Rhino Tool House is a proud supplier of Milagon industrial anti-fatigue mats.
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Why use anti-fatigue mats in the work place
Science has also documented the positive impact that matting can contribute to worker comfort. A 2012 University of Michigan study found that test subjects who were tasked with performing four hours of standing work reported less discomfort when anti-fatigue matting was added to the work floor. This was based on the subjective response of the individuals in the test. The discomforts reported by the test subjects included fatigue, sore feet, lower back pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders.
Choosing the correct anti-fatigue mat
Anti-fatigue mats are more than just a soft, cushioning surface. In fact, too much cushioning can cause just as much soft tissue fatigue as too little cushioning. To put this in perspective, just imagine how it would feel to spend more than five hours each day walking around on your mattress.
In a good anti-fatigue mat, the cushion or flex of the mat stimulates minute, undetectable muscle movement in the leg and calf muscles as the body continuously adjusts to remain stable. These almost imperceptible biomechanical adjustments increases blood flow to-and-from the area, and the improved circulation reduces pain and discomfort. In addition, matting also offers insulation from cold/damp floors. Exposure to cold temperatures can exacerbate the effects of all risk factors associated with WMSDs.
When it comes to selecting an anti-fatigue mat, the first thing to consider is the application. Will it be placed in an area exposed to water or moisture? Is there a possibility of chemical contact? Will the workers using the mat be primarily standing, or will there be more walking taking place?
In a setting where there’s water or moisture, you’ll need to avoid a mat that will absorb the liquid. An open-surfaced mat allows for superior drainage in wet environments. In areas that are more damp than wet, a solid mat with a sealed exterior and textured or ribbed surface may be sufficient. If there will be exposure to chemicals, you’ll need to verify chemical compatibility with either the matting manufacturer or a reputable matting distributor. Anti-fatigue mats are constructed from a variety of materials, natural rubber, PVC, nitrile and polypropylene are some of the most common, and the chemical or chemicals you’re working with dictate your matting material options. And if the workers will be standing on the mat more than walking across it, you can consider a slightly softer, more-cushioned mat. If the workers are walking on the mat, something a bit firmer is best to prevent sinking into the mat with each step.
Another area that needs consideration when selecting an anti-fatigue mat is the area of coverage. If the mat is needed for a standard size rectangular or square configuration, then a continuous mat off the rack will typically work. For longer runs, matting suppliers can custom produce some mats to lengths as long as 45 to 60 feet. When a manufacture custom makes a run of anti-fatigue mat, they’ll bevel the full perimeter, as they do for their stock sizes, so the mat doesn’t create a tripping hazard. If a non-conventional size is needed – like integrating a mat into a production line or around a piece of machinery – then a modular anti-fatigue mat may be the best solution.
You get what you pay for
One last key factor to consider in the selection process is the anticipated frequency of use for the mat. If the mat will be used on a limited basis, then a more economically priced anti-fatigue mat is an option. But in situations where the mat will experience regular use throughout the work day, it’s best to invest in a higher quality mat that will withstand the wear and tear. Generally, the longer the manufacture warranty, the higher the quality of the anti-fatigue mat. And cost goes up with quality. With matting, as with most things, you get what you pay for.
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