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Study: Anti-fatigue mats improve health, productivity of workforce

It's extremely important for employers to go the extra mile when it comes to the health and safety of their employees. By taking the time to identify job-related hazards and implement the necessary measures to keep employees out of harm's way, employers can help ensure that their business operations will proceed smoothly, keep their workers' compensation defense costs manageable and avoid potentially costly fines.

However, when identifying these job-related hazards, it's important for employers not to focus on just those hazards that are the most obvious. For example, if most employees work in an office setting, it's obviously important to keep walkways clear and provide adequate lighting. However, it's also important not to overlook something as small as the placement of computer monitors as improper placement can result in serious neck or back injuries over the long term.

The same can be said for those employees in more industrial settings who must stand on their feet all day using some type of machinery. Here, while employers want to take steps to ensure that the equipment used is safe, they also want to consider giving employees anti-fatigue mats -- meaning floor mats specially designed to reduce leg and foot stress -- to stand on over their long shifts.

In fact, a recently published study reaffirmed just how valuable these mats can be.

Researchers at Loughborough University in England recently conducted a study in which 14 volunteers were summoned to a specially constructed laboratory to stand on either a concrete floor or an anti-fatigue mat for 90-minute intervals over a five-day period.

During these intervals, the researchers used multiple measuring devices -- infrared thermal imaging, infrared photos and temperature sensors -- to monitor levels of pain/discomfort or fatigue. The 14 volunteers were also asked to complete a survey after each standing session.

Here, the researchers ultimately concluded that volunteers standing for these prolonged periods were indeed susceptible to stiffness in the neck and shoulders, and pain in the feet, legs or back. However, they also determined that the anti-fatigue mats went a long way toward preventing these ailments.

The results of this test and others like it show that employers in all industries may want to give serious consideration to the use of anti-fatigue mats.

Stay tuned for more from our workers' compensation defense blog ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


EHS Today, "New study confirms benefits of anti-fatigue mats," Sandy Smith, Oct. 4, 2012

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