COBA Europe | Anti-Fatigue Mat Guide

The ultimate guide to understanding anti-fatigue mats and their benefits

Anti-fatigue mats are common in workplaces across various industries, and for good reason! They’re a key part of helping people remain healthy and comfortable at work, as well as offering some protection against slips, trips and falls. They come in a range of styles and shapes, with some including additional features to provide extra comfort, protection, grip or even absorption.

In this guide, you’ll find out all you need to know about anti-fatigue mats; the types available, the benefits they bring to businesses and employees alike, and what you need to look for when choosing anti-fatigue mats for your workplace.

What is anti-fatigue matting?

Anti-fatigue matting is designed to provide a layer of protection and comfort between feet and floor. Usually made of PVC, nitrile or natural rubber, anti-fatigue mats are available as typical mats, tiles or rolls; the optimal matting style for you will depend on the layout of your floor space.

Why is anti-fatigue matting important?

Anti-fatigue matting is important to both businesses and their staff. The benefits of good anti-fatigue matting cover short- and long-term advantages, from quick pain alleviation to the prevention of illnesses and absences.

Anti-fatigue matting is used around the world because it helps to reduce the risks associated with long periods of standing. Standing for extended periods of time can increase the risk of musculoskeletal injuries (or MSDs) – these may start as aches and pains, which can show in our legs, joints and feet, back, neck and arms, and as headaches. These may not be cause for immediate alarm, but if they’re not addressed then they can soon develop into something more serious.

Thomas Graham anti fatigue matting

By providing a soft and responsive surface, anti-fatigue mats help to reduce the pressure on our muscles and joints when we stand for long periods of time. Also, the texture of the mats helps to promote subtle movement, which can also help to alleviate the aforementioned pressure. When we stand for long periods, the circulation in our legs and feet can be hampered as we’re not moving our feet. As we subtly move our feet when standing on anti-fatigue matting, the circulation improves as the mats stimulate the vein-calf pump. These small movements promote blood circulation, prevent work-related fatigue and reduce cardio-vascular problems like varicose veins and deep-vein thrombosis.



What does an anti-fatigue mat do?

Anti-fatigue mats are designed to alleviate the strain and discomfort that comes from standing for prolonged periods. These mats boast cushioning and support, effectively reducing the pressure on joints, muscles, and the back. They promote better circulation and prevent fatigue by encouraging subtle movements in the legs and feet. By providing a softer surface than hard floors, these mats offer a more comfortable experience, making tasks that require standing for long periods more bearable.

Anti-fatigue mat info graphic

This graphic perfectly sums up the impact that musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can have on people, and by extension, their workplaces.

On average, there are over 15 working days of work lost to each case of MSD, and the HSE found that these disorders were responsible for around 7.3 million lost working days in 2021/22. More than 45% of European workers complained about standing in tiring positions during their work, and the European Working Conditions Survey found that MSDs are likely to affect 50% of the population by 2030.

According to our 2018 COBA survey, 50% of respondents said they or a colleague had suffered from varicose veins, and 82% considered anti-fatigue matting to have a positive effect on productivity.  A large majority (86%) recognised that the use of anti-fatigue matting helped towards a reduction in pain and preventing serious staff health complaints.

Does anti-fatigue matting help to reduce absences?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)[1] reported that work-related musculoskeletal disorders were responsible for around 7.3 million working days being lost to illness in 2021/2022. By reducing pain and injuries, you reduce absences, and anti-fatigue matting is effective at reducing injuries. Our ‘Standing at Work’ Survey found that back pain accounted for 85% of health conditions that developed at work. 50% of our respondents said they or a colleague of theirs had suffered varicose veins, and 47% of respondents complained of sore feet. As per our survey, a significant 86% of respondents acknowledged that utilising anti-fatigue matting contributed to both alleviating pain and mitigating potential health issues among the staff.

[1] The HSE is a government agency responsible for the regulation and enforcement of workplace safety rules, legislation and guidelines throughout Great Britain.

COBA Europe’s Standing at Work Survey

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Anti-fatigue mat e-book

What are the other benefits of anti-fatigue mats?

Anti-fatigue matting is designed to bring a number of benefits to the end user, whether that’s a business or an employee. Some of the advantages are more prominent, such as reduced risk of pain and injury and improved comfort, but those advantages bring about byproducts that are also beneficial.

