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What are Anti-Fatigue Mats?

Sherry Holetzky
Sherry Holetzky

In many manufacturing and industrial environments, different types of mats are used to increase employee safety. Examples are non-skid mats that prevent people from slipping or presence-sensing mats that keep workers from coming into contact with dangerous machinery. However, there are also special mats, called anti-fatigue mats, which are designed to make workers more comfortable when they must stand on their feet for many consecutive hours. Anti-fatigue mats offer more cushioning not only for comfort but also to improve circulation and absorb shock, helping to reduce muscle tension, aches, and general fatigue.

Standing on a hard surface for long periods of time can create more stress in the workplace and cause poor concentration and serious fatigue. Since fatigue and its related problems are factors in work-related accidents and injuries, anti-fatigue mats may actually make the overall environment safer, as well as improving worker performance, productivity, health, and morale.


Constructed from treated vinyl or rubber, foam, or vinyl sponge, most anti-fatigue mats are less than one inch (less than 25.4 millimeters) thick, and have a non-skid surface. They are usually non-flammable, and most have beveled edges to avoid trips and falls. Anti-fatigue mats can also be specially treated to resist moisture, chemicals, grease, and other elements, and they are available in a variety of sizes. If the exact size needed is unavailable, most anti-fatigue mats can easily be cut down to fit the space.

Anti-fatigue mats are available with special features for added protection, depending on the environment in which they will be used. Static-dissipating construction to avoid electric shock, mats that repel sparks for use by welders, and anti-microbial mats for clinics, dental offices, and hospitals are all examples of anti-fatigue mats with industry-specific construction. There are even low-voltage, heated anti-fatigue mats for colder environments.

Anti-fatigue mats are functional, but that does not mean they cannot be attractive as well. Many are available in different styles, depending on the surroundings, and they include special designs and colors to make them more aesthetically pleasing. These mats can be used in stores, restaurants, and salons, as well as in industrial or manufacturing environments. Special orders can even include company colors and the company logo. There is something available for nearly every setting.

Discussion Comments


The owner of the buffet restaurant I work at bought these interlocking anti-fatigue mats a few years ago. I think he wanted to cut down on slips and falls more than employee fatigue at first, since some of us were getting seriously hurt on the wet and greasy concrete floors. The rubber mats had honeycomb-shaped holes to allow the water to drain out.

Eventually all of those anti-fatigue mats in the kitchen cut down on employee complaints in general. Some of the cooks were working ten or even twelve hour shifts on weekends, and they said they were able to work longer between breaks. I work in the meat cutting department and I feel a lot more secure when carrying heavy storage tubs to the walk-in cooler. I'm usually standing over a sink or meat cutting table when I process food, and the anti-fatigue matting helps me stay stable and supported while I'm using knives and other dangerous equipment.


When I worked at a plastic injection molding company, I had to stand next to a machine for eight hours a day, five days a week. I asked my supervisor if I could have a chair, and he said it would be too dangerous for that space and it wouldn't really help that much, anyway. I'd constantly be getting on and off it as the parts came out.

He did agree to purchase anti-fatigue rubber mats for all the machine operators, though. It made a definite difference. Before the anti-fatigue matting was installed, I'd start feeling tired after about an hour of standing. After the mats came in, I could stand comfortably until my first break, usually two and a half hours into my shift. I didn't go home every day feeling completely wiped out. My feet and legs still got tired, but I wasn't feeling the pain all night.

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