Industrial Anti-Fatigue Mats

Anti-Fatigue Mat

What are Anti-Fatigue Mats?

Anti-Fatigue Mats are a variety of floor matting designed to reduce the symptoms of fatigue caused by standing in one position for long periods of time. Studies have proven that using Anti-Fatigue mats in the workplace will make employees more comfortable, increase productivity, reduce work related injuries and boost morale.

There are many variations of Anti-Fatigue Matting available, with materials and compounds designed for specific working environments including machine shops, welding bays, standing desks and hair salons, but they all work in the same way to reduce discomfort for staff.

Anti-Fatigue Mats are your first line of defence against Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSDs.) These conditions can affect Employees joints, muscles, tendons and the whole body. They can be both episodic or chronic and can be the result of a work-related accident.

In 2017, the combined conclusion of the UK Government-backed Labour Force Survey and THOR-GP (The Health and Occupation Network of General Practitioners) reported the following :-


  • There were 507,000 workers in the UK suffering from WRMSDs in 2016/17
  • 9 million working days lost in the UK in 2016/17 due to WRMSDs
  • WRMSDs accounted for 39% of all work related ill health
  • On average a worker will lose 17.6 days per case

Anti-Fatigue Matting has been specifically developed to reduce the amount of WRMSDs caused by standing for long periods in the workplace, whilst reducing employee fatigue and boosting productivity.


How do Anti-Fatigue Mats work?


When you stand in one spot for too long i.e. if you work on a production line, hotel reception, shop check out area, etc, the blood flow in your legs becomes constricted and reduced. This causes blood to pool in your lower limbs and the onset of pain, discomfort & fatigue, eventually leading to Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSDs), if left unchecked. As well as significantly reducing fatigue and improving levels of concentration, Anti-Fatigue mats stop your body locking into position and thus avoiding the onset of WRMSDs.


 

Anti-Fatigue mat cross section
The cross-section of a basic Anti-Fatigue Mat


Because of their construction, Anti-fatigue mats promote non-noticeable micro movements that stop the body “locking” into position, causing resultant health issues. As Anti-Fatigue matting is designed to keep you fractionally off balance (again, non-noticeable) the Venous Pump in your calf pumps the pooling blood back to your heart where it is re-oxygenated and dispersed to the rest of your body. This provides more oxygen in your blood stream, significantly reducing fatigue and increasing productivity.


Eminent Ergonomist Mark Redfern of the University of Michigan, found in his 1988 formal study of workers at the Ford Chesterfield Trim Plant that those employees who used Anti-Fatigue Mats were up to 50% more productive due to reduced fatigue and increased concentration.


By standing on a softer, warmer surface, especially when the alternative is a cold concrete floor, the mat provides the outlined above health benefits as well as a high degree of impact absorption. As a further incentive to use Anti-Fatigue mats, hard cold floors lower body temperature causing even more fatigue as your heart works ever harder to raise it again.


What are the Advantages of Using Anti-Fatigue Mats?


Anti-fatigue matting can offer a wide range of benefits to users including: -


  • Instant increase in worker performance by reducing fatigue by up to 50%
  • Increased employee comfort and satisfaction, boosting staff morale
  • Improves general work productivity
  • Anti-Fatigue mats double up as Anti Slip mats, therefore reducing risk of slips and trips
  • Reduced absenteeism due to reduced medical issues and accidents
  • Promotes good body dynamics (posture) and positive mental wellbeing

Standing still in one position is more wearing on your body than almost anything else. We are biologically designed to be dynamic, not static, therefore anti-fatigue matting works with you to keep you healthy. Without using Anti-Fatigue Mats, dangers for Employees and Employers are increased when workers are standing in the same position for extended periods of time.


Some of the health conditions linked to working on your feet include : -


  • Lower Back Pain & MSDs (Muscoloskeletal Disorders)
  • Joint Pains – Usually in Ankles, Knees, Hips & Back
  • Swollen Feet & Ankles – blood pools in the lower limbs due to gravity
  • Varicose veins and other circulatory disorders
  • Corns & bunions on feet
  • Orthopaedic conditions including reduced muscle elasticity and rheumatic conditions
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Causes bad body mechanics and posture
  • Increases fatigue / tiredness / lack of concentration / reduced individual productivity
  • More accidents & productivity delays
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Low morale and reduced mental well-being
  • Excessive over-pronation of the feet, contributing to and causing “flat feet”.

