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How To Choose The Right Anti Fatigue Mat

Anti-fatigue mats require careful product selection before a successful purchase can be made.
 

One of the major causes for back, leg and foot pain in the workplace is undertaking work that requires standing for long periods of time.  Millions of dollars in lost production time each year is due to worker injury or fatigue from standing work, especially on hard surfaces.

Anti fatigue mats are ergonomic mats that actually reduce stress and leg fatigue.  There is a large variety of these mats, many that are designed for specific industries.  Selecting the softest rubber mat is not always a wise choice.  There are many other factors to consider when choosing the right anti fatigue mat for your specific workplace environment.

Here are some helpful tips to consider when selecting an anti fatigue mat.

Determining the right resiliency of a mat is critical.  Resiliency or recovery of the mat will greatly impact the comfort level for the worker standing on it.  Much like a mattress that feels soft at first will actually result in more aches and pains in the morning because it did not properly support your bodyweight. The same is true for an anti fatigue mat. If the mat is too soft it can have a negative effect and actually increase fatigue rather than reducing it.  An overly soft mat will typically not last as long as a quality resilient mat.  A good anti fatigue mat should provide increased circulation and stimulation of leg muscles by encouraging subtle changes in posture to increase blood flow.

A mat that is too hard offers little to no benefit over a hard floor surface that can produce unwanted pressure and discomfort of leg muscles leading to an increase in fatigue and decrease in worker effectiveness.

A quality anti fatigue mat should provide a balance of comfort and responsiveness.  The mat should quickly return to its original shape as the workers weight is shifted.  If the mat takes too long to rebound, then it fails to provide the support, comfort and circulatory benefits of an anti fatigue mat.  This delicate balance of comfort and responsiveness will ensure that the mat does not 'bottom out'.  Instead the mat will absorb the shock and respond providing comfort and stability as well as adequate cushioning in the event of a fall on the mat.  You want a mat that will provide the protection of a cushioned surface in the event of a fall while not giving up support and comfort for everyday standing and walking.

SAFETY CONCERNS:
Other considerations when choosing the right anti fatigue mat for your workplace is ensuring that the mat is secure on the floor.  To avoid slip and trip hazards many anti fatigue mats offer bevelled edging which provides safe movement on and off the mat.  For smaller and lightweight mats, double sided carpet tape will help keep the mat securely in place.  For wet or slippery work environments an anti fatigue mat with a textured surface provides additional traction to minimise slip hazards.

CLEANING:
One area that is often overlooked when selecting a mat is how easy is it to clean.  Having a carpet cleaning service can be quite costly so check the mats cleaning recommendations.  Each industry or business may present specific cleaning requirements.  For example health care or food service environments will probably not choose a mat that will trap in dirt or harbour bacteria that could lead to unsanitary conditions.  There are anti fatigue mats that are specifically designed for food service or health care environments.

DURABILITY:
How long the mat will last is a very legitimate concern when purchasing an anti fatigue mat.  The materials used and how it is constructed will be a significant factor in measuring the longevity of the mat.  The true value of the mat will be determined by its effectiveness and frequency that a mat needs to be replaced.  The anti fatigue mat must fit the conditions and use of the workplace.  Abrasion resistance and chemical resistance can be very important factors for certain industrial environments.

In summary, the old adage 'you get what you pay for' is true.  That's why it is important to make an educated decision when purchasing anti fatigue matting that will fit the surface requirements and ergonomic needs of your workplace.  Consider the working conditions, type of use, construction and safety features of the mat to find an effective solution with the best value.