The effect of COBA anti fatigue floor matting on worker comfort during standing work

2017-01-23T09:32:04Z (GMT) by George Havenith Lucy E. Dorman
By request of COBA Plastics Ltd of Fleckney, Leicestershire an experiment was performed to test the effect of 8 different types of floor matting on objective and subjective measures related to thermal comfort and fatigue in comparison to standing directly on concrete slabs. As a compromise between precision, duration and cost it was decided to perform a study in the laboratory ensuring identical conditions in all tests. Participants in the study performed diverse light tasks while standing for 90 minutes either directly on the concrete slabs or with a mat on the concrete. Objective data (temperatures of the foot, leg and body) were obtained as well as participants’ perceptions of their (dis)comfort and fatigue. None of the temperature measurements showed significant differences between the conditions which was attributed to the limited test duration of 90 minutes and the large day to day variability of these measurements on the same participants. However a number of the subjective (dis)comfort sensations did show statistically significant improvements related to mat use. Firstly the thermal comfort vote for the whole body showed less discomfort when standing on the mats. Votes moved from slightly uncomfortable towards neutral in that case. This improved whole body thermal comfort was accompanied by a reduced postural discomfort in a number of body parts. The discomfort vote for the lower legs, the upper legs and the lower back all improved (i.e. discomfort reduced) statistically significantly, when using a mat. The lower back and lower legs showed the largest improvement. No clear differentiation in the effects could be made for the individual mat types tested. From the test results it can be concluded that the use of the mats has a beneficial effect on the experienced thermal and postural comfort of the workers. Given the relative short duration of the present 90 minutes test compared to a full working day, a larger benefit can be expected for full working day exposures.