How a little company in fergus, ontario, is determined to change the world you stand on
“Did you know that there is a slip and fall in the workplace in the United States every four minutes? When I heard this statistic I knew our mats could change the manufacturing world.” Vice President and General Manager Jill Foley at Ergo Advantage Inc. explains. “We want to protect employees and make sure they get home safely to their families every night. We are very passionate about improvements in the workplace. These aren’t just mats to our customers, they are powerful health and safety solutions.”
Based in Fergus, Ontario, Ergo Advantage offers a variety of anti-fatigue safety matting solutions including tiles specifically formulated for dry and wet applications, ESD areas and oily surfaces. A narrow product scope allows Ergo to focus their resources strategically and produce the best mats on the market. “This mat is not comparable to anything our competitors offer, and that is exciting,” Foley says. “There are 2.9 million reported workplace injuries a year in North America, and 29 percent of them are falls and trips. Our CEO and I worked together for years in the aerospace industry, and we saw these accidents often. We realize how matting like this could have solved our issues, and companies that currently use them are seeing tremendous benefits. They know their employee safety is on the line.”
Ergo Advantage plans to remain focused on safety solutions as it expands its presence. After 20 years as a staple in the automotive industry, the company is now seeing significant interest from aerospace, pharma, food & beverage, retail and more. Other matting on the market is not nearly as durable or ergonomic. “We see great trends happening,” Foley explains. “Employers are looking for new solutions to help make their employees comfortable and safe but foam matting is not the answer. Foam is soft and will turn and curl over time, which creates a trip hazard. As well, soft mats compress and provide little support and create opportunities for twisted ankles on the uneven surface. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics each slip and fall injury costs the employer an average of $40,000. The results of an injury costs the organization in productivity loss as well as other financial and resourcing implications.”
Modularity Makes Them Versatile
It’s a bit like Lego for adults – the modular tiles are very easy to install, allowing most of the customers to do it themselves. Customers are amazed to see how quickly they can create a custom look working around machines and workstations. The edges also click in place allowing for easy on/off traffic points and best of all they can be taken apart for intensive cleaning or re-configuration with changes to the shop floor layout.
Many customers use colored tiles as visual indicators or to align with 5S and 6S initiatives. Red in front of light curtains, blue in static areas, orange for welding stations, purple to indicate pallet or machine placement, etc. The options are endless, and Ergo can custom match any color an organization requires. Why not have some fun with your work environment? Many manufacturing workplaces are dark and dreary, color can bring a welcome change to work cells or production lines.
Additionally, Ergo has the market’s top anti-slip gritted tiles to protect workers from slips due to lubricant spills, paint drips, or solvent run off and all tiles are Class 1 fire resistant. The company has ESD tiles that dissipate electrostatic discharge. It also offers a clear tile that customers use to run LED lighting underneath so workers can identify start and stop points on the production line or specific walkways in an emergency or to provide extra light and warnings around dangerous machinery. All the tiles provide the ability to allow cords and hoses to run underneath and out of the way.
More than Safety
More than safety, the tiles have additional health benefits. Working on hard surfaces is one of the leading contributors to the development of Musculoskeletal Disorders or MSDs in the workplace. Ergo’s patented compression dome technology encourages “sway” – an ergonomic term which is about subtle shifts in weight that ensure blood continues to flow throughout the workers body and helps to reduce varicose veins and lower limb swelling. Both are reported issues very prevalent in workers that need to stand for prolonged periods of time. The tiles’ unique support infrastructure spreads Employees’ weight evenly over the entire surface of the mat giving shock absorption and returning energy to the worker’s legs and feet which helps to minimize joint pressure, back pain and worker fatigue. It’s not just about money, it’s about employee wellness, satisfaction and retention. However, according to a productivity study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, lost productive time from common pain conditions, such as MSDs, among active workers cost companies an estimated $61.2 billion annually and that’s not a number companies should ignore.
Ergo Advantage is very proud of its environmental rating. The tiles are made with 100 percent recycled PVC and if a customer ever wants to decommission a tile, Ergo will recycle it. This is part of the company’s dedication to reducing greenhouse gases and landfill waste. The goal is to become a world leader in supplying the best environmental and ergonomic tile and edge systems. Ergo’s 20 year warranty on the majority of the products sold also means that the tiles are so durable that they don’t need to be replaced every few years which in turn means less material going into landfills. Saving money and saving the environment? That is true sustainability!
Research & Development Expertise
Ergo Advantage combines years of experience with experts in kinesiology, ergonomics and engineering to ensure its products work for a variety of applications in a range of industries and commercial uses. “There are so many solutions on the market, but there isn’t one that can provide all of the responses to safety issues that ours can,” Foley says. “If I knew this matting solution existed when I was running a manufacturing organization, I would have used it. Now I can get it into many organizations and allow our customers to see significant ROI immediately. We intend for them to be in every manufacturing company across North America, and ultimately change the world we stand on.”