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Barrier Matting Keeps Shops Clean & Safe

The role of barrier matting within retail locations and how it can be used to create a safe, clean and inclusive environment is discussed by Chloe Taylor, product manager for Gradus: 

RECENT figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) attribute 90% of slip accidents in public buildings to wet flooring and with the increased pressure on businesses to meet rigorous health and safety standards, barrier matting has become a crucial part of specifying a safe retail environment.

The favoured choice of hard, resilient flooring, such as ceramic or terrazzo in most retail locations significantly increases the risk of slips, due to the lack of surface friction, especially in wet conditions. By specifying an adequate amount of matting, moisture tracked into retail outlets by pedestrian and wheeled traffic can be significantly reduced, preventing the surrounding flooring from becoming wet and therefore a potential safety hazard.

Barrier matting can also help to maintain a visually pleasing environment. By preventing the transfer of dirt and moisture from footwear, trolleys, buggies and wheelchairs, matting helps to keep adjacent areas looking clean and tidy, thus reducing cleaning and maintenance costs and prolonging the lifecycle of the building’s floorcoverings.

In addition, specifying the correct amount and type of barrier matting can help retail centres to become inclusive environments, meeting the requirements of Approved Document M (ADM) of The Building Regulations 2000 and BS8300+A1:2010, in line with guidance in the Equality Act. Securely fixed barrier matting with suitable ramping strips can improve access for wheelchair users by creating a safe, smooth transition to the surrounding floor finish.

A combination of primary and secondary barrier matting is particularly effective in retail locations. Ideal for use at points of entry, primary matting can be used internally and externally to retain wet and dry debris. Secondary barrier carpet provides an aesthetically pleasing additional barrier, which resembles more conventional carpet, whilst offering the moisture retention properties and scrape-off cleaning function of matting. Hence, it is ideal for internal locations prone to excess soil, such as lift areas.

When installed correctly, barrier matting can offer superior protection against the transfer of dirt and moisture into internal areas, but its performance can be compromised, if the matting area is not sufficiently maintained. Contractors should be aware of this and instruct facility managers accordingly.

Any area of matting within retail outlets should be vacuumed daily to avoid a build-up of dirt and debris, which can clog up in the mat’s structure. Periodic deep cleaning together with the use of certain detergents to remove heavy stains is also advisable. The frequency and type of cleaning will often be determined by the volume of foot traffic and amount of soiling, therefore, a tailored cleaning programme should be developed.

For example, Gradus Esplanade 1500 primary barrier matting was installed at Morrisons supermarket in Newport, South Wales, in all three entrances to prevent dirt and moisture from being carried into the building by foot and wheeled traffic. Esplanade 1500 can be specified in closed, open or scraper construction and is a durable yet low-maintenance matting system for various internal applications subject to medium to heavy foot and trolley traffic.

In summary, barrier matting is a fundamental part of any shopfitting or design scheme and when specified correctly, it can help to create attractive, clean and inclusive retail environments that are safe for shoppers and staff.

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