In the past, most American jobs required workers to be physically active. Only in recent years has the U.S. workforce migrated toward more sedentary indoor and office environments.
That said, a significant number of jobs still require people to be on their feet for many hours at a time. But only recently have health experts discovered some of the deleterious impacts of standing for lengthy periods during the workday.
Here are seven facts that you may not know about standing employees and how they are adversely affected.
- Aches and soreness invade more than just the feet, ankles, and legs. Standing for a long time causes fatigue the entire body. The muscles remain rigid and constrict the blood vessels so that oxygen-rich blood flow is impeded to and from the heart. As a result, the discomfort can radiate into the torso, neck, shoulders, and back.
- Fatigue from standing can cause or aggravate other orthopedic conditions. These include arthritis in the knees and hips, swelling in the ankles, feet, and legs, problems with the knee joints, tendinitis in the knees or legs, spinal issues as the result of bad posture, and planter fascitis.
- Varicose veins can develop. This condition, which consists of veins near the skin’s surface that are twisted and enlarged, can occur in the legs and ankles. What many people aren’t aware of is that varicose veins do not heal on their own; sufferers must have medical procedures performed to get rid of them.
- Prolonged standing boosts the risk of carotid atherosclerosis by as much as elevenfold. This condition involves plaques that form in the carotid artery, which is the main artery running from the heart. Patients who suffer from carotid atherosclerosis often suffer from embolisms, transient ischemic attacks (TIA), and strokes.
- Pregnant women are especially at risk. Recent studies have indicated that pregnant women who stand in one place for many hours at a time while working increase their odds of stunted growth in their fetuses. Some research indicates that the risks of spontaneous abortion or premature birth also rises in these women.
- The chances of accidents rise. Whenever fatigue is present, the threat of on-the-job accidents spikes. Certainly, slips and falls can lead to fractured bones or concussions. But even a minor slip (without a fall) can cause muscle strains and tears, ankle or knee sprains, back problems, and similar painful orthopedic injuries. Instinctively grabbing something to steady yourself (like a hot grill or a sharp-cornered piece of equipment) can be hazardous as well.
- Footwear can make a difference. Employees that wear shoes that come with thick, insulated soles and insoles that absorb shock are able to stand for longer periods without experiencing fatigue.
How Anti-Fatigue Mats Help
Here’s the good news: Anti-fatigue mats can mitigate or eliminate these problems and conditions that are associated with standing employees. Since they force the body to make tiny “microadjustments” constantly to maintain balance, blood flow isn’t inhibited, circulation throughout the body improves, and fatigue doesn’t develop. When fatigue isn’t prevalent, many of the uncomfortable, painful, and dangerous effects don’t manifest themselves in the body. In addition, the risk of accidental injuries drops while worker productivity rises, which can have positive impacts on a company’s absentee rates and worker’s compensation claims. Canada’s workplace safety regulator claims that anti-fatigue mats work about as well as comfortable footwear in reducing fatigue!
Make an investment in your employees’ safety and well-being today. Contact Ultimate Mats to see about purchasing anti-fatigue mats for your business.