The importance of anti-fatigue matting in regards to employee health is well documented. Standing in one place for long periods of time can constrict muscles in the calves, thighs and hips, restricting blood flow to lower extremities and creating numerous health problems which can eventually affect production at work.
Anti-fatigue matting can also possess other properties making them invaluable in many professions and environments. In this post we’ll focus on one type of mat in particular – Switchboard Matting. Switchboard matting is non-conductive rubber/PVC/vinyl mats that are used to insulate workers from the risk of deadly shocks generated by high voltage equipment.
Damaging effects from high voltage can include:
- Ventricular fibrillation: defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary as “(of a muscle, especially in the heart) make a quivering movement due to uncoordinated contraction of the individual fibrils.” This is a potentially fatal condition where the heart muscle quivers rather than beats, eliminating blood flow and causing death.
- Cardiac Asystole: Where the heart stops beating. Combined with with ventricular fibrillation, this constitutes cardiac arrest.
- Respiratory arrest, defined as “The cessation of normal respiration due to the failure of the lungs to contract effectively”
- Burns from arc flash and resistive heating of body tissues.
- Radio frequency burns if radio or microwave frequencies are used.
Arc flash, or arc blast is a type of electrical explosion that results from a low impedance connection to ground or another voltage phase in an electrical system. In an arc flash incident, enormous amounts of concentrated energy explodes outward from electrical equipment. Five to ten arc flash explosions occur in electrical equipment every day in the United States. The explosion from arc flash can create pressure waves strong enough to damage hearing, fracture ribs, collapse lungs, and knock workers off their feet.
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are 350 reported cases of electricity-related injuries that occur in the industrial workplace every year. Exposure to high voltage machinery and equipment are considered hazardous and life-threatening. However, safety measures and requirements were implemented to protect employees’ well-being. OSHA requires employers to maintain a safer environment for their workers who are frequently exposed to hazardous electrical sources.
An additional general requirement from OSHA states that: “No employer shall permit an employee to work in such proximity to any part of an electric power circuit that the employee could contact the electric power circuit in the course of work, unless the employee is protected against electric shock by deenergizing the circuit and grounding it or by guarding it effectively by insulation or other means.”
Using non-conductive switchboard matting around electrical equipment can save lives by protecting workers from the deadly shocks that high-voltage equipment can produce.
The thickness of a switchboard mat affects the amount of voltage it can insulate workers from. Production Automation offers switchboard mats that can insulate from 17,000 to 30,000 volts. Using a mat in an area where voltage could exceed the mat limits gives a false sense of security for workers and can unduly expose them to injuries or fatalities.
Switchboard matting works by preventing the worker from being grounded, therefore eliminating the possibility of electrical shock. The mats quickly draw the static off workers before they touch susceptible equipment. Conductive mats disperse the static electricity quicker than static dissipative mats, making them a superior choice for using around high voltage equipment.
Below you can find a links to all of the mats Production Automation offers. Choosing the best mat for your applications and equipment is extremely important for safety, so if you have any questions or need guidance feel free to contact us at 888-903-0333 or at [email protected]
Switchboard Matting Available at Production Automation
- Wearwell No. 701 ¼” Thickness Diamond-Plate Switchboard Matting
- Wearwell No. 702 ¼” or ⅜” Thickness Corrugated Switchboard Matting
- Wearwell No. 711 ⅛” Thickness Smooth Military Switchboard Matting
- Wearwell No. 712 3/16″ Thickness Diamond-Plate Switchboard Matting
- Andersen No. 781 ¼” Thickness Corrugated Switchboard Matting
- Andersen No. 782 ⅛” Thickness Military Smooth Switchboard Matting
- Andersen No. 783 ¼” Thickness Diamond Plate Switchboard Matting
- Andersen No. 784 3/16″ Thickness Military Diamond Plate Switchboard Matting