Whilst walking around a couple of manufacturing plants in the Black Country, it filled me with pride. I was thinking this is one of the few places in the UK that still has plenty of factories making quality products and where our specialism remains unmatched by companies in the far east. This included an automotive part manufacturer and a materials testing laboratory, both companies being specialists in their fields.
Both sites had workers standing in front of machinery with mats beneath them to provide anti-slip and anti-fatigue relief. Oils and lubricants are, by their nature, very slippery underfoot, so mats are essential to provide good traction. It’s great that they were using mats, because I’ve been to plenty of places that don’t use mats for oily areas at all, probably due to the initial expenditure involved. I can only imagine that such places don’t bother with a risk assessment or if they do then they choose not to act on it.
In areas such as these, you need specific mats for oily areas that are going to perform better than standard mats. Oils, greases and lubricants can have an adverse effect on mats made from PVC and standard rubber. Over time the mats will start to degrade and you can expect them to curl at the edges or start to crack and split. When this happens, the mats can become trip hazards and they may soon cause more problems than they solve.
Mats for oily areas made from nitrile rubber are oil and grease proof, so they won’t suffer such adverse effects. Choosing a mat with holes will allow oils, lubricants and swarf to flow through the mat and away from where the worker stands or walks to provide a safer surface for them to work on. Examples of mats for oily areas that we do at Trusted Mats include Cushion Flow, Red Commercial Kitchen Mat and Interlock Flow.
With liquid flowing through the mat, you need good drainage or to clean underneath the mat before it spills onto the floor immediately around the mat causing a slip hazard. Without this you may prefer a mat that contains the spills that doesn’t have holes but still keeps it from the standing surface. For this you need a bi-level mat with a dam to contain the spillage, such as our Rubber Scrape mats.
In places where there is a lot of oil spilling onto the floors and workers are unable to avoid standing or walking through it, you may need mats placed around the walkways to remove and soak up oil from footwear. These oil control mats will prevent it being tracked around the building, creating slip hazards in many other locations. If you are able to, it’s best to contain the oil to an area where it can be managed.
Our Shades Eco Mats are washable mats for oily areas available in custom sizes to fit long runs or custom areas. They will mop up the oil and provide a safe walking surface. When they become saturated they can be laundered and replaced with fresh matting.
In the testing laboratory there was also plenty of swarf, which, along with the oil, can cause a slip hazard too. The mats helped combat this, due to the mats having holes which allow swarf to fall away from the standing surface,
The fact the places I was visiting were using anti-fatigue mats was also good to see. In this type of environment, workers would otherwise be left to stand on cold, hard concrete floors all day, which can lead to a drop in productivity, absenteeism and health and safety problems. To find out more about the benefits of anti-fatigue mats, read our blog on Why Use Anti Fatigue Mats?
What to do next:
If oil is a problem in your facility and you would like more information to help you choose the right mats for oily areas to solve this, feel free to Contact Us today. We have mat experts ready to advise you today.