Once it is determined that the floor is suitable for matting, 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 both select the proper matting and have sufficient matting in place. In other words, matting selected must adequately remove soils and moisture. If it doesn’t, custodial professionals should incorporate additional matting and/or readdress the type of matting required to meet absorbency needs for the specified area.

Making sure appropriate matting is available will go a long way in reducing the soils tracked throughout the facility. For example, according to matting experts, 80 percent 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 six to 10 paces on mats will remove 90 percent of the dirt from shoes. To allow for this, facility managers must lay a minimum of 18 feet of mats at entrances.

But 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. 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.   

RUSSELL J. KENDZIOR is the president, and CEO of Traction Experts, Inc. and founder of the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI). He is sought nationwide as a safety consultant, public speaker and expert witness, and has authored both “Slip and Fall Prevention Made Easy” and “Fall’s Aren’t Funny.”

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Safety Regulations For Commercial Mats