A study conducted by Loughborough University found that it only takes around 90 minutes before standing causes serious discomfort. The use of Anti-Fatigue Mats significantly helps in delaying the onset of pain and actively combats all of the above medical conditions.


Anti-Fatigue matting in a welding bay

Anti-Fatigue matting being used in a welding bay

Why Choose First Mats for your Anti-Fatigue Matting?


Anti Fatigue Matting is a crucial element of your occupational health and safety obligations, so should always be purchased from a reputable supplier. At First Mats, we offer a wide range of industrial matting and there are many reasons why customers choose us as their matting supplier;


 We stock one of the largest ranges in Europe


The team at First Mats takes pride in offering an Anti Fatigue Mat for every situation, with each one of our mats being developed with a specific use in mind.


 Anti-Fatigue Mats for Every Budget


but the consistent theme is that they are all of an extremely high quality. We only sell Commercial Grade, high quality and long lasting mats. Please be aware of the large amounts of cheap, low grade products in the market which are usually ineffective and will fall generally fall apart at an early stage.


 Experienced Professional Staff offering up to the minute advice


Including the latest Health & Safety Legislation, so please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any information or need to place an order over the phone. If you have a large requirement and would feel more comfortable in your decision if you had a personal on-site visit, then we would be pleased to arrange this free of charge.


 Next day delivery if required


 Free samples available


 We are the Trusted Supplier to a long list of household names including DHL, South West Water, Debenhams, etc, etc



Where are Anti-Fatigue Mats Used?


Anti-Fatigue Matting can be found in any environment where workers are required to spend long periods of time standing in one place. Some areas they are commonly found include;


  • Manufacturing & Warehouses – Either Anti-Fatigue mats, made to measure anti-fatigue rolls or modular tiles
  • Hotel Receptions – Aesthetically pleasing mats with marble design patterns
  • Bars, Restaurants & other “wet” areas – look out for the wet symbol on the product page
  • Commercial Kitchen and Food production areas – Please browse our range of Swarf Matting for this application.
  • Retail – Not uncommon to be spending long amounts of time standing at Checkout Areas
  • Classrooms – in a 2018 survey that First Mats Ltd conducted, 69% of teachers stated that they experienced regular or occasional pain from prolonged standing.
  • Hair Salons
  • Pools, Spas and Gyms
  • Electronic Component production facilities (using Anti-Static ESD matting)
Anti-Fatigue mat in an industrial Environment
Anti-Fatigue Mats being used in an industrial manufacturing facility.


Are Anti Fatigue Mats Required by Law?


The benefits to workers and businesses of using anti-fatigue matting is clear, but what are the legal requirements surrounding their use? This video has the answers.


Whilst matting may not specifically be mentioned in current legislation, employers do have a duty of care towards their staff so should consider implementing this type of matting as early as possible for the immediate and long term benefits of the workforce.



What Types of Anti Fatigue Mats Do First Mats Supply?

 

Industrial Anti-Fatigue Mats

The primary use of anti fatigue matting is in industrial environments. Examples include workshops where workers often spend most of their day stood at a late or CNC milling machine. These mats are specialised for their environments, such as material compounds designed to cope with oils or designs that trap machining swarf. Another example of industrial anti fatigue matting is in dry areas such as production lines or packaging areas, which may feature a diamond pattern texture or yellow safety borders.

 

Kitchen & Food Production Anti-Fatigue Mats

The purpose of a kitchen anti fatigue mat is like that of the industrial version, but with extra considerations to be aware of. For example, the mat may need to be suitable for wet or greasy areas, they will need to be easy to clean or they may need to have a textured surface to scrape food products from footwear.

 

Office & Standing Desk Mats

There has been a recent surge in the popularity of using standing desks at work, thanks mostly to the results of various studies which have revealed a myriad of health problems that can be caused through sitting down for too long. The problems that many people overlook is that standing can also cause just as many health conditions, so one way this can be counteracted is by using anti fatigue matting designed to be used in office environments. There are often thicker than industrial version, allowing more comfort with bare feet or thin-soled footwear.

