Does the ADA affect the use of anti-fatigue and entrance matting?

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ANSWER: YES

Anti-fatigue

In terms of anti-fatigue matting, there are no specific guidelines requiring usage.

However, in many cases anti fatigue mats can provide the reasonable accommodation necessary for a disabled applicant to perform the required job task. Standing for long periods on hard surfaces exacerbates any back or lower limb impairments. The National Council on Disabilities does recognize chronic back pain as a “disabling physical disability”. According to the ADA an employer cannot discriminate against an applicant who has a disability or a record of impairment. In a set of informal guidelines, the ADA recommends the employer consult with the applicant to identify specific aspects of the work environment that prevent performance. Standing for long periods on hard work surfaces will prevent performance because it puts excess stress on leg and back muscles causing discomfort and fatigue. The use of an anti fatigue mat will reduce muscle stress and increase circulation. The worker will be more comfortable and experience less fatigue. Therefore, in cases of back and some leg impairments, the use of an anti fatigue mat may provide the reasonable accommodation necessary for the applicant to perform job task.

Entrance and Walking Matting

In terms of entrance and walkway matting, the ADA has set accessibility guidelines. Floors, walks,ramps, stairs, and curbs must provide adequate surface friction. The Board is considering assigning a value for slip resistance of ground and floor surfaces and ramps. Specifically, the recommended coefficient of friction for ground and floor surfaces would be 0.6 and 0.8 for ramp materials. Wearwell offers Safety Track No.698 for these situations. The adhesive backed strips can be applied on any dry, clean surface. They provide a static coefficient of friction of 1.0. The ADA has also set guidelines for carpeted floor surfaces, including entrances. According to the ANSI A117.1 standard, the maximum pile height for carpet or carpet matting used on a ground or floor surface is 1/2 inch. All Wearwell carpet mats fall within this requirement.

Detectable Warnings on Walking Surfaces

Other guidelines refer to detectable warnings on walking surfaces. To help the visually impaired, the ADA recommends a surface design consisting of truncated domes. This surface would serve to warn employees of steps, curbs, doors, and any other potential hazard. We feel the outlined specifications are very vague and inconsistent with wheelchair access. We also feel these specs may change. Therefore, Wearwell has not yet designed a mat to fill this need. The ADA does mention the use of artificial grass, ribbed matting, or 1/8″ checker plate. These textured materials are recognized as different walking surfaces but are not recognized as warnings since they are commonly used as flooring and walking surfaces.



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