Buying Guides

Our Best Barrier Mats (And Why!)

Searching for the perfect barrier mat can be time consuming, with so many considerations to make and different options available. Luckily, we have compiled this list of the Best Barrier Mats in our range, suitable for a variety of different needs. From 100% recycled options to mats with fantastic water retention, below are our top picks. It is worth noting that the larger the mat, the more effective it will be at removing dirt and water from shoes. The more times it is stepped on, the better! For this reason, we recommend choosing the biggest mat you have room for in your space. Our mats also come in a variety of colours so you can be sure to find your...


How Long Do Fire Extinguishers Last?

We all know fire extinguishers are an essential piece of safety equipment for business and non-domestic premises, as well as vehicles and residential spaces. What is often forgotten is that they don’t last forever. Over time, the canisters can become corroded by their contents, and the high pressure needed can eventually weaken body seams, among other common problems which occur with old extinguishers. So how long can you expect your extinguisher to last? So How Long Do Fire Extinguishers Last? Firstly, all of the extinguishers in the First Mats range have a guaranteed lifespan of 5 years, although they can remain safe and effective for longer with proper maintenance and storage. As a very general range, extinguishers can last anywhere from...


Choosing the Right Ladder For the Job

It’s one of the great workplace safety myths: ladders are not allowed to be used in the workplace. Of course they are: the Work at Height Regulations1 say they can be a sensible option for short, low-risk tasks. There are other weird and wonderful ladder myths still doing the rounds, and here at First Mats we’ve heard most of them. No, you don’t need to be trained to use a ladder, and there’s no ban on using ladders to access scaffolding2. It is true, though, that ladders must be safe and fit for purpose. And there are a huge number of different types of ladders, from step ladders to warehouse steps and extension ladders, each with their own safety features....


What Are Convex Mirrors Used For?

Convex Mirrors are used to help store owners check for shoplifters, to see what’s coming round the corner on a road or warehouse and to shield our eyes from the sun’s rays (via sunglasses). Convex mirrors are so useful and ubiquitous we sometimes barely register them. They’re even hard at work in the Hubble telescope, working in tandem with concave mirrors to bring us magnificent images from the deepest regions of the universe. Convex mirrors are versatile, for sure, but what is it that makes them so? How do Convex Mirrors work? First, a quick reminder of what convex mirrors are, and how they work. They have a curved mirrored surface that bulges outwards and this affects the way light hits...


What is the 1 to 4 Rule for Ladder Safety

Knowing how to position a ladder properly before you climb up it is one of those life hacks, like dealing with a grizzly bear or a poisonous snake, that most people have an idea about – but this one’s a lot more useful to us in the UK and undoubtedly saves many lives every year. How do you set up a ladder? It’s all about the angle of the ladder against the wall. The magic number recommended by the HSE1 is 75 degrees, so that the base of the ladder is set away from the wall at one-quarter of the working length of the ladder. Put another way: for every four metres of height you need to climb, place the...


How to Use a Ladder Safely

Every day, around two million ladders are used around the UK – that’s an awful lot of climbing up and down ladders on all kinds of sites, both indoors and out. Thankfully, there are only a handful of ladder deaths each year, but working from height remains a common cause of accidents and knowing how to use a ladder safely is a must for anyone planning to use one. HSE has some useful things to say on the subject1, and we’ve drawn on their advice for this article, which looks at when a ladder is the best option, how to choose a ladder, how to check a ladder is safe to use and how to use a ladder or stepladder...


How Do Spill Kits Work?

If you’ve ever had to clean up spilled engine oil in the garage at home, you’ll know that using ordinary rags or cloths can be a dirty, slow job. That may be OK in a domestic setting, but in the workplace, you’ll need a quicker and safer approach. For one thing, an oil slip is extremely slippery, and just one small patch on the floor could cause a nasty slip or trip. Then there’s the risk of fire and the environmental hazards, not to mention the disruption to work if there’s no ready way to deal with the spill. It may not be an accident on the scale of a big marine oil disaster, but it’s still a workplace hazard...


Protecting Your Workplace from Coronavirus

As businesses begin to tentatively emerge from the UK's government-enforced lockdown, we turn to various official sources for direction during these still challenging times we're living (and hopefully working) through. It's imperative that businesses look for - and subsequently adhere to - considered road maps out of lockdown as we all cautiously, yet optimistically plan our own measured re-booting processes. It's not solely businesses such as First Mats which are preparing to return to what they do best in the foreseeable future, albeit while religiously following new codes of conduct and applying a revised chapter of health and safety ethos by which we'll all be rightfully judged going forward. As The UK Begins to Roll Open its Shutters Once More,...


Flyball and Dog Agility Competition Matting

Flyball is an exciting canine sport where teams of dogs run along a short track over hurdles, grab a tennis ball, and then run back to their owners. The first team to have all dogs back with their owners wins. But what has this got to do with floor matting? Well it's actually used in two places during this event. On the first run, the dogs are sprinting at very high speeds towards a box which will release a tennis ball. Foam matting is often used on these boxes to cushion the impact for the dogs, before they turn around and run back down the course to their owners. Photo credit: Tom Lord on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND In...


How Do Self-Healing Cutting Mats Work

If you’re a keen crafter or hobbyist working at home on your kitchen or dining table, you’re probably looking for an effective way to protect your surfaces from damage due to cutting. If you regularly use blades while sewing, making models or doing papercraft, you will almost certainly, from time to time, have experienced moments where the scissors or knife slip, and the risk of scoring your tabletop is high. If you’re using a rotary cutter, there’s an even greater chance of damaging your furniture. A self-healing cutting mat could be the solution that you’ve been looking for. So, how do these mats work, and how could they keep your surfaces safe? Read on to find out more. How do...