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The Ins & Outs Of Specifying Barrier Matting

Barrier matting offers a range of benefits for commercial buildings, but its effectiveness depends on the type of matting specified, where it is installed and in what quantities, says Chloe Taylor, product manager for Gradus: 
SLIPS and trips account for more than half of all reported injuries to the general public and up to 90% of all slip injuries result from wet floors, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

By removing dirt and moisture from pedestrian and wheeled traffic at the point of entry, barrier matting can reduce the risk of slips to create a safer and more accessible environment.

When specifying barrier matting, contractors should begin by assessing the internal environment and determining how many people will use the building entrance on an hourly basis and what type of traffic is expected, i.e. is it pedestrian or wheeled, including pushchairs, luggage or trolleys?

If it is a mixture of both, verify the ratio of each to help determine the correct type of matting.

Next, contractors should consider the external environment of the building. For example, does the entrance run straight off the street or is there a canopy outside? It is also important to consider the entrance area itself, i.e. will the floor become slippery when wet or is there an over-door heater? This will influence the amount of tracked-in moisture and hence, the type of matting required.

Guidelines from bodies such as the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) and the HSE should be followed to meet guidance in The Building Regulations 2000, Approved Document M ‘Access to and use of Buildings’.

As part of a systematic approach, secondary matting should be used in conjunction with the primary mat for extra protection. Secondary barrier matting does not have to stop at a building’s entrance; it can be continued through to corridors, lift areas and even stairs if required to ensure that excess moisture is not transferred to surrounding floorcoverings, in line with HSL guidelines.

One of the most common errors contractors can make is not specifying enough matting. For buildings with low rates of traffic flow, 3m to 4m of matting is recommended. However, for buildings subject to very heavy traffic (over 800 people an hour), the guidelines suggest the use of 8m to 10m of matting. Where this cannot be achieved, a secondary barrier mat can be used in conjunction with a primary mat for extra support.

It is important that barrier matting should always be flush with the floorcovering that surrounds the entrance. There should not be a gap between the threshold and where the matting starts, as this can cause a trip hazard or impede access for wheeled traffic.

An effective barrier matting system in the right areas and in the right quantities will create a safe environment and improve the aesthetics of a building. www.gradusworld.com

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.