Prolonged standing is a common requirement in the workplace and is a well-known cause of discomfort. Anti-fatigue matting has been shown to reduce discomfort resulting from standing on concrete.
Science of anti-fatigue matting
The role of an anti-fatigue mat is to encourage the subtle movement of your muscles to keep your blood flowing. This action helps decrease the onset of fatigue in your lower extremities.
Studies show that anti-fatigue rubber mats should be firm and thick in order to provide the most comfortable flooring surface for standing on for long periods of time. Rubber matting that is very soft will reduce the amount of weight shifting that a person does while standing.
Weight shifting is when a person moves their weight from one foot to the other. This movement helps to increase circulation and reduce discomfort in the legs and feet. In the studies we have researched, a mat that is too soft is measured by a surface that bottoms out and is easily deformed in shape when loaded with weight. Soft rubber matting like this will become compressed when a person stands on it and the area holding the weight can actually be just as hard as the flooring below the mat.
Behavioral results from studies suggest that comfortable flooring may provide greater stability, reducing muscle requirements to maintain an upright posture. Results confirm that anti-fatigue mats are indeed capable of mitigating discomfort during prolonged standing.
Health effects of standing on concrete
Concrete is hard, cold and can get slippery if the surface is not textured.
When you stand on a flat and hard surface, your legs don’t require much movement to keep you upright. This causes your blood to pool and makes it harder for your body to push oxygen through to your muscles to keep them awake and alert. That’s when the pain starts.
Employees spending all or most of their days on their feet are at greater risk of health problems including varicose veins, poor circulation and swelling of the feet and legs, foot problems and joint damage. Other health problems can be aggravated or increased by standing for long periods of time such as: bunions and corns, heel problems, Achilles tendonitis, flat feet, lower back pain, arthritis in knees and hips, stiffness in neck and shoulders, and high blood pressure.
Concrete flooring is cold which can also negatively affect blood circulation and add to the discomfort.
Provide a more comfortable work environment for your employees
Anyone that has worked on a cold hard concrete floor knows that it’s not a very comfortable surface to stand on for long periods of time. An anti-fatigue mat is essentially a mat that is used to help alleviate stress on your lower body due to standing for long periods. This helps keep your blood flowing throughout your entire body, which also helps deliver more oxygen to your muscles. Some of the benefits to installing anti-fatigue matting can be:
- Improve staff comfort and morale
- Reduce pain for people with existing medical conditions that are aggravated by standing
- Reduce slips, trips and accidents caused by slippery flooring
- Improve staff retention
Anti-fatigue matting is more than just a comfortable standing surface. The cushioning helps to promote regular foot movement as the feet naturally adapt to the ‘flexible’ surface of the mat. The movement of muscles contracting and expanding is very subtle indeed but is enough to help circulate blood towards the heart without expending so much energy as that experienced on a concrete floor.
It’s also a lot quieter as the rubber surface absorbs more sound than concrete does.
Productivity in the shed is up, milking times are down
All thanks to the soft-cushioning of the ComfortZone foam mats, which ease foot, leg and back pressure on the staff.
Central Hawkes Bay dairy farmer Eliot Cooper says purchasing ComfortZone Anti-Fatigue pit-mat flooring from Numat for his 30-a-side herringbone cowshed has been a great investment.
“In terms of bang for buck it’s some of the best money I’ve spent in years. This product is so good I think it should be mandatory in every herringbone cowshed.” Eliot was impressed with the pit-mats at last year’s Fieldays and had them installed in his cowshed by springtime.