COBA Matting, fighting fatigue for over 35 years
Coba Europe is one of the leading names in the production of safety matting and safety flooring products. Based in the heart of England, Coba International employs some 600 people and have distribution centre across Europe. Formed in 1966 as a plastics extrusion business run by its two founders, it wasn’t until 1979 that the separate and specialist Coba Matting division was created. Originally manufacturing the COBAmat®, as a direct alternative to wooden duck boarding, Coba were one of the first companies to introduce both a floor safety product and the concept of industrial safety matting. Since then Coba Europe has expanded and grown and now produce a range of safety flooring solutions including hard floor protectors, chair mats and anti fatigue matting. To discover how anti fatigue matting could prevent workplace injuries, increase productivity and improve employees working environments scroll down to the bottom of the page.
The greatest risk to those working on hard floors is musculoskeletal disorders or MSD’s. Much like repetitive stress injuries, MSD’s are caused by repeated exposure to a particular stress, in this case standing and working on hard, unforgiving floors and which may take some time to present itself as an injury. MSD’s are often confined to the 3 areas most affected by prolonged standing; the feet, the legs and hips and the lower back and can manifest themselves as damage to the muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, joints or other soft tissues. Often taking a long period of time to show significant symptoms the danger of MSD’s is that once they are detected and become a detriment to a persons health it may be too late and irreversible damage could have occurred.
These are the four main symptoms of MSD’s;
1.Tiredness - Standing for prolonged periods can be especially tiring particularly on hard, unforgiving floors. Tiredness can lead to a lack of concentration and potentially additional workplace accidents.
2.Discomfort - Standing can lead to pain in the lower limbs, hips and lower back in particular. Workers who perform tasks with their arms whilst standing also report discomfort in the upper limbs and neck over prolonged periods of time.
3.Physical damage - Not only can the soft tissues be affected but repeated standing can also cause problems with the joints, such as swelling, effects on the feet such as bunions and corns and strain the Achilles tendon and arch of the foot.
4.Symptoms - Not only can MSD’s cause generalised pain and discomfort but it can also increase the likelihood of varicose veins.
Anti Fatigue Matting - the solution
The problem of MSD’s is not reserved for an isolated few, affected by arduous tasks performed in difficult environments, far from it. In 2012 the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimated that almost 500,000 UK based workers suffered from MSD’s that were caused or exacerbated by their current or previous employment and that 7.5 million working days were lost to MSD’s.
In an independent study commissioned by Coba Europe and carried out by the University of Loughborough, 14 random subjects were given the same clothing and asked to stand in the same environmental conditions. The only difference was that one group were on a hard concrete floor while the other group were standing on anti fatigue matting. Using lower leg circumference measurements, temperature sensors, thermal imaging and cognitive testing there was conclusive data showing that those on the anti fatigue mats had greater postural and thermal comfort benefits and overall levels of fatigue were reduced.
The COBA range of anti fatigue matting is scientifically designed to tackle the 4 symptoms of MSD’s by gently cushioning the foot and forcing the muscles of the foot, lower limbs and lower back to constantly make small adjustments to adapt to the texture of the mat. These actions, although subtle, aid the body in circulating the blood through the large veins of the legs back towards the heart while also preventing blood to pool in the lower limbs. The cushioning effect of the mat also supports the foot preventing or significantly reducing stress on the soft tissues, Achilles tendon and the arch of the foot.