Do you know the largest cause of physician visits in the United States?
The flu? The Common cold? No, the largest cause of physician visits is lower back pain, apart from headaches.
Lower back pain can be quite a drag, especially since its usually accompaniend by dreadful foot & leg pain. A major cause of foot, leg, & back pain is harsh and demanding work environments, where a worker can stand on an extremely hard surface for prolonged time frames.
Working on hard surfaces can cause severe fatigue, which is when the muscles are constricted and blood flow is reduced. In this state, the heart works a lot harder to pump blood through the troubled areas, and the body runs out of energy. The negative effects are pain and exhaustion.
One solution to this ever-growing problem is to use anti fatigue mats in the workplace, especially in areas where a lot of standing labor is performed. Apart from cushioning, anti fatigue mats provide a gentle “rebound” which encourages subtle movement of leg and calf muscles, thus promoting an easier flow of blood to and from the heart. Basically, through more efficient muscle activity, the imbalance of constricted blood is virtually eliminated.
So what is the proof that anti fatigue mats actually work?
There are several studies that prove the efficacy of anti fatigue mats, with the most notable one being a format study at the Center of Ergonomics at the University of Michigan. Mark Redfern, an economist, tested the effects of a variety of floor conditions on physical fatigue. Fourteen subjects were required to stand throughout their entire shift at the Ford Chesterfield Trim Plant. Two of the surfaces tested were concrete and a 3/8″ rubber anti-fatigue mat. The conclusive result of the study was that hard concrete floors caused the greatest amount of discomfort and fatigue, while anti fatigue mats were able to reduce it by as much as 50%.
Your company can directly benefit from the use of anti fatigue mats through increased worker productivity, reduced worker compensation costs, and lower insurance costs and absenteeism. Since it is a well-established fact that companies are losing billions of dollars each year due to the above mentioned worker related issues, it only makes sense to make a trivial investment on anti fatigue matting to dramatically reduce these losses.
In addition to pain and discomfort, prolonged standing on hard surfaces can also cause long-term problems. Pronation, which is the extensive flattening of the foot, and varicose veins, which are caused by the stagnation of blood in lower areas, are two health problems associated with standing trauma. These problems are very costly in terms of worker compensation and insurance, not to mention the resulting lack of productivity and employee turnover.
Anti fatigue mats are a real solution, as recommended by the National Safety Council in its publication “Ergonomics”. Amongst the professionals who recommend anti fatigue mats are ergonomists, occupational nurses, insurance agents, and POM managers.
It is essential that the workplace be safe and pleasant in order to promote the highest levels of productivity, reduce the rate of absenteeism and turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and as a direct result, cut costs and improve profits.