With the Midwest having one of the wettest summers on record, high-performance mats have been installed at most major commercial facilities virtually on a full-time basis. The reason for these installations: Mats are one of the most effective ways to prevent a slip-and-fall accident.

When we walk, the muscles and tendons in our legs expand and contract, and our weight transfers from leg to leg. If all goes well, our center of gravity (COG), located in the center of the body, stays stable and helps keep us balanced.

However, things do not always go well, especially with wet weather, ice, or snow, and that's when an accident occurs. Further, building owners, managers, and facility service providers are advised that there are different types of slip-and-falls. These include the following:
    •    The traditional slip-and-fall. This is when a person's center of gravity (COG) is shaken after losing secure foot contact with the floor.
    •    Step-and-fall. This is when the floor surface unexpectedly changes height - up or down - or there is an actual hole in the floor.
    •    Stump (Stub)-and-fall. Encountering an unseen or unexpected impediment or obstruction - a drain cover that has lifted or a mat that has curled, for instance - can result in a stump-and-fall. Stump-and-falls can also occur when someone walks over a "tacky" part of a floor.
    •    Trip-and-fall. A foreign object on the floor, such as a power cord or an unseen or unexpected step, can result in a trip-and-fall.

"To ensure safety and that high-performance mats work most effectively, inspect the mat during the course of the day," says Adam Strizzi, marketing manager for Crown Matting Technologies. "If it has become saturated due to moisture, replace it with a fresh mat as soon as possible."