Whether you work in an office, retail or warehouse environment, chances are you have experienced musculoskeletal pain on the job. In retail and warehouse settings, workers generally experience pain and loss of productivity due to pain associated with prolonged standing. In the office, workers often experience musculoskeletal pain due to prolonged sitting. To combat this, a new trend in offices is to utilize a standing desk. However, while standing desks relieve pain from sitting, users now experience discomfort from standing for prolonged periods of time.
Furthermore, the loss of productivity and financial burdens brought on by musculoskeletal pain can be debilitating. According to data collected by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, the direct cost of a musculoskeletal claim is $5,625. Based on projections made by Liberty Mutual the total cost (indirect and direct) for a claim can rise to $33,750.
When you take into consideration how fast losses accrue when dealing with musculoskeletal injuries, a quality anti-fatigue mat quickly becomes an investment rather than an expense.
Based on research conducted by the SmartCells Anti-fatigue product team, to find the best anti-fatigue solution, one must ask themselves 9 essential questions. In this article, we explore the third essential question:
Does the surface resist bottoming out?
Many anti-fatigue mats on the market today are made of foam that feels soft and squishy when very little pressure is applied. Since foam breaks down and compresses easily, it can bottom out, rendering it ineffective as an anti-fatigue intervention. To counter this, many foam mats are marketed as the “thickest”, the “plushest” or the “most buoyant”, as they get thicker and thicker. The downside is that the thicker they get, the less stable they are, much like standing on a mattress. This increases fatigue from standing as well as increases the risk of injuries and tripping hazards.
Our research team has found that mats tend to bottom out if there is an imbalance between compressibility and height. A mat that is overly soft acts like it bottoms out as the material compresses too easily. In addition, a mat that is not thick enough may bottom out even if it has the right compressibility. This balance between thickness and compressibility is often referred to as ‘densification strain’. As a rule of thumb, if a material compresses more than 50% of its thickness, it tends to act as though it is bottomed out.
A standing surface that has been optimized to reduce fatigue and injuries and increase productivity will have critical elements that work in collaboration with each other such as compressibility but not too soft, support that allows stability and instability and a low-profile height that will not allow bottoming out.
Through years of careful development based on valid third-party research, the unique SmartCells™ cushioning technology has been ergonomically engineered to resist bottoming out without being too soft while providing an optimized balance of stability and instability.
This advanced cushioning technology consists of a rubber surface layer integrated with an underlying array of cylindrical rubber cells that soften in response to surface pressure to provide maximum fatigue relief.
SmartCells™ Cushioning Technology: It’s not how the mat feels, it’s how YOU feel.