Improved productivity

If someone is uncomfortable at work, it’ll inevitably impact their productivity as they struggle to focus on their tasks or they need to take breaks to alleviate the discomfort. The more frequently this happens, the more their work will suffer, which can then hamper the business’ output. With anti-fatigue mats in place, these aches and pains will be lessened and so too will the breaks, and employees can concentrate better – which means productivity can increase.


Quality anti-fatigue mats are made from strong stuff; once your mats are in place and in use, it’s unlikely you’ll have to replace them for years. Exactly how long they last will depend on things like usage, care and what the mat is made from, but they’re generally very durable products.

The cost of purchase and installation is a bargain compared to the savings on time and productivity lost to injury and absences, and the increased motivation of workers. Plus, if your workplace contains oils and grease – such as a kitchen or other catering or food production environment – you can gain even more benefits by opting for a nitrile-based anti-fatigue mat. Nitrile is resistant to the chemicals in oils and grease, so a nitrile anti-fatigue mat won’t be affected by spillages.

Reduced risk of slips

Although it’s not their primary use, anti-fatigue mats also help to prevent slips and trips. Rugged and with raised, textured surfaces, these mats significantly increase grip levels, and they won’t be affected by spillages as a hard, non-absorbent surface would be. Many anti-fatigue mats also include sloped edges, which further reduces the risk of people tripping on the edge of the mat.


What are the features of anti-fatigue matting?

Anti-fatigue mats are designed and made with a number of features that combine to improve comfort and safety:

Cushioning: This is the core feature of anti-fatigue matting; the cushioned surface of the mat reduces pressure and relieves tension on muscles, bones and joints, which makes standing more comfortable.

Textured surface: The textured surface has two functions: grip and movement. The first one is self-explanatory – the texture reduces the risk of slipping and falling – but a lesser-known benefit is that the textured surface also promotes subtle movement in our feet, which helps to encourage blood flow and reduces cardio-vascular problems like deep-vein thrombosis and varicose veins.

Anti-slip backing: While the mats prevent people from slipping on their surface, the mats themselves have anti-slip backing to stop them slipping across the floor once they’ve been put in place.

Bevelled edges: Instead of having an edge that is positioned at a 90-degree angle to the floor, our anti-fatigue mats have bevelled (or sloping) edges. This means there’s less chance of someone catching their foot on the edge and tripping over, and it also means trucks and trolleys can manoeuvre over the mats more easily.

Chemical resistance: Some anti-fatigue mats are made with nitrile, which is resistant to the chemicals often found in oils and grease. This makes them ideal for oily environments like factories, commercial kitchens and catering environments, because they won’t be damaged or degraded if they come into contact with spilled liquids.

What environments are anti-fatigue mats designed for?

  • Oily environments like factories, garages and industrial premises – As well as helping to reduce standing pressure and pain, these mats also help to reduce the risk of trips and slipping. Plus, nitrile-based anti-fatigue mats are perfectly suited to these environments because of their chemical resistance to oil and grease.
  • Commercial kitchens and catering environments – Using anti-fatigue mats helps to prevent damage to stock and equipment should it be dropped, and mats with drainage holes also help to deal with spillages and stop spilled liquids gathering on the surface.
  • Bars, pubs and restaurants – Staff in these busy environments will benefit from the extra grip provided by anti-fatigue matting, and it can also help to save money on stock loss by preventing dropped glasses, bottles and crockery from smashing or cracking.
  • Warehouses and packing areas – Lifting and carrying heavy items on a cold, hard floor can add to the pressure on muscles and joints. Using anti-fatigue matting helps to alleviate this pain whilst also providing extra grip to prevent dangerous and potentially costly slips and falls whilst carrying stock.

Which anti-fatigue mat is right for me?

The type of mat that is best suited for you depends on the type of environment you need it for. Dry, wet and oily environments all have their own requirements and it’s important you make the right decision.

While anti-fatigue mats often share some characteristics, certain mats will have features that means they’re better suited for specific environments. Here’s a breakdown of some of the factors that may affect your choice:

Foot traffic: How busy is your workplace? If there’s a constant stream of people walking back and forth across an area all day, then you’ll need a mat that can withstand such usage. A mat designed for lighter use will simply degrade faster than a heavy-duty alternative.

Movement on the mat: If the user turns on the mat during their working process, then mats with a wear-resistant top surface are preferable, as they help to prevent earlier degradation of the matting.

Environment purpose: What type of work takes place in your environment? If it’s an engineering plant, for example, then a heavy duty mat that can withstand a lot of traffic and that is resistant to oils and chemicals is ideal. If it’s a medical environment, or a food-based environment, then you should consider a mat with extra hygienic properties.

