Commercial property managers have a responsibility to ensure that their buildings are kept clean and safe, both for staff and for the general public. Did you know that there actually are formal standards governing the use of entrance matting for commercial properties?
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 property manager’s responsibility to not just select the right type of entrance matting for their building, but also to ensure that there is enough entrance matting in place to do the job. In other words, the entrance matting chosen must adequately remove soils and moisture; if it doesn’t, the property manager must add more matting and/or change the type of matting used to sufficiently clean and dry the floor if what’s currently there isn’t getting the job done.
Choosing the right type and amount of entrance matting goes a long way in reducing the amount of soil tracked throughout a building. According to matting experts, 80% of soil, dust, and other contaminants found inside facilities are tracked in on the shoes of building occupants. Utilizing the right kinds of entrance mats at entryways will greatly reduce the amount of tracked-in debris and result in an overall-cleaner facility. Studies show that 90% of the dirt from shoes can be removed by walking 6 to 8 steps on an entrance mat; given the average person’s height and stride length, this means that most primary entrances to commercial buildings should have a minimum of 18 linear feet worth of entrance matting in the direction of foot traffic flow.
Choosing and deploying entrance matting is only the beginning, though. As outlined in Sections 7 and 8 of the standard, property managers must also properly maintain their entrance matting and ensure that they take appropriate precautions to not introduce new tripping hazards due to poor 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 explicit requirements as every facility has different physical layouts, different traffic patterns and traffic loads, and experiences different weather conditions. For example, wet or snowy weather will typically require additional matting to be deployed to supplement the dry weather matting and absorb moisture, soil and other contaminants. Larger, single-piece mats are always more effective than multiple small mats and should be used whenever possible. Larger mats are more stable and heavier, which decreases the likelihood of mat migration and shifting.
Slip, trip and fall accidents can result in heavy fines or substantial workers’ compensation premium increases for property managers, 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.