Many construction and drilling companies face criticism about the environmental impact of their projects, especially
when working in forested areas. One of the major complaints is that heavy machinery used in such projects has
negative impacts on the surrounding soil and plants. Access mats, rig mats, and swamp mats are varieties of
specialized matting which provide safe access solutions to otherwise impassable terrain for reasons such as poor
ground conditions, weather and sensitive areas.
Access mats, rig mats and swamp mats are portable platforms made of wood such as pine, fir, spruce, or a combination
of the three. The wood is specially designed to resist weatherization, warping, or chemical wear. Swamp mats are
most often used to support construction, drilling, or camp equipment which prevents it from sinking in the
mud – saving time, effort, and the environment. Swamp mats can be a crucial access point for emergency
personnel during floods, fires, search-and-rescue, or other natural disasters.
Rig mats need to endure the heaviest loads on a constant basis; therefore, the wood mats are encased in a steel
frame. These heavy duty platforms serve as a critical base for rigs, tank farms and pipeline construction. In
addition to the many oil and gas functions, rig matting creates a flat, dust-free surface for maintenance or
construction operations. Using mats to create a designated area for materials and supplies increases site
organization and helps to make post-project clean up an easier task. The mats also increase work site safety,
providing workers with a flat, stable surface – Preventing trips, slips, and falls.
Access mats are beneficial for the environment, as they negate the need to build a stone road to reach the work site.
By using access mats instead of building a road, grasses and plants are able to access water and maintain rooting
systems. Access mats also reduce the likelihood of spreading foreign and invasive species to the surrounding
environments at a work site.
Access mats have civilian uses beyond construction assistance and soil preservation. Mats can be used at beaches and
parks to increase ground stability and public safety. The use of matting in these areas is specifically beneficial
for wheelchair, stroller and bike access. A park located in downtown Calgary, is a great example of how to
utilize mats in a public setting. ContainR is a performing arts park that has a matted foundation which provides a
clean, flat and stable area for performers and spectators to enjoy the arts. Swamp mats, access mats and rig mats
can provide simple solutions to many complicated problems within the transmission & distribution, pipeline, oil
and gas, and many other industries. Protecting the environment, helping people safely reach their destinations and
increasing worker efficiency are examples of the value that can be gained by using matting solutions.