Did you know that there are formal, codified standards for entrance matting for commercial buildings? And that the building engineer and/or property management company is responsible for the selection and deployment of adequate entrance matting to meet these standards?
Section 6 of the ANSI/NFSI B101.6-2012 “Standard Guide For Commercial Entrance Matting In Reducing Slips, Trips And Falls” emphasizes that it is the facility manager’s responsibility to choose the proper type of entrance matting, and also to have sufficient entrance matting in place. In other words, the entrance matting selected must adequately remove soils and moisture. If the matting deployed can’t meet these standards, then the facility manager must add additional matting and/or change the type of matting to one that meets the absorbency needs of the specified area.
Making sure appropriate entrance matting is available will go a long way in reducing the soils tracked throughout the facility. For example, according to matting experts, 80% of soil, dust, and other contaminants found inside facilities are tracked in on the shoes of building occupants. Properly utilizing mats at entryways will reduce tracked-in debris and result in a cleaner facility. Statistics indicate that walking 6 to 10 steps on entryway mats will remove 90% of the dirt from shoes. To allow for this, facility managers must lay a minimum of 18 linear, walkable feet of mats at entrances.
Even after matting has been placed, the job of custodial professionals is not complete. As outlined in Sections 7 and 8 of the standard, facility executives must address the proper care and maintenance of the mats, as well as the reduction of hazards related to matting. It is now required that “mats shall not be used in any manner other than their intended purpose” and that “when mats ripple, curl or have torn edges, they are to be removed from service and replaced with mats that lay flat. If a mat buckles, either the condition that caused the mat to buckle shall be corrected or the mat shall be secured or removed from service and replaced.” The standard further requires that “mats shall be installed on a clean, dry floor and that they shall be placed as to not overlap each other. Areas where mat migration may take place shall be monitored and the hazard corrected.”
Although there are statistics to support recommended matting lengths, there are no standard requirements. Every facility and application will vary. For example, during inclement weather, additional matting should be utilized to supplement the dry weather matting and absorb moisture, soil and other contaminants, or maintenance of the existing matting should be substantially increased (e.g. frequent wet/dry vacuuming to accelerate the drying process of the existing matting). Experts also recommend using larger mats whenever possible. This decreases the likelihood of mat migration and will absorb necessary debris.
Slip, trip and fall accidents can result in heavy fines for facility executives, but standards like the ANSI/NFSI B101.6-2012 are designed to help departments prevent potential accidents. Becoming familiar with standards like this will keep facilities cleaner and safer for building occupants.