Selecting the Right Floor Mat
Mats are a great way to increase comfort and prevent slips, trips and fall accidents. When choosing a mat type or style, consider why the mat is needed and what it is intended to do. SupplyLand stocks a wide range of professional grade mat types and styles.
Floor Slip & Fall Statistics
Before we review different types of floor mats, consider some statistics:
Consider the Costs:
- The average slip and fall claim is $4,000 (NFSI).
- The average cost of a slip-related injury exceeds $12,000 (Wausau Insurance Company).
- The average cost to defend against a slip and fall lawsuit is $50,000 (NFSI).
- Fall related medical expenses cost American more than $20 billion annually and are projected to increase to $32 billion annually over the next 20 years (CDC).
- For every dollar spent on floor maintenance products, the average supermarket will spend $3 paying for slip and fall accidents (NFSI).
- There are 34 million Americans over the age of 60. A person 65 or older is 10x more likely to be the victim of a debilitating slip and fall accident than a person under 30 (NFSI).
- 60% of fall related deaths occur among people 65 and older and falls are the number one cause of injury related death for males 80 and older and females 75 and older (NSC).
- In the US each year, an average of 7.75 claims per 1 million supermarket customers are filed due to slips and falls (Food Marketing Institute).
- Grocery stores in the US spend $450 million annually to defend slip and fall claims. The average slip and fall claim nationwide is for $3,900, with the cost to litigate a lawsuit at $100,000 (NFSI).
- The average restaurant has 3-9 slip and fall accidents each year (NSC).
- The food service industry’s leading cause of employee injury are slip and falls (Liberty Mutual).
- Walmart stores receive 100 million visitors a week and the retailer gets sued almost once every two hours every day of the year. Many of these suits are slip and fall related (USA Today).
- The retail industry has the highest incidence rate of “same level” falls when compared with all other industries. Same level fall claims account for approximately 17.1% of worker’s compensation claims (Liberty Mutual).
- 90% of slip and fall incidents occur on wet surfaces (Professional Retail Store Maintenance).
- Flooring material or improper floor maintenance account for 50% of slip and fall accidents (NFSI).
- Slip and fall accidents most often occur on wet or dirty surfaces (NSC).
Entrance mats absorb soil and water while helping to keep dirt and debris at the door and out of the building. Entrance mats may be positioned either inside of an entryway (Carpet Mats) or outside an entryway (Outdoor Entry Mats). The ISSA has estimated that 70-80% of dirt comes in through the doors of the facility. For every pound of dirt that gets tacked into a facility, it costs approximately $600 to remove it. Entrance mats reduce dirt, debris and contaminants, helping to keep the facility clean.
There are four objectives an entrance mat should achieve:
- Stop soil and water at the door.
- Hold soil and water for removal.
- Minimize tracking of soil and water.
- Prevent interior floors from becoming slippery and dangerous.
Effective entrance mats pull soil and water away from the surface. It is important that the mat design delivers good liquid absorbency while allowing for easy removal of debris when cleaning. Excess water that flows off the sides of a mat is called seepage. Mats with flat borders allow water to seep off the edges, creating slippery conditions which can lead to slips and falls. Excess water seepage can also cause permanent floor damage. High performance mats provide a dam-like border which holds excess water away from the floor surface, leaving floors dry.
The amount of soil that a mat allows to be tracked back to shoes is referred to as performance threshold. Top quality mats feature a bi-level design which traps large amounts of moisture and dirt, pulling it away from the surface so it cannot be tracked further into the facility.
Mats should be slip resistant. Any water on the mat should be contained in a reservoir below the surface level. Rubber-backed mats provide a better slip resistance than vinyl backed mats. Rubber backed mats will not curl, helping to reduce trips and falls.
Entrance mats may also be scraper mats that provide a first line of defense against soil. Scraper mats should always be used with other entrance mats that will provide wiping properties to remove fine soil and water from feet.
There are many types of indoor mats. Here we will briefly discuss Indoor Scraper Mats, Anti-Slip Mats and Anti-Fatigue Mats.
Indoor Scraper Mats serve many purposes, including:
- Dust Control - They are used as dust control or finishing mats when used with a scraper entrance mat. Nylon is a preferred material because of the high twist level of nylon fibers, which allow for more effective soil removal and resiliency. Olefin mats can deteriorate in as little as 30 days, making the mat virtually useless.
- Spot, Spill and Soil Control - Other uses for interior mats include spot, spill and soil control in high-traffic areas such as near vending machines, coffee stations, copy machines, reception areas and lobbies. It is important that mats used in these areas provide safe footing that limits trip and fall hazards as well as provide slip resistance. The best indoor mats are made with rubber backing that will resist slippage on any surface, whether it be carpet or a hard surface such as tile.
- An example of an indoor scraper mat is the Waterhog Carpet Mat.
- Bacteria / Odor Control - Some indoor mats have special features such as the ability to control against the growth of microorganisms, helping to limit the spread of bacteria and odor.
- Designed to provide safe footing with minimum slippage in most environments. The surface of these mats is constructed with maximum traction properties.
- Typically placed outside entrances, on ramps and in areas where contaminants such as oil, grease or water are common.
- One type of anti-slip mats designed for production areas and commercial kitchens are Drainage Mats. These mats are designed to allow water, oil, grease and other fluids to flow away from the mat surface to maintain a stable, dry surface and prevent slipping.
- Ergonomic Statistics:
- Standing fatigue is not just a matter of personal discomfort. It causes physical injury, costing employers time, productivity, and money (NSC).
- Workers who stood on anti-fatigue mats were able to reduce the level of fatigue and discomfort by as much as 50% (Mark Redfern, Ergonomist at the Center of Ergonomics at the University of Michigan).
- Productivity drops by 33% for a person standing 8 hours on a concrete floor. Standing on an anti-fatigue mat increases productivity by 20-50% (OSHA).
- Commonly used to provide cushioning for workers that do their job while standing on hard surfaces, thereby reducing fatigue and providing ergonomic support. Adding an anti-fatigue or ergonomic mat helps to provide an environment that encourages optimal performance, production and operational excellence.
- Designed to promote worker productivity by reducing foot, back and leg fatigue. Research has proven that the effects of long-term standing on hard surfaces negatively impacts workers’ productivity and health. Standing on hard surfaces is uncomfortable because leg muscles become static and continuously flexed to keep the body in an upright position. Standing for long periods reduces the natural flow of oxygen and blood back to the heart, causing fatigue and blood pooling in the lower extremities. Common ailments from long-term standing include varicose veins, lower back pain, leg pain and fallen foot arches.
- Anti-fatigue mats work by encouraging subtle movement of the leg and calf muscles. As the muscles contract and relax, they pump blood back to the heart and eliminate blood pooling in the lower extremities.
- There are no Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards regulating anti-fatigue mats, however anti-fatigue mats may be used as part of an ergonomic program to help eliminate potential musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
The information contained in this article is for informational, educations and promotional purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations. If there is any question or doubt in regard to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional. Under no circumstances will SupplyLand be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.