Today we've chosen to feature excerpts from our interview with Duane O'Flaherty. Duane is an expert on office safety and an advocate of the proper use of office supplies and office furniture. He's been in the occupational health and safety industry for decades and he's seen a lot of accidents. He's a fictional character (don't mention that to him) but he discusses very real health and safety benefits of the Smart Step Companion Mat.

Duane you mentioned that you like the shape of the Smart Step. What is it about the shape that makes it special?

I've been in the office safety business for a long time. And I've lost count of the people who've tripped on the edges of mats. You know those clear hard plastic mats that so many offices have under computer desks?... Well they're brittle and the edges get rolled up. It's like having a trip-wire under your desk. And you know why they call it a "trip-wire" right? It's cause they make you trip! Well the great thing about the Smart Step is that it's got beveled edges and they're not just any beveled edges. They're beveled at a 20 degree angle. So many people think that as long as their companion mat has beveled edges it's safe. They don't realize that they have to be beveled a certain way in order to be ADA compliant. That's what makes the edges of the Smart Step so much safer.

You used to work for a medical research company. Got any crazy stories?

I sure do. Back when I was at VirusTek they were analyzing different strains of influenza. Next thing you know one of the scientists spilled about half a gallon of flu virus all over the floor under her office desk. She had one of those budget floor mats... you know the type.... I think this one came from QualityLess Office Supplies. Anyway she cleaned it up with soap and water and didn't think a thing about it. But she kept getting the flu on and off for the next four years. It took her a while to realize that it wasn't anti-microbial. That's what makes the Smart Step so great. With the anti-microbial design you don't have to worry about everyday office mishaps like that.

You're on record as saying that one-piece polyurethane is "the only way to go" for a computer desk floor mat. Why is that?

I did safety consulting for "Weave 'Em and Leave 'Em" this company who made custom baby quilts. We had a designer named Judy and she said it was silly to pay good money for a mat under her desk when she could just knit one for free. So she knitted this gorgeous quilted mat. Like most quilts it was made of a few separate panels all woven together. Well that quilt was the envy of everyone in the office until one fateful day. She'd been sitting all day (this was before she ordered a standing desk) and when she stood up to stretch her legs I'll be darned if that mat didn't split in four pieces right at the seams! She took a pretty good spill and had a heck of a shiner on her left arm. It didn't affect her typing ability though cause she went straight to the accessories page at and bought a Smart Step companion mat.

Duane we appreciate your time. Any closing thoughts?

I've been in the occupational health and safety business for a long time. I've worked with a lot of smart people and I've seen a lot of smart ideas. Let me tell you this: Buying a Smart Step Companion Mat is the smartest business decision you'll make this quarter.

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