Notrax® Floor Matting for Food Processing and Food Service
The acquisition of Teknor Apex’ Food Service Matting Division in 2007 brought to Superior Manufacturing Group 40 years of additional experience, a full product line, patents and trademarks, equipment and expertise. This line of Notrax® floor matting products were designed with input from European end-users and distributors to introduce a European product selection that offers more safety and comfort to employees working in the food processing and foodservice industry.
The Notrax® floor matting products for the food industry are therefore designed to address the main factors that affect workers in kitchen and food production environments namely, fatigue from standing, slippery floors, cold working environments, contamination for hygiene and food safety and protection for sharp and fragile objects.
Benefits of Notrax® floor mats for the food processing and food service industry
In the food processing and food service industry, slips and falls are responsible for 20 to 30% of the accidents which cause long-term interruption of work. The biggest problem is that floors must be smooth to facilitate cleaning and disinfecting. But, “the presence of water, vegetable oils, animal fats, blood, flour, and various biological waste makes these grounds extremely dangerous and the falls are all the more serious as employees often handle blunt objects”, underlines Henri Saulnier, head of IET (Work Equipment Engineering) at the French INRS.
Just cleaning of floors is not enough to prevent floors from getting slippery. Wildbrett & Sauer (1992) observed that even coated anti-slip floors in contact with for example, milk products, become clogged after cleaning due to an accumulation of microscopic residual stains (protein, grease). One would have to keep on changing floors to ensure the effectiveness of an anti slip coating. Notrax® floor mats are made of specific rubber formulations and with designs that provide good adherence and instant evacuation of fluids, which is a more effective, economical and durable solution to reduce the risk of slip falls.
Factory floors, particularly in the food processing industry, are often cold and wet. Floor mats elevate standing workers from cold floors. This helps keeping their feet significantly warmer thereby improving the overall perception of well-being.
A lot of damage is caused by falling objects. Think of china ware and glasses in the food service industry, and tools such as knives frequently used the food processing industry. Notrax® floor mats are made of specific rubber formulations that neutralize the shock of those falling materials, thereby reducing the risk of breakage and noise, while protecting floors.
How an anti-fatigue mat works is best described in an article I found in “Occupational Health & Safety”, written by James M. Kendrick: “Anti fatigue mats are engineered to make the body naturally and imperceptibly sway, which encourages subtle movement by calf and leg muscles. This promotes blood flow and keeps it from stagnating in the veins, which causes workers to feel fatigued.”
Studies carried out at the Centre for Ergonomics, University of Michigan and the Department of Industrial Engineering, Kansas State University, make observation of the difference between standing on hard floors versus standing on soft floors. Both studies conclude that mats significantly affect fatigue and comfort in different body regions. Standing on hard surfaces for long periods can lead to several problems. First, standing causes muscles to constrict, which reduces the blood flow. This makes muscles and joints hurt, and it causes blood to stagnate. In addition, long-term standing causes pronation, or excessive flattening of the foot.
While this can be simply tiring and a bit painful, it can also lead to plantar fasciitis and other serious foot conditions. Lower back pain is highest in workers who stand 4 hours or more per day. As described by Mr. Kendrick, the cushioning effect of anti-fatigue matting allows continuous micro-movements of the feet, which minimizes blood pooling in the legs.
Productivity & Safety
There is good reason to believe that reduction of fatigue and addressing the hazards of slips and falls, also reduces the possibility of accidents. There are fewer lost days to injuries, fewer medical claims, and compliance with new health & safety requirements.