Entrance mats play a critical role in maintaining a clean and safe environment for all who enter an office building. By containing moisture and dirt, entrance mats are the first line of defense against incoming debris that will otherwise be tracked throughout the building. Incoming debris is a concern for businesses not only because accumulation can make floor spaces unsafe, but also because internal debris accumulation may lead to long-term health concerns. Bacteria and air born pollutants are two of the most common examples of how incoming debris may adversely affect both facility cleanliness and employee health. Businesses must carefully select their entrance matting products to avoid these pitfalls and promote a safe workplace. Each place of business has unique needs, however. To find the most effective products, businesses may consider their needs according to the following 3 key dimensions:
- Visitor Flow
- The Goals of Risk Management Plans
The first and most fundamental thing a business must consider before choosing entrance mats is visitor flow. There are a variety of different matting products, and each is designed with a certain level of visitor flow in mind. Businesses should choose a mat that will effectively contain debris that accumulates over the course of 10-14 business days. Mats must be deep cleaned after this period to return them to their original texture and consistency.
To select a mat based on visitor flow, a business must consider the traffic it receives in terms of “light,” “moderate,” or “heavy.” Generally speaking, carpet mats are a good option for businesses that receive a light to moderate degree of visitor flow. Elongated carpet runners are available to businesses that fall closer to the “moderate” side of the spectrum. For businesses that receive a moderate to heavy degree of visitor flow, it is recommended that a rubber mat be placed just outside the entrance to capture moisture and larger debris before it comes into contact with the carpet mat.
Next, businesses must consider the weather. Businesses with locations in tropical climates will have special needs compared to those located in northern climates where snow, ice, and rock salt significantly impact safety. Rubber mats are a practical option for tropical climates, along with any other region that experiences a great deal of rainfall. When placed just outside the entry, rubber mats give guests a firm and textured surface on which moisture may be “squeegeed” from shoes prior to entering the building. Facilities located in regions where snow and ice accumulation are common may also benefit from outdoor rubber mats, however it is critical to select products made of 100% Nitrile rubber. Nitrile rubber is an extremely durable and resilient material that stands the best chance of enduring frigid temperatures and ice accumulation. Other materials, like polypropylene, are considered good options as they likewise exhibit a high degree of resiliency.
Finally, businesses must consider how entrance mats and other safety products may be used to achieve the goals of risk management plans. Risk management plans identify major areas of risk that pertain to everyday operations, and those risks are often managed by the installation of safety products like floor mats. For example, consider that hospitals and laboratories may have special areas in which bacteria control is a primary concern. Such environments call for special “sticky mats” with adhesive surfaces that trap up to 99% of bacteria from shoes. In this way, considering risk management can help a business choose mats that accomplish a number of broader goals.
The health of employees and customers alike is jeopardized when bacteria, air born pollutants, and other debris are allowed to penetrate the entrance of a commercial business. Debris may not easily be removed once inside, as internal air systems and persistent foot traffic may track it far beyond the entrance. This increases cleaning and maintenance costs, and it increases the likelihood of slip-and-fall accidents. It is critical that businesses select entrance mats that will meet their unique needs for debris control, especially at major points of entry to the building. Keep the aforementioned keys to proper matting selection in mind, however, and your facility will be retrofitted with customized solutions to prevent dirt, moisture, and debris from accumulating and causing long-term danger to safety and health.