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Steer Clear of Trips and Slips - December 2017
Wet floors, spills and excess clutter can mean disaster for employees on the warehouse or retail floor, causing many every year to suffer lost pay and serious pain. Injuries caused by slips, trips and falls range from sprained or strained muscles and joints to broken bones and head injury. There are several precautions you should take to ensure your safety and the safety of others.
- Keep floors clean and dry at all times. Wet floors present a slip hazard and can promote the growth of infection-causing microbes like mold, fungi and bacteria.
- Remove all objects and clutter from aisles, exits and passageways.
- In the event that grease or oil spills on the kitchen floor, clean the mess immediately and alert your co-workers of the problem before they accidentally fall.
- Use floor or ceiling electrical plugs for power to avoid runninga cord down a long hallway.
- Display warning signs to alert others of a wet floor.
- Use floor mats while surfaces are drying after cleaning to provide traction.
- Clean up spills immediately.
- In areas prone to slipping (toilet and shower areas), use a no-skid wax product to clean.
- While washing the floor, wear protective footgear to prevent falling.
- Keep an eye out for uneven floors, and fix them or notify someone who can immediately.
- Use strong ladders to reach as opposed to standing on small stools or boxes.
- Stretch out bulging carpets to prevent trips and falls.
- Use the handrails while walking down stairs to prevent slipping or walking too fast.
- Repair broken light fixtures and replace bulbs for adequate visibility.
Always Stay Alert
Adopt a see it, sort it mentality. If younotice any situation that you think could present a slipping, tripping or falling hazard, act immediately to remedy it or notify your supervisor.You could be saving an unsuspecting victim serious pain.
Attractive Nuisance Dangers on Your