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How to Choose the Best Anti-Fatigue Mat for Any Workstation

Monday, November 23, 2009
By Anne Kramer

Anti-fatigue mats are a versatile addition to any workstation. While they are most commonly used for standing workstations, they are also useful for those who predominantly remain seated. Because anti-fatigue mats come in a variety of sizes with a multitude of features, they are an excellent method for improving employee health and productivity.

Benefits of Anti-Fatigue Mats

Prolonged standing can lead to fatigue and soreness in the feet, ankles, legs, and back. While these health issues most frequently occur in employees who stand all day long, they can also develop in those who usually sit. Because it is best to alternate postures throughout the course of the day, consider outfitting the workstation to protect employee health during all periods of standing.

In addition to protecting employee health, anti-fatigue mats offer several other significant safety benefits:

  • Anti-static surfaces: In laboratories and other settings, the presence of static electricity can pose a fire hazard. Anti-fatigue mats can reduce or eliminate this static.
  • Cushioning for dropped equipment or parts: Damaged equipment and tools often represent a considerable expense, not only in manufacturing, but also in laboratories that use delicate and intricate equipment.
  • Grease resistance: A concern in both kitchens and industrial settings, grease can increase risk for workplace falls and other accidents.
  • Improved traction: Slip and fall accidents are among the most common office injuries. Anti-fatigue mats improve traction and lower the risk of these accidents.

Selecting an Anti-Fatigue Mat

The nature of work and the employee’s predominant posture at the workstation are key factors to consider when choosing an anti-fatigue mat. It is often possible to customize a mat to fit a specific workstation or space.

  • If workers are usually stationary, a smaller anti-fatigue mat is generally sufficient. A mat with extensive cushioning will provide the most relief for employees who stand most of the time.
  • Employees who need a slightly greater range of motion will also need a larger anti-fatigue mat. In laboratories, where employees may move between stations in close proximity, mats that span all stations are the best option.
  • For employees who often walk among various workstations, Ergo Mates may be the best option. These devices strap on over any shoes, and provide a sort of mobile anti-fatigue mat that moves with each employee.
  • Beveled edges on anti-fatigue mats reduce the risk of tripping and make it easier to roll carts or dollies.
  • Shorter employees who frequently stand may prefer a riser fitted with an anti-fatigue surface. This tool will elevate them to the correct height and provide the cushioning of an anti-fatigue mat.
  • In kitchens and industrial settings, mats with added traction are the best choice, since they reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents.
  • In work areas that contain unstable or flammable chemicals, anti-static mats improve safety.

The versatility of anti-fatigue mats means that employees with all kinds of working environments can benefit from extra cushioning and reduced risk of injury. In addition to protecting employee health, anti-fatigue mats also reduce the injury and equipment replacement costs, making them a cost-effective ergonomic intervention for any workplace.

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