The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) have banded together to define safety regulations as they pertain to commercial matting. To do so, they developed standard to simplify processes for facility managers. This ANSI/NFSI B101.6-2012 “Standard Guide For Commercial Entrance Matting In Reducing Slips, Trips And Falls” can be broken down into three areas: purpose, scope and application.

The purpose of the standard is to define safety regulations, and specifically “to eliminate slip, trip and fall hazards including but not limited to soil, moisture, contaminant removal, edge treatments and the improper use of floor mats and runners.” The scope establishes “the criteria for the selection, installation, inspection, care and maintenance of mats and runners in commercial facilities.” And finally, the requirements for application “pertain to the safe usage and applications, design, construction and quality criteria of floor mats and runners.”

Safety regulations are important, which is why key sections of the standard include definitions of terms related to entranceway floor mats such as buckling, curling and ripping. To increase understanding of the standard, these terms are defined as they apply to entrance matting, as well as the different types of mats including wiper mats, wiper-scrapper mats, scraper mats, recessed well mats, and lesser known types of mats such as foot grilles and tire tiles.

In addition to the definition of terms, the standard is broken down into sections, each focusing on a particular safety regulation. For example, Section 3 of the standard addresses the mat backings and it’s ability to prevent movement while placed on the floor. This is important because, floor mat migration (movement) is the leading cause of injuries.

The standard recommends that mats have a “high-traction backing,” which is referenced in the NFSI 101-C “Test Method for Measuring Dry Transitional Coefficient of Friction (TCOF) of Floor Mat Backing Materials.” This is currently the only nationally recognized standard by which to measure the slip resistant qualities of floor mat backing. It was developed because mats that do not have a high-traction backing are more prone to movement, which in-turn can increase the risk of migration, buckling and curling.  

Identifying mats with high-traction backing is getting easier for facility executives. A growing number of mat manufacturers have submitted their products for certification. Once certified as “high-traction,” mats receive a certifying label, pledging assurance that the mat’s backing delivers the highest level of slip resistance that meets safety regulations.

Jumping ahead to Section 5, the standard outlines the proper selection of matting as it relates to placement and intended purpose. This section also defines four distinct areas where mats are recommended, including outdoor areas, vestibules, indoor locations and other specialty areas.

When used outside a building, safety regulations stress that mats should either be a recessed mat, a scraper or a wiper-scraper mat, which can either be loose laid or permanently installed with a recessed well mat/foot grille. It’s also important to note that the standard emphasizes that matting selection for interior vestibules is based on the use of outdoor matting.

For example, when a scraper mat is used outdoors, the matting in the vestibule should be a wiper-scraper or wiper only mat. However, when a scraper mat is not used outdoors, the vestibule matting should be either scraper only or wiper-scraper. Wiper mats should always be the second mat at the entrance.

In addition to the type of mat, it is important to consider location. The standard emphasizes the responsibility of the facility manager to “identify areas within the facility where there exists a potential hazard for slips, trips, or falls, and validate the level of potential hazard through the use of B101 standardized wet coefficient of friction measurements.”

The NFSI has published a series of methods whereby facility managers can test their floors to ensure they are appropriate for use with floor matting. Laying a mat on an inappropriate floor can cause more harm than good. Many slip-and-fall events occur as the result of “surfboarding” across a wet floor, therefore emphasizing the importance of insuring mats are used correctly and the floor underneath the mat is clean and dry.

Testing floors, providing measurements and identifying problem areas is important to comply with safety regulations. The standard states that facility managers must provide “careful review of measurement results indicating a hazard potential — specifically due to the involuntary presence of grit, moisture, or dust.” Management must place mats in those areas.

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