Anti fatigue mat for a standing desk

Anti-fatigue mat being used in an office with a standing desk

 

 

Anti Slip Mats

One of the additional benefits of anti-fatigue matting is their dual purpose as anti-slip mats. Many of them can be used in areas where floors become wet and slippery, but their design naturally helps to improve grip on the floor and reduce the likelihood of slip accidents which are the biggest causes of injury in the workplace.

 

Anti Static & ESD Mats

Some Anti Fatigue mats have also been designed to prevent Electro Static Discharge, or ESD. Static can damage sensitive electrical components so the matting works by earthing the electrical energy thus preventing a sudden discharge. The ESD mats include all of the features and benefits of regular anti fatigue matting with the addition of a connection point for ESD straps.

 

Made to Measure Anti-Fatigue Mats

One of the biggest advantages of purchasing matting from First Mats Ltd is that many of them can be ordered in a custom size, either in the format of a modular system of tiles or in cut to length rolls. Each cut to size mat is expertly finished with a bevelled edge all the way around.



Choosing the best Anti-Fatigue Mats


Not all Anti-Fatigue Mats are created the same. They have each been designed with a specific purpose or capability in mind. Below are some examples of this that you should take into consideration when choosing your matting.


Wet Area Matting

Is the mat to be used in a “Wet Area” – i.e. the mat is to be used in an environment involving liquids including Water, Chemicals, Oils, Grease, etc. If so, then be aware that Standard Rubber Anti-Fatigue Mats can react badly to these types of substances. Where the mat is to come into contact with oils & grease then we would recommend a mat with a higher Nitrile content as it will not warp on contact such as to Sturdy Safe?.
Is the mat to be used in an area where water needs to be dispersed e.g. Bar or Kitchen area, if so, choose a mat with good anti slip qualities and will also let water and other liquids drain away ( not pool on the surface ), one which is impermeable to water and other liquids such as our Bar Floor Mats, in this circumstance DO NOT use sponge-like open foam cushioned mats.  If you are using a particular chemical and wish to know which matting we would recommend then please do not hesitate to contact us.


Dry Area Matting

Is the mat to be used in a “Dry Area” – the mats in this section should only be placed in an environment where there is no contact with liquids and therefore the biggest consideration here are the anti-fatigue qualities – please see below on how we rate this.


Mat Size and Floor Covering

Will the mat be used for a single operator at a machine, a long production line or wider floor area? We can supply you with Individual Mats, Made to Measure Anti-Fatigue Matting for long runs as well as interlocking tiles to cover whole floors.


Wheeled Traffic Environments

Will there be any Wheeled Traffic going over the mat? If you are using trolleys, etc in your workplace then please consider that you will need to avoid foam constructed Anti-Fatigue mats as they will be chewed up by the wheels. If the mat is likely to have a trolley rolling on it then please choose a heavier duty rubber anti-fatigue mat – again please do not hesitate to contact us if you require more info.


ESD Area Matting

Do you have a requirement where Electrostatic Discharge is an issue or where Anti Static build up is a problem then please look at our range of ESD matting which contain integral connections for earthing of static discharge.


Surface Style and Pattern

The surface of Anti Fatigue Mats come in a variety of styles and designs Which style you choose generally comes down to personal preference or what design is already in place in the work areas. Generally, we have found that the UK tends to stick with textured surfaces such as a Diamond Texture Mat, Germany likes the ribbed surface such as the RibTexture Mat whereas the US tends to favour the Bubble surface such as the BubbleComfort Mat.


Material Choice

As a simple rule of thumb, PVC foam and Vinyl anti fatigue mats tend to be at the more lighter usage end of the market and therefore the more punishment that the mat will take will require it to have more and more rubber content.


Safety Border Matting

Many of our mats come with the option of having plain yellow or black and yellow edging in order to further enhance their visibility and health and safety qualities.

anti fatigue mat with yellow border

Anti-Fatigue Mats with a Yellow Safety Border

 


Bevelled Edges

All of our Anti Fatigue matting come with a bevelled edge to ensure that trips are kept to a minimum


Performance Rating


We give each Anti Fatigue Mat a rating in 3 areas and we give it a rating of 1 to 3 with 3 being the highest rating for that category :-


  • Anti Fatigue Rating - This is measured by ASTM D3547 which records the compression and decompression of the mat. The higher the rating the better its anti fatigue qualities.
  • Slip Resistance - This is measured by ASTM C1028-89 & DIN-E-51130, 51097 which tests the force required to cause slippage of a load across the mat. The higher the rating the higher the slip resistance
  • Wear Resistance - This is measured by ASTM D3844-92 which subjects the mat to 5000 cycles under an abrasive wheel. The higher the rating the longer the life span of the mat.

