As a business owner who invites customers into their place of business, you have a duty to assure that you maintain the safest environment possible, and it all starts with your entrance. The ANSI/NFSI B101.6 – Standard Guide for Commercial Entrance Matting in Reducing Slips, Trips, and Falls has become the standard of care for doing so. Slip, trip, and fall accidents account for over 25,000 injuries each day. See how slips, trips, and falls can have lasting effects on the productivity of your business as well as medical related expenses.
Professional entrance mat services will contribute to helping business owners maintain a safe building for their customers, thus, helping to avoid litigation which becomes very costly, driving up insurance premiums and legal costs. These costs ultimately affect a business owner’s bottom line. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), the average cost for a business to fight a slip and fall lawsuit is around $50,000. This statistic is staggering and illustrates the damaging effects that an accident can have on a company’s finances. By subscribing to a professional service, business owners can focus on their main objective, growing their business and maintaining happy customers. Such professional services can also contribute to enhancing the business they serve as the products they provide contribute to a cleaner facility.
Safe entrance mat systems should start with proper matting on the outside of any building entrance. Scraper/wiper mats should be placed in this area as it is most exposed to weather. If any product has the potential to retain moisture and can be tracked inside the building, contributing to a slip and fall accident, it needs to be removed and replaced with the proper matting product.
Those trained in the ANSI/NFSI B101.6 Standard will assure that each entrance has the proper sized entrance mat in place, assuring that their product removes all soils and moisture from the footwear of those who enter the building. Entrance mats should never be placed side by side or end to end as they will contribute to trip and fall accidents. Only the proper sized mat should be placed at the entrance.
Business owners should demand that any entrance mat placed in their business is certified by NFSI. Such certifications assure that the product meets the minimum transitional coefficient of friction standards, furthermore, providing greater protection to your business and customers.
Professional floor mat services must guarantee that the product they provide meets all the criteria set forth in the standard and be held accountable if it fails to do so. Proper sizing of mats along with the proper backing become critical in assuring the movement (migration) is minimized. The weight of the backing can make a large contribution to reducing any movement.
Professional mat services are responsible for assuring their product lays flat on the floor and is defect free. Mats must never be left in place if they have any defects such as missing or torn borders, buckling or waffling, etc… This standard of care cannot be compromised.
All professional mat services should offer to provide an audit of the facility they intend to service. Audits should note any flooring defects (such as missing or broken tiles, torn or missing pieces of carpet, etc…). Entrance mats should never be used to cover any unsafe condition. Any unsafe condition should be addressed immediately by a professional. Annual reviews of the facility by a professional are important to assure traffic patterns have not changed and the product in place performs up to their customers’ expectations.
By following these recommendations, business owners can feel comfortable knowing that their facility has a lower risk of causing injury to their customers and staff. Investing in a professional service is the best insurance policy anyone can have in today’s environment.
Contributing Author: Fred Anderson, VP of Operations, Pilgrim Mat Services
Fred Anderson is the Vice President of Operations at Pilgrim Mat Services. He has 38 years of commercial mat and textile industry experience. Fred is an ANSI Certified Walkway Auditor Certificate Holder and an OSHA Outreach Trainer in Occupational Safety and Health Standards. Fred earned the CFC (Certified Forensic Consultant) designation from the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute. Fred is a qualified expert witness in slip, trip, and fall litigation for the industry.