Choosing the Right Mat for Your Business
The humble mat has become an unexpected hero of modern best practice OHS and ergonomics. Mats are an asset for building managers because of their ability to solve potentially expensive health and safety issues. Even insurers are becoming wise to the benefits of floor mats for their risk-prevention capabilities. But, with all the different varieties out there, how do you know which one is right for your business?
Picking the right mat can be overwhelming, so we have outlined everything you need to consider when choosing a mat for your business.
Evaluating what the right mat can do for you
The right mat for your business depends entirely on your business needs. To work out your matting needs, have a think about the potential problems that you want to solve. Most mats can multitask, so you should be able to find a combination of the features that you need. Make a list of priorities to get started. If you're not sure, here are some of the features that mats can have:
- Absorbency: Entranceways, poolside, barbacks and kitchens are just some areas that need absorbent mats on their floors. Anywhere that water appears has the potential to become an accident scene, so choose a mat with a high absorbency to reduce the risk of slips.
- Slip-resistance: Another way to reduce slips is to install a non-slip mat. Non slip, or anti slip, mats have a rubber backing that provides friction against the floor, preventing the mat from moving and any subsequent accidents from occurring.
- Fire-Proofing: Once you have decided on the main features you require in your mat, think of any additional safety features you might need. Welders and fire stations, for example, will need fire and heatproof mats.
- Anti-Static: Electrical stations might need anti-static mats, while surgeries and laboratories will need super-cleaning tacky mats.
- Cleaning: All entrance mats help to keep your floors clean, but some mats take this to the next level! Surgical theatres and laboratories need to be immaculate, so tacky mats can help, while grease resistant mats help kitchens stay clean.
- Chemical Resistance: Assembly lines in commercial environments often handle harmful chemicals, which can be dangerous if they spill. Chemically neutral matting, usually rubber, is the most common solution to this potential hazard.
- Low: Areas with low traffic include smaller offices, residential entrances and retail workstations. These see the lowest amount of footfall, so can .... mats that are low-profile and less conspicuous.
- Medium: Some medium traffic areas are larger offices, retail entrances and smaller schools. They see more footfall than low traffic areas, but still don't require heavy duty matting.
- High: Large commercial buildings, shopping centres and museums are high traffic areas. They see a huge amount of footfall every day so need mats that will withstand that as well as the elements.
- Anti-Fatigue: For workers that stand all day, an anti fatigue mat is necessary to avoid back and leg pain. Plus, in most areas, and in all of Australia, it is the law for workplaces to provide anti fatigue mats for employees required to stand for prolonged periods. Anti fatigue mats also reduce the “foot pounding” effect of walking, reducing the strain for staff and customers while on the move. It has been proven countless times that fatigue from standing, particularly on hard surfaces, affects staff performance.
- Chair Mats: Just as standing all day can cause back pain, sitting all day on a computer chair also take its toll on the body. To avoid damage and discomfort caused by rolling an office chair around all day, a chair mat provides a smooth barrier between the wheels and the floor. Good quality chair mats are made for carpets (with anchors) or for hard floors (without anchors) and can be standard sized or custom cut to fit any room
- Wheelchair accessible entrances: If your business is client- or customer-facing then it needs to be accessible. Even if your business is unlikely to be visited by a wheelchair user, it is a good idea to have a movable ramp (at the very least) in case it ever is. Using a wheelchair is difficult enough already, and able-bodied people are often surprised at how many business places are still wheelchair-inaccessible.
- Ramps and Ramped Edges: To make sure your business is accessible, ramp mats can be custom-made to cover steps and other uneven floors. As well as steps, mats inaccessible buildings should have ramped edges, to avoid wheelchairs getting stuck on steep mat edges.
- Entrances and exits: Floors around entrances and exits are quickly damaged, costing business owners significant money to repair and keep looking good. Entrance matting prevents these problems by protecting the area with materials purpose-built to withstand degradation. The result is a long-lasting mat that costs much less to maintain and eventually replace.
- Branding: When choosing a mat for your business, it is a great place to include your branding! Whether that's a logo mat in the entrance or printed bar runners featuring your hotel name, any chance to keep your flooring on-brand and attractive is one you should jump at!
- Low Profile: Low profile mats generally look better than heavy duty rubber mats, so they are a great option for client-facing or well-decorated rooms. Low profile doesn't always mean low traffic, too, so look for heavy duty, low profile mats for high traffic areas.
Safety mats reduce risk to staff, clients and customers. Good non-slip matting can prevent injury and save your business a fortune in liability. A comfortable, resilient surface is pleasant to walk on, so will be appreciated by tired legs such as shoppers'.
Rubber matting is also kid-friendly, providing a safe, soft surface for rampaging toddlers and running kids. You can see why so many business owners are investing in the new mats. Matting is quite cheap, can prevent a lot of problems and solves numerous existing issues.
Take a long hard look at your flooring and talk to the experts about matting solutions. You’ll be very glad you did. Once you've decided on your perfect mat, here's how to design the perfect entranceway!