Stay Afoot For Safety

Similar sentiments were expressed by Bill Gordon, Director of Operations, when over 300 feet of the same matting were recently laid around the swimming pool at The Sports Center Health Club, part of the Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Center in New York. The complex entertains over 4 million visitors each year, and occupies 28 acres in Manhattan on the Hudson River.

In larger areas, such as locker rooms, anti-slip matting can also be purchased in large, square tiles. These semi-flexible tiles are used to create wall-to-wall coverage of seamless and slip-resistant flooring. The tiles will contour over rough or uneven surfaces and, where necessary, can easily be cut to fit against walls or around obstructions. As matting edges themselves can be the cause of trips, care should be taken when the matting encounters another floor material or an open space. When possible, consider using a matting tile that can have a ramp attached to create a safe transition from floor to mat surface.


Prolonged standing at work has proven to be the cause of progressive bone damage, varicose veins, poor circulation and water retention as well as back problems. Anti-fatigue matting is one solution for staff members who have to stand in one position or are constrained within a limited area, such as at information points, service counters and cash desks. Matting with the correct degree of bounce will offer important health advantages, such as comfort underfoot, good slip resistance and thermal protection from cold floors.

External And Handicapped Access

External safety is just as important, and precautions must be taken to reduce accidents on wet and muddy ground, and to create safe walkways for visitors or wheelchairs over rough or uneven terrain. A heavy-duty, all-weather rolled mat is ideal for these conditions. Monkey Jungle, a 30-acre park in Florida, sought a product that would meet the following needs:

1. Assimilate well with the natural environment

2. Provide a stable platform for wheelchairs and mobility carts

3. Fit in color-wise with the wood chips and foliage

4. Be flexible enough to contour to the unlevel and curvy paths

5. Be portable in order to be moved around and reconfigured

6. Provide a safe, non-slip surface that drains off the rain and performs well when wet.

Other problems can be caused by boardwalks to outdoor pools and other amenities, particularly if they are constructed with wooden duckboards, which become slippery when wet. The permanent all-weather solution is to lay slip-resistant matting on top. A similar solution applies to wooden or concrete jetties and waterside piers.

A flooring or safety-matting distributor should be able to provide case studies and advise a designer or facilities manager how to overcome potential problems by recommending the right solutions. “There are many types of matting available that are designed to provide solutions for specific problems: weather, maintenance, water, spillage or fatigue,” advises Sally Schomp of Plastex Matting Inc.

At the end of the day, every facility has to look attractive and efficient if it is to entice visitors. However, it also has to be safe. High-performance matting not only provides that vital health and safety element which makes so much difference to the visitor but also enhances the color and appearance of interiors. Most importantly, it shows that management really cares.

Christopher Sykes is an architect, journalist and technical copywriter. He has spent many years working in the architectural and building press, and is CEO of Pressential, a U.S./European PR company that specializes in the building industry.

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Related posts:

  1. Winter Mat Care Tips
  2. Keeping Kids Safe
  3. Floors For Foodservice
  4. Protecting And Retaining Employees
  5. Summer Safety

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