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More information about Swarf Mats for Workshops

What are Swarf Mats?

Swarf mats play a critical role in maintaining the safety and cleanliness of a manufacturing facility by helping to catch machining debris or swarf. This type of matting is popular in workshops where metals and wood are machined into products and food production facilities where produce is prone to falling on the floor.

These Swarf Mats allow your employees to remove and collect swarf such as wood chippings, metal filings or plastic chips from their shoes, keeping floors cleaner and reducing the risk of slip accidents. They help employers to meet their health and safety obligations whilst lowering costs.

Swarf mat in a workshop


How do Swarf Mats Work?

Unlike other types of industrial matting, swarf mats are designed with specific features which enable them to scrape and collect debris that would otherwise spread over a larger area. The three main types of swarf mats are;

Ring-Mat – Ring-Mats are commonly used in machine shops that work with metal, wood or plastic. These mats have a dense pattern of holes which act as small wells to capture and trap swarf pieces. The ring pattern also facilitates easy drainage of fluids to the base of the mat, keeping the surrounding floors dry and reducing slip hazards. At the end of the working day, the mat can be lifted and moved so that the swarf captured by it can be easily swept up and disposed of.

Scraper Mats – A scraper mat will be more effective at reducing the swarf for facilities that work with softer materials, such as food products. This type of swarf mat features a series of raised "scrapers" with several rubber fingers that actively attach to and scrape the swarf when feet brush over them.

Tacky Mats – When clean floors are essential in a facility, sticky tacky mats can trap fine pieces of dirt and dust. These help to prevent even the smallest particles from entering a building, so are popular in laboratories, hospitals and clean rooms. They feature a set of sticky sheets that can be peeled off and replaced periodically to ensure consistent performance.

What are the Advantages of Using Swarf Mats?

The main benefit swarf mats offer is that they capture and isolate the swarf within the area of the mat, stopping it from spreading further around the building. This helps keep floors clean and, more importantly, safe. Slip accidents and falls account for 29% of all accidents in UK workplaces, most of which are caused by unclean and wet floors. (Source: hse.gov.uk/statistics)

A significant additional benefit is that all our swarf mats also offer exceptional Anti-Fatigue properties, which ease pressure on the feet, knees and lower back while standing on them. As well as improving morale and helping you look after your employees, these mats can save you money by preventing injuries that can build up over long periods, which cause many days lost to sick leave. In turn, this will improve your staff retention and efficiency.

Swarf mat advantages include:

  • Cleaner floors
  • Improved safety for employees and visitors
  • Reduction in injury and absenteeism
  • Improved hygiene by containing contaminants
  • Reduced operating costs (Less cleaning of floors)
  • Reduced insurance costs (By making fewer injury claims)

Where can Swarf Mats be used?

Food Production

A mat used in commercial kitchens and food production facilities must be resistant to oils and grease while trapping spillages. Fortunately, our 100% Nitrile Assured Scraper has all of these qualities, which helps to maintain the stringent levels of cleanliness and hygiene expected in these environments.

Oil Prone Floors

Oil spillages are inevitable in some industrial environments, such as machine shops. Oil can substantially increase the risk of slips for workers, whether it's a leaking machine or accidental spillage. In these environments, we recommend our SturdySafe Blue. Made from a mixture of rubber and nitrile, this swarf mat can be used in almost any industrial area, including workshops, welding bays and kitchens, whilst resisting oil that causes damage to most natural rubber mats.

Large Industrial Areas

If you need to cover a large floor area, then our Heavy Duty Modular Workshop Mats may be just what you want. This product is designed as an interlocking system of durable rubber swarf mats, and with each mat tile being 90cm x 150cm in size, a large area of flooring can be covered with just a few tiles.

Hospitals and Laboratories

For any area where cleanliness is monitored to a particulate level, our Tacky Step Mat will stick to dust and dirt that touches its surface, lifting it from shoes and keeping floors incredibly clean.

To make your life easier, we have also designed a filtering system that allows you to refine your selection by features, size, and colour. This system can be seen on the left-hand side of the page (on desktop browsers).

How our Swarf Mats are tested?

First Mats only supplies matting that meets internationally recognised standards and is of the highest quality. Each of our mats is rated in three categories that all affect its performance and lifespan.

  • Anti-Fatigue – This is measured to ASTM D3547, which records the compression and decompression of the mat.
  • Slip Resistance – Our mats are tested to internationally recognised standards ASTM C1028-89 & DIN-E-51130, 51097, which tests the force required to cause slippage of a load across the mat.
  • Wear Resistance – The mat's durability is measured by ASTM D3844-92, which subjects the mat to 5000 cycles under an abrasive wheel.

The ratings for each swarf mat are displayed on its product page. The higher the rating, the better the mat performs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you Clean Swarf Mats?

For open-top swarf mats, such as the Ring-Mat designs, debris filters through holes in the mat, allowing it to be swept up later. Solid-top versions, or “Scraper Mats, " remove the swarf and retain it for later removal. The easiest ways to clean the mats are by shaking debris off and onto a floor to be swept up or cleaning with a hose or pressure washer.

More Information:

To learn more about Swarf Mats, please see our comprehensive guide on our blog here: What are Swarf Mats?

For everything you need to know about swarf mats, speak to the friendly team at First Mats today!


  1. http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causinj/index.htm - Slip accident statistics
  2. http://www.qub.ac.uk/safety-reps/sr_webpages/safety_downloads/H&S_engineering_workshops.pdf - Health and safety in engineering workshops
  3. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/priced/l22.pdf- Safe use of work equipment

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