Every year thousands of North Americans are injured in slip, trip, and fall accidents that occur when entering a commercial building. The right kind of entrance matting can contribute to the prevention of potential injuries, and also can help defend against possible litigation. Although entrance matting can play a significant role in preventing these accidents, the wrong type or wrong amount also actually contribute to trips and falls when buckled, curled, or flopped over.
Although it seems like making sure entrance matting contributes, rather than reduces, safety should be a straightforward tasks, some facility managers don’t take the time to look at the big picture when it comes to cost vs benefit for entrance mats. In 2012 to address this safety hazard, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) B101 committee on slips, trips and fall prevention, in conjunction with the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), released the latest in a line of walkway safety standards: The ANSI/NFSI B101.6-2012 “Standard Guide For Commercial Entrance Matting In Reducing Slips, Trips And Falls.” This standard provides criteria for the selection, installation, inspection, and care and maintenance of entrance mats and runners in commercial facilities. When in compliance with the standard, departments should see a reduction in slip, trip and fall hazards that involve soil, moisture, contaminants, edge treatments, as well as the improper use of floor mats and runners.
“This standard not only covers where and how mats should be deployed, but also identifies the hazards associated with improper mat placement and use,” says Robert J. Moran, chairman of the ANSI B101.6 sub-committee. “We also believe that the standard will soon be adopted by the insurance industry and will serve as an important tool in preventing the growing mat-related slips, trips and falls problem.”
As floor mat-related trip-and-fall lawsuits continue, this industry standard will encourage the proper use, maintenance and inspections for matting. The goal is also to dramatically affect the way facility executives now must maintain, inspect and select entryway floor mats.