Industrial Mats - Anti-Fatigue Mats

Anti-Fatigue Mat with Safety Border

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 Mats have 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.

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 mats are 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 mats 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 mats work 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”.

The use of Anti-Fatigue Mats significantly helps to combat all of the above medical conditions.

Where are Anti-Fatigue Mats Used?

Anti-Fatigue Mats 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 Mats 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

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 mats.

Wet Area Mats

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 LINK 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 LINK, in this circumstance DO NOT use sponge-like open foam cushioned mats.  If you are using a particular chemical and wish to know which mats we would recommend then please do not hesitate to contact us. Please follow this link for Wet Area Mats.

Dry Area Mats

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 mats anti-fatigue qualities – please see below on how we rate this. Dry Area anti-fatigue mats can be found here Dry Area Lin

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 Mats 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 LINK to SUITABLE PRODUCT– 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 LINK to ESD Mats

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 LINK, Germany likes the ribbed surface such as LINK whereas the US tends to favour the Bubble surface such as LINK

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 LINK 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 LINKS

Bevelled Edges

All of First Mats Anti Fatigue mats 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 :-

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  - )

To do this our body must be dynamic and constantly move and this is where Anti Fatigue Mats come 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.

Venous Pump Mechanism

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

Where to buy Anti-Fatigue Mats?

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 mats supplier;

  • We stock one of the largest ranges of Anti Fatigue Mats in Europe – First Mats prides itself on offering an Anti Fatigue Mat for every situation, with each one of our mats being developed with a specific use in mind.
  • We have an Anti Fatigue mat to suit 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– 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.
  • We can provide samples for all the mats that we offer.
  • We are the Trusted Supplier to a long list of household names including DHL, South West Water, Debenhams, etc, etc

References - Lower limbs: Information for employers - HSE - Working feet and footwear

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