As spring weather continues to make it easier for people to enjoy public places, property owners are wise to turn their attention to the ways in which safety can be improved within major entryways and walkways. Though simple in concept, springtime slip and fall prevention can prove challenging for property owners because spring months are full of sometimes unpredictable wind and rain. As we saw in 2013, hurricane season adds fuel to the fire through summer and fall when tropical storms drift up the Atlantic coastal region and into the Northeast.
The easiest way to prevent slips and falls is to prepare the walking surface so friction is maintained between guests’ shoes and the floor. The friction needed to maintain a firm grip is often cited as Coefficient of Friction, or COF. In this article, our editors explore the role of water in slips and falls, as well as the measure of Wet COF in determining the friction needed to keep things safe when walkways become damp from rainy spring days.
Wet COF: Water, Slips, and Falls
Anyone who has experienced a slip and fall understands how water can significantly increase the likelihood of an accident occurring. According to safety experts on the Healthy Facilities Institute blog, “Water, unlike air, does not easily compress, and when trapped between shoe and floor can form a continuous film” that often leads to slips and/or hydroplaning (i).
How to Measure for Wet COF
The Healthy Facilities Institute blog offers the following tips to help property owners and facility managers measure for Wet COF:
1. Measure and record COF using an approved instrument (recommended: BOT-3000)
2. Improve, then maintain, the condition noted above. Use it as a benchmark to compare subsequent conditions, including those that occur after followup treatment and care.
3. Evaluate and improve COF as needed to ensure compliance and adequate slip prevention
To measure for wet and/or dry COF, it is recommended that an instrument called a Binary Output Tribometer is used. On-site, a portable version of this device can be used (called the BOT-3000). Special Note: The BOT meets ASTM precision guidelines, and it can be calibrated on-site to minimize error.
Rubber & Carpet Mats That Will Help
In addition to measuring for Wet COF and maintaining safety standards, some areas will need to be proactively covered with commercial floor mats to further reduce risk of accidental slip and fall. Rubber and carpet mats are among the most popular:
Rubber Scraper Mat: This mat is most often used outdoors because the tough Nitrile rubber construction keeps fresh through tough rainstorms and low temperatures. These mats “squeegee” moisture and debris from shoes before it has the chance to get dragged through the entryway and across the lobby.
Carpet Mats: On Eaglemat.com, we offer Premier Carpet Mats that are wildly popular for their simple design, eye-catching colors, and superior ability to absorb incoming debris and moisture. These mats are often called “wiper mats” because they become the perfect place for guests to wipe their shoes clean prior to walking across tile, hardwood, or other potentially slippery surfaces.
Logo Mats: These mats offer the very same benefits as the carpet mats described above, but they also give businesses the opportunity to make a lasting positive impression with guests. When choosing a carpet logo mat, digital printing enables a nearly limitless array of colors and customizability. Eaglemat.com proudly offers free image upload and proofing to ensure the right product is ordered, manufactured, and delivered.
Matting Consultation at Eaglemat.com
For more information on these products, call Eagle Mat Client Services at 1-877-333-1018.
(i) “Preventing Slip and Fall.” Healthy Facilities Institute. Accessed 21 April 2014.