Anti-fatigue mats are a fantastic addition to many workplaces – from shops to bars, manufacturing to distribution. While they typically all work in the same way, you do need to look out for some particular characteristics depending on the type of work that you do. Here is our guide to anti-fatigue mats specifically for welders.
What is an anti-fatigue mat?
Anti-fatigue matting is a type of floor or worktop covering that has a slight flex to it, encouraging the user to make slight adjustments to their position and posture. This, in turn, reduces the fatigue that can come from standing in one place for a sustained period – a symptom of reduced blood circulation. Alongside reduced fatigue and increased comfort, workers will be more productive, happier and have improved engagement with the work and the company. They will also be healthier – working in one position for too long day in and day out can lead, over time, to muscular and skeletal problems.
Welders are often tasked with working for long periods in uncomfortable and potentially dangerous environments – particularly if they have a dedicated welding bay. Installing anti-fatigue matting for welders makes sense in these areas, as the type of work being conducted can be laborious, difficult and require the welder to keep focused for hours on end.
However, the welding bay is typically also home to sparks and extremely hot metal fragments. A standard anti-fatigue mat could easily melt or become a fire risk in these situations, and so you need to source a mat that is designed to hold up under the pressure. Anti-fatigue welding mats will usually have a comfortable foam backing for the anti-fatigue properties, and on top there will be a solid PVC surface that can resist the heat. When you are reviewing mats, make sure to check that they have a flame retardancy certificate or rating (BS EN 13501-1:2002 is the relevant British Standard).
Along with heat/flame resistance, you can boost the health and safety of your welders by ensuring that your new anti-fatigue matting is designed with traction in mind. Most matting of this type will reduce slip and fall risks, by virtue of providing a ‘grippy’ surface to stand on – you can improve on this by sourcing matting that is marked out as extra-traction or anti-slip: particularly important when employees are using welding torches and other dangerous equipment.
Finally, welding bays can often generate sharp metal fragments. When these are stepped on, they can grind away at the flooring or matting, reducing its lifespan considerably. If you want to avoid having to replace your anti-fatigue matting so frequently, you should look for versions that are particularly robust and hard-wearing as they will have a natural resistance to the cutting or abrasion-related damage caused by the debris.
Not specifically relating to welding, but a good feature to look out for on any anti-fatigue matting is how easy it is to clean. Industrial sites can get very dirty throughout the day, but you don’t want to have to spend too much time on cleaning: make sure that your new matting can be easily sprayed or wiped down so that the process is quick and painless.