortable and unhappy, you’ll be surprised by how much anti-fatigue mats can improve productivity.
If you want to improve safety for your workplace and your workers but aren’t sure what type of anti-fatigue you need, you can now use our anti-fatigue mat finder. Search for your business needs and find the perfect solution.
All images: Notrax