Stay Afoot For Safety

Many products are available for every type of flooring challenge. From the entrance of a building throughout the complex, the use of matting can improve your visitors’ and staff experience. It can help keep the buildings clean, protect vulnerable surfaces, increase access, and provide a safe and healthy footing.

Getting It Right

The science of interaction between floor and foot is not difficult to understand, and every buyer should know certain fundamentals:

1. Floors–all floors–and water don’t mix.

2. Certain types of tile and resilient flooring may look good, but they are lethal when wet.

3. Standing for long periods on a hard floor damages a body.

4. Changes in flooring levels can cause injuries.


Estimates vary, but roughly 80 percent of dirt entering a building comes in on the soles of shoes, on wheelchairs or by the wind. Maintenance and continual cleaning to keep interiors safe are necessary and costly. When considering matting, note the following criteria:

1. Design of entry

2. Density of traffic

3. Weather

Entrance matting should do all the dirty work for your visitors without their noticing. You don’t see many people walking into your facility and pausing to wipe their shoes anymore–we are busy people! Depending on your situation, you may need a primary exterior barrier to scrape, a secondary one to clean, and perhaps even a third one to dry. In extreme cases, you may need to vary the materials–start with a brush system underfoot for aggressive cleaning, and gravitate through an open grid onto a carpet-like surface.

Health And Safety

By definition, design is driven by aesthetics, but that doesn’t count for much when a customer slips on those ”pretty” ceramic tiles in the changing room and breaks a leg. Slips and trips cause more accidents than anything else. According to the Centers for Disease Control, during 2007 there were over 27 million reported injuries; 8 million of those were fall-related and 19,000 were fatal.

In recreation and leisure facilities, special precautions must be taken for wet areas, particularly around swimming pools, in changing rooms, showers and children’s play areas. It is vital to remove as much water as possible in these areas in attempting to maintain a dry surface. In these cases, one consideration is an open-grid vinyl matting that requires little maintenance, is aesthetically pleasing, and helps drain water away towards the floor grilles. The same applies to swimming pool surrounds and children’s wet play areas.

At the Sierra Vista Aquatic Centre in Arizona, the area known as The Cove is a 35,500-square-foot facility with an 11,000-square-foot wave pool, a kiddy lagoon with slide, dive pool and two water slides. Attention was paid to the changing rooms and areas where water was a problem from people washing and stepping out of the showers.

After examining various options, the management decided to install an open-grid PVC matting. Stephanie Benson, Aquatics Coordinator for the city of Sierra Vista’s Parks and Leisure Service, explains, “Here at The Cove, health and safety are of crucial importance to us. We annually entertain over 80,000 guests, and were having an issue with pooling water and slipping in our shower and locker-room areas. The majority of the facility is indoors, and is obviously a warm, wet environment. We really liked the fact that the matting contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal additives for barefoot health and hygiene. This, together with the ease with which it can be rolled up, making it very easy to clean underneath, means that the matting has proved to be the perfect solution to our issues.”

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  4. Protecting And Retaining Employees
  5. Summer Safety
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