Area layout: Anti-fatigue matting is available on rolls, as individual mats and in tiled format, which means it can be easily fitted together to suit the shape of your space. This is particularly useful for areas with unusual layouts, such as behind the bar in a pub or restaurant, or around machinery or appliances in a warehouse or commercial kitchen, for example.

Materials present: If you operate a workplace where chemicals are regularly used or chemical-based products are used, then we advise you to look for a nitrile-based mat. Nitrile is resistant to the chemicals found in things like oil and grease, so you won’t need to worry about degradation or damage should anything be spilled on your mats. There are also different levels of recycled materials available in different mats, so you can choose according to your preferences and your company policy.

Below, you can find a few of our recommended anti-fatigue mats for wet, oily and dry environments respectively.

Anti-fatigue mats for wet environments

Fatigue Lock Premium Anti-Fatigue Mat

This extra-thick mat is ideal for wet environments. Available in tile form, it can be easily configured to the layout of your space, and it contains drainage holes to deal with any spillages or excess liquid, should you need it. Slip tested to DIN 51130.

Fatigue Lock Workplace Matting

COBA Deluxe Workplace Mat

Available as a single mat or in connecting tile format, this mat is extremely durable and perfectly suited for large spaces if used as a connecting system. With drainage holes included for absorption, the COBA Deluxe is also available with recommended optional edges to reduce trip hazards.

Worker-standing-on-a-black/yellow- COBAdeluxe-anti-fatigue-mat

Unimat Workplace Mat

With the typical comfort benefits of anti-fatigue matting plus the added bonus of reduced slipping in wet areas, the Unimat Workplace Mat is ideal for those who want comfort and stability with added versatility and easy transportation. The mat includes drainage holes to prevent liquid sitting on the surface, and it can be easily rolled up and moved if necessary.

Unimat Workplace Matting

Click here to see our range of recommended anti-fatigue mats for wet environments.

Anti-fatigue Mats for wet environment

Anti-fatigue mats for oily environments

Fatigue-Step Grit-Top Anti-Slip Mat

As well as comfort and support, this mat’s textured surface – known as a ‘grit-top’ – provides extra grip and stability, even in oily conditions. If your environment has an unusual layout, then you can configure and cut the mat tiles to suit, and those tiles are made of nitrile which means they’re resistant to chemicals found in oils and grease.

Fatigue Step Grit Top anti slip rubber matting

High-Duty Anti-Slip Matting

Featuring a raised surface and a grip-top for extra traction, it’s adept at preventing slips and falls. Plus, it’s resistant to chemicals which makes it ideal for environments where oil and grease are present. It has drainage holes, too, which means no pooling of liquid on the mat itself.

K-Mat Rubber Workplace Mat

K-mat is also known as “Kitchen Mat” and is a  nitrile-based mat, it’s oil- and chemical- resistant, and it has a raised pattern surface which offers extra grip for exceptional slip-resistance (tested to DIN 51130). It’s also easy to clean in a commercial washing machine when required.

Person-standing-on-a-black-holed- kmat-on-a-white-floor-beside-a- workstation

Click here to see our range of recommended anti-fatigue mats for oily environments.


Anti-fatigue mats for oily environments

Anti-fatigue mats for dry environments

Orthomat®  Lite Anti-Fatigue Mat

This mat is ideal for those who want to provide comfort and support underfoot on a tighter budget, or for environments with lighter foot traffic. It provides the comfort staff will need, but it also insulates against cold floors. Plus, its lightweight nature makes it easy to transport when necessary.

Orthomat Lite Workplace Matting

Hygimat Hygienic Anti-Fatigue Mat

For environments where hygiene is a key concern, such as kitchens, food manufacturing and retail environments, hospitals and medical spaces, the Hygimat is the perfect option. It’s made from a revolutionary ‘gel foam’ which has anti-microbial properties and provides comfort and durability in equal measure.

Person-standing-on-a-grey-hygimat- on-a-tiled-floor-beside-a-workstation

Orthomat®  Comfort Plus Anti-Fatigue Mat

Designed for maximum comfort, this mat is thicker than standard anti-fatigue mats. Available in mats and roll form, it’s ideal for moderate use in dry environments, with insulate properties to protect feet from cold floors.

Orthomat Comfort Plus Workplace Matting

Click here to see our range of recommended anti-fatigue mats for dry environments.

Anti-fatigue mats for dry environments

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