Therefore, you decide which criteria is the most important to you, choose it on the filter on the left hand side of the anti fatigue product collection page and choose the mat that most suits your application.



Financial Benefits of Using Anti Fatigue Matting – Case Study


As an experiment, US based Tennessee Mat Company installed Anti Fatigue Mats in a local manufacturing company that had 175 employees whose average age was 41. The company was experiencing a high absenteeism and accident rate. Before the study started the company reported the following: -


  • Average Absenteeism Rates: 5.2%
  • Injuries Per Month: Over 3 Per Month

After the year-long study, the company reported the following: -


  • Average Absenteeism Rates: 4%
  • Injuries Per Month: Less than 1 Per Month

The company reported that it made the following extra profit: -


  • $300,000 in productivity gains
  • $60,000 in reduced insurance fees (due to fewer accidents, etc)

Conclusion

By reducing tiredness and various bad health implications, Anti Fatigue mats can significantly increase productivity and staff morale as well as other reducing other less quantifiable “soft” costs such as less time spent on recruiting due to higher staff retention rates, etc.


The figures speak for themselves.



The Science Behind Anti-Fatigue Matting


Due to gravity, the human body, with its upright position is designed not to stand still.


To avoid aches, pains and the other more serious ailments and WRMSDs mentioned previously, our body has been designed to constantly rebalance itself, in order to avoid our bodies seizing in one position – ( To read more on this point please follow the link for Dr Redha Taiars of The University Of Reims study on Body Mechanics and the Effects of Anti Fatigue Mats on them  - http://www.redha-taiar.com/ )


To do this our body must be dynamic and constantly move and this is where Anti Fatigue Matting comes in.

“Anti-Fatigue mats are engineered to make the body naturally and imperceptibly sway, which encourages subtle movement in calf and leg muscles. This promotes blood flow and keeps it stagnating in the veins which causes workers to feel fatigued”

– James M Kendrick writing in the April 1999 issue of “Occupational Health & Safety”


When standing still for long periods of time our body becomes extremely uncomfortable and physically tired. This is due to the fact that blood which is usually pumped back to our heart starts to pool in our lower limbs.


Muscle Venous Pump

The Venous Pump works when leg muscles relax and contract, squeezing blood back up towards the heart.

 


The muscle which returns blood to our heart is called the Venous Pump and we have one in each of our calves. When we move about, the Venous Pump automatically pumps blood back to our heart  via a number of non-return type valves that help our blood flow defy gravity. By returning our de-oxygenated blood back to our heart it is then re-oxygenated and flows to all other points of our body. This significantly reduces fatigue and other resultant health problems. When we stop moving the Venous Pump stops working, causing blood flow to constrict, joints and muscles to ache and more serious conditions in the long term. We become ever more fatigued when we do not move around as the heart has to do the job of pumping around all of our blood on its own.


As James M Kendrick wrote, Anti Fatigue mats by design make our bodies move imperceptibly, thereby activating our Venous Pumps and therefore :-


  • Increasing blood flow
  • Reducing fatigue
  • Increasing concentration
  • Avoiding poor health implications & accidents


How to clean Anti-Fatigue Mats


Dry Area Matting

Dry Area Anti-fatigue mats should only be wiped over with a damp mop whilst using a very mild liquid soap. Please DO NOT use abrasive cleaners. Please make sure all residue of cleaning chemicals and water are removed prior to re-using the mat.


Wet Area Mattig

Wet Area Mats can be power washed and relatively hot water can be used. Again only use a mild liquid soap and do not use degreasers or caustic chemicals. Again, please DO NOT use Jif or any other abrasive type cleaner. Please remove all residue of cleaning products before re-using your mat.


ESD Matting

Dry mop or sweep only.


If you require any further information on how to care for your anti fatigue mats then please do not hesitate to contact us  and we will be happy to help.



References;

 

Colour
  • Black
  • Black / Yellow
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Grey
  • Grey / Yellow
  • Red
0121 702 1659 info@firstmats.co.uk @FirstMats