ARTICLE

Long standing issues

26 August 2018

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness about the dangers of sitting down for too long. Every so often, a new study is published telling us that we now spend too much time sat in our chairs and that this can lead to various health conditions.

But did you know that standing for too long can also be hazardous? This is especially concerning for those who work for most of the day on their feet, such as in manufacturing and warehouse environments. But there are steps that can be taken to lessen the discomfort for workers, improving safety and productivity.

Regular short breaks and movement around the work area encourages better circulation and muscle elasticity, which will help to reduce fatigue. For some workers however, this simply isn’t an option so in these situations, Anti-Fatigue Mats will be beneficial.

Anti-Fatigue Mats are a type of industrial matting designed to reduce the physical stresses caused by prolonged periods of standing. They provide a softer surface to stand on, which encourages better circulation as the muscles make constant micro-adjustments to keep the user stable.

In his 1988 study of workers at the Ford Chesterfield Trim Plant, Ergonomist Mark Redfern of the University of Michigan found that those employees who used Anti-Fatigue Mats were up to 50% more productive due to reduced fatigue and increased concentration. Another study conducted in 2015 found that for businesses who used Anti-Fatigue matting, 75% found they had a positive impact on staff wellbeing.

References

https://www.firstmats.co.uk/collections/industrial-mats-anti-fatigue

http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/musculoskeletal/msd.pdf

Government survey

In 2017, the combined conclusion of the UK Government-backed Labour Force Survey and THOR-GP (The Health and Occupation Network of General Practitioners) reported the following:

  • There were 507,000 workers in the UK suffering from WRMSDs in 2016/17
  • 9 million working days lost in the UK in 2016/17 due to WRMSDs
  • WRMSDs accounted for 39% of all work-related ill health
  • On average a worker will lose 17.6 days per case

These disorders and conditions include pain in the lower back and joints, swollen feet and ankles, constant fatigue, and long-term problems such as varicose veins and orthopaedic conditions

 
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