Client: Hotter (Beaconsfield Footwear Ltd)
Product: Orthomat® Safety Anti-Fatigue Mats
Hotter is a long-established British brand of footwear synonymous with comfort and style. Headquartered in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, the company has invested heavily in making it one of the most advanced shoe making facilities in the world. Today, it is the largest shoe manufacturer in the UK. Orthomat Safety anti-fatigue mats from COBA Europe, supplied via ARCO, have recently been installed in Hotter’s manufacturing facility.
With a brand such as Hotter, ‘comfort’ is an inherent part of the company’s ethos and the catalyst for the ‘Hotter Comfort Concept’. This extends to the comfort and wellbeing of its employees who work in the factory, and regularly have tasks that require prolonged standing.
“As a producer of Britain’s best comfort footwear brand, it only seemed appropriate that our manufacturing and finishing staff should have a comfortable environment in which to work,” says Andrew Glover, Health Safety & Facilities Manager CMIOSH.
Andrew goes on to explain the rationale behind the decision to install anti-fatigue mats in Hotter’s manufacturing facility:
“We commissioned a survey and found that staff carrying out repetitive actions in a static position were twice as likely to experience work-related absence, such as fatigue, foot and muscular pain, compared to those roles where walking and movement were present.”
As promoted in COBA Europe’s eBook #StandUpForHealth, we are all being advised to ‘move more’ for better health. Andrew reiterates this:
“Our bodies need to move, and using our muscles is good for the joints, our circulation and the heart itself. Many injuries caused by static standing for extended periods such as aches, stiffness and rheumatic diseases are a result of poor movement in work-related activities.”
Anti-fatigue mats, coupled with microbreaks, role changes and better employee ‘rest’ initiatives, are proving part of the solution for Hotter.
The anti-fatigue mats work as they cause the legs and feet to adapt to the air cushion within the surface of the matting. It is a subtle, but effective movement. As the person moves and adapts, this encourages the same muscle contraction that we experience when walking. Movement encourages blood flow, making standing more comfortable, reducing pressure on the hips and lower back.
Orthomat Safety is one of COBA Europe’s best-selling anti-fatigue mats and is used by customers in a wide variety of workplace environments, worldwide. Manufactured from closed cell PVC foam, the matting has a textured surface and is designed to help delay the onset of physical fatigue caused by prolonged standing. The ‘Safety’ version, as specified by Hotter, features bright yellow safety borders to clearly highlight the position of the mat, for enhanced safety.
“Compared to a hard floor, the shock absorption of COBA’s Orthomat anti-fatigue matting has proved a great success. Staff are far more comfortable in their roles, content and motivated and that’s great for morale and production,” says Andrew Glover.