What to look for in an Anti-Fatigue Mat

Common worker pain is responsible for an annual loss of over $61 billion in productive time in the US* alone. Back, leg and foot pain can all result from working while standing, but standing posture is not always the problem: in many cases it is the surface itself.

Anti-fatigue mats, also known as stress-reducing mats or ergonomic mats have proven to make all the difference. Some points to consider when purchasing an anti-fatigue mat are as follows:

Has the mat been optimized for softness and hardness?

A mat that is too soft can increase fatigue and wear out quickly. A mat that is too hard serves little more purpose for a worker than standing on the hard floor. The Ergo Advantage Safety Tile Systems utilize an advanced Compression Flex Technology which disperses weight evenly thereby affording the optimum balance between soft and hard.

Does the mat provide an adequate balance between instability and stability?

Oddly enough, some degree of instability is desirable in anti-fatigue flooring. A mat needs to provide for sufficient instability to encourage small postural changes and blood flow, but not so much that it increases fatigue or becomes a safety hazard. On the other hand, too much stability can create pressure points causing discomfort and over-fatigue of certain muscles. The Ergo Advantage Safety Tile Systems employ compression domes and a leg structure on the underside which are key factors in promoting sway. This feature increases blood flow and reduces fatigue.

Does the mat resist bottoming out without being too soft?

When a soft mat’s cushioning material becomes fully compressed, that mat begins to act like a mat that is too hard – the cushioning material ceases to serve its intended purpose. The Ergo Advantage Safety Tile Systems are manufactured with 100% PVC rather than foam or rubber. This is not only “eco-friendly” but also resists bottoming out due to the underlying leg structure which creates a floor above the floor promoting air flow between the employee and the concrete floor.

*(JAMA) Journal of the American Medical Association, Nov. 12, 2003 – Vol. 290, No. 1

Does the mat adequately respond to worker movements?

A responsive anti-fatigue mat will rapidly return to its original shape as the worker’s weight is shifted. If the mat’s rebound is delayed, a worker may be walking on a partially compressed mat which reduces the mat’s benefit. While hard surfaces may be undesirable to stand on, not all soft materials make appropriate work surfaces. Certain foam materials, for example, get harder when they’re compressed, which means a worker standing on a foam anti-fatigue mat may receive little benefit from the mat. The Ergo Advantage Safety Tile Systems’ manufacture and design specifics, provide a “memory” which allows the compressed mat to absorb and return energy quickly thus returning it to its original shape almost instantaneously.

Does the mat resist movement under use?

Sometimes the mat’s material can cause a mat to move easily, a situation arising with certain foams that break down and create a slippery layer of “dust” between the mat and the floor. Also, lightweight mats can bunch up and become a trip hazard. Plus, any mat that moves easily can become a safety hazard. The Ergo Advantage Safety Tile Systems provide sufficient weight to prevent unwanted movement. The recycled PVC material not only does not break down into dust but also the leg structure resists unwanted slip-movement as weight is applied. High visibility yellow safety edges also aid prevention of slips, trips and falls.

Is the mat durable?

How quickly does a mat wear out? How often does a mat need to be replaced? Some mats and mat materials retain their effectiveness longer than others. The real value of an anti-fatigue mat may surface in how frequently a mat needs to be replaced. The Ergo Advantage Safety Tile Systems’ injection molding process maintains an unsurpassed durability in all manufacturing environments. Outfitting areas with our modular system is very cost effective in that tiles subjected to extreme conditions can be rotated to lower traffic areas or easily replaced if necessary. Manufactured from recycled PVC, under normal conditions our tiles have a projected life exceeding ten years.