Anti-fatigue mats that slide around are a slip hazard, force operators to constantly watch their steps rather than focus on the work, and reduce productivity in high-demand environments. How you can you prevent it from happening?
Here are 6 ways to stop your anti-fatigue mats from sliding:
1. Stop piecing disconnected mats together
40% of the safety and production leaders we polled say "having to piece together rectangular mats to cover a complex work area" is their No. 1 anti-fatigue mat challenge, specifically the slip and trip hazards this causes.
Piecing together disconnected mats leaves each individual piece, in effect, out on an island rather than part of a whole. This makes them prone to sliding on slick/smooth floors.
Faced with this issue, nVent designed a custom anti-fatigue mat to a precise shape and size to fit the work area. The size and weight of the mat, combined with how the 100% nitrile material naturally adheres to the floor, ensures the mat remains in place with no threat of sliding.
Left: Disconnected mat pieces, creating slip and trip hazards. Right: Custom 100-1 Series anti-fatigue mat designed to eliminate both issues. nVent.
Left: Snapped together modular tiles, trip hazards from coming apart at the seams and curling borders. Right: Custom 100-1 Series designed as one seamless piece; no gaps, guaranteed not to curl or come apart at the seams.
2. Consider the mat materials
Anti-fatigue mats made from PVC foam, even nitrile-PVC blends, are more likely to slide because they aren't designed not to slide.
The materials aren't impervious to liquids and chemicals, which make them more prone to buckling, curling, and eroding over time. As the bottom and top surfaces break down, the mats lose their non-slip properties and begin to slide underfoot – especially in manufacturing environments where grease, oil and other products are constant.
At AcroMat, we make our 100-Series mats from 100% nitrile closed cell rubber foam. Pure nitrile aids in adhering mats to the floor because it's impervious to liquids and chemical-resistant; it's literally incapable of absorbing either. This combined with the textured bottom surface and a precise shape help keep the mats in place.
Left: PVC diamond-plate mat pieces strewn throughout a workstation. The materials and half-hazard approach create significant sliding risks. Right: One-piece custom mat designed to fit, made from 100% nitrile. Andersen Windows.
3. Create a glove-like fit
Rectangular mats that don't fit a workstation are often pieced together, stacked, and overlapped. This not only creates trip and slip hazards but also makes mats prone to sliding because they aren't gripping the floor but instead laid on top of one another.
Conversely, anti-fatigue mats that are designed specifically for the workspace have nowhere to slide. They fit like a glove:
When mats are designed precisely to fit an area, as you can see in the photo above, they "fit like a glove." Designed with our custom mat builder, AcroSketch. Crown Holdings.
This custom mat wraps fully around the wash station. Combining 100% nitrile with a custom design creates the glove-like fit. Medtronic.
100% nitrile, custom 100-1 Series anti-fatigue mat. The mat is designed up to all barriers and around poles; it truly does fit like a glove. Crown Holdings.
4. Use a non-slip backing
At AcroMat, we have a non-slip coating called GripCoteX which adds an extra layer of friction for especially slick floors. GripCoteX gets painted on to the bottom of mats. The product is water and oil resistant, designed for high-traffic facilities, doesn’t leave residue on the floor, and can be re-applied as needed.
Industrial tapes, such as Mighty Line Safety Floor Tape, can also help keep mats in place if properly applied and monitored. However, lower-quality tapes will peel, potentially creating trip hazards in fast-moving areas.
"These mats aren't moving," shared EHS Specialist, Amanda Eskew, with Nokian Tyres. Amanda's team combined custom shapes with GripCoteX.
5. Look for non-slip certified products
Independent testing and certification can help you ensure the mats you're investing in are not prone to sliding.
The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) is the leading independent testing agency for anti-fatigue product testing, certification, and standard development. They use an intricate testing system that helps manufacturers like AcroMat learn how our products actually help keep users safe from slips, trips, and falls. More importantly, the test results provide you with insight to make confident buying decisions.
NFSI's testing system provides mats with a Transitional Coefficient of Friction (TCOF) rating:
- Lower than 0.4 – Low traction / higher probability of sliding
- Between 0.4 and 0.6 – Moderate traction / average probability of sliding
- Greater than 0.6 – High traction / low probability of sliding
According to the NFSI, mats in the "low traction" category are more prone to movement, which can increase the risk of sliding, buckling, and curling. Mats in the "high-traction" category – 0.6 or greater – have proven to reduce slips, trips, and falls.
NFSI has a comprehensive public database of every anti-fatigue mat and flooring product that have earned "high traction" certification. If the ergo mats you're considering are certified, you will find them in the NFSI database.
The AcroMat 100-1, 100-ESD, 100-Cleanroom, and NitriTuf Diamond Series are all NFSI Certified for "high traction," grading at top end of the "high traction" (0.6+) category.
6. Keep your work area clean
The most obvious and lease expensive way to limit sliding is making sure your mats and work area remain clean. Laying new mats on areas that are unclean causes them to slide (particle buildup creates a mini-wheel effect) and can lead to mold, mildew, and other bacteria if the mats aren't antimicrobial.
Sawdust, metal shavings, and fiberglass can also erode the bottom surface of your mats, further reducing the non-slip qualities and overall lifespan.
Modular tiles, already prone to breaking apart because they're made from PVC, slip and slide when met with an accumulation of products like sawdust.
Custom shape and 100% nitrile combined with an area kept fully clean ensure this 100-Cleanroom Series mat remains in place and in use for upwards of 8 years. Medtronic.
Custom shape, "glove-like fit," and 100% nitrile combine to keep this 100-1 Series anti-fatigue mat firmly in place, with no risk of sliding. Windows manufacturer.
55% of safety and production leaders say they don't have have a formal anti-fatigue mat inspection process. Without strategic inspection, your facility is likely to be filled with the wrong materials, sizes and shapes – leading to issues like sliding.
Understanding what causes your mats to slide and what you can do to stop it, spend an hour this week walking through your facility and making note of needed changes. Inspection doesn't have to be complex or time-consuming; it just has to be consistent and intentional.
Interested in taking this resource with you, printing, or sharing? Access our freely available digital eBook: 6 Ways to Stop Your Anti-Fatigue Mats from Sliding
Put an AcroMat mat to test: Request a free sample.