Would you wear sneakers to go ice skating?
This is not a trick question! The answer, quite simply, is NO, you would not, unless you wanted to sustain a serious injury. The exact same principle applies to the surfaces we stand on every year, every month, every week and every work shift.
Installing anti-fatigue matting or flooring in your workplace reduces the risk of injury among your standing workers. At the same time, it increases their productivity. However, simply buying any anti-fatigue mat and throwing it down won’t solve the issue; it is also vitally important to choose the correct type of matting or flooring.
When selecting the proper flooring there are many factors to consider. Here are a few...
1. The Workplace Environment
There are some important questions to answer about your surroundings. Is the floor generally wet, dry or oily? Some anti-fatigue matting has a sponge undersurface. Excess fluids will drastically reduce the life expectancy of this type of mat, so if the area is perpetually wet, an alternate, appropriate flooring option should be utilized. Is the ground surface level? There may be a need for a raised or textured surface to reduce the risk of slips if there is a grade or if the floor gets oily.
2. Shift Types & Schedules
Next, it is vital to consider the question of work shifts. If there are three shifts round-the-clock, the ergonomic flooring or mat must have quick rebound so that it is just as effective for shift three as it is for shift one. The process in which a standing worker does his or her job must also be taken into account.
Do employees stand in the same spot or do they pivot and move throughout the space? Just as it may be easy to stand in one place on the ice while wearing sneakers but is a completely different scenario if you are walking across that same frozen surface, flooring that is appropriate for a worker who remains mostly stationary may not work as well for one who is often on the move.
It is important to consider the life expectancy of your flooring or matting and opt for a long-lasting, durable solution in order to get the most bang for your buck. There are options that offer a tough exterior surface, such as PVC or polyurethane, that tend to be more resilient. These compounds can handle the pressures of demanding environments while still providing fatigue protection for workers. In purchasing anti-fatigue matting, the keyword is to keep in mind is value.
The flooring or mats may cost a bit more up front but the return on investment is huge. Anti-fatigue matting is associated with reductions in absenteeism and in the number of slips, trips and falls. Flooring that supports these industrial athletes results in employees who are more alert, have improved productivity and show a boost in morale - most certainly worth the investment!
The ultimate goal, of course, is to create the best possible work environment in order to reduce injuries and combat fatigue. Once you have considered your environment, your shifts and your budget, the decision to purchase anti-fatigue matting and flooring is as simple as deciding what to put on your feet to go ice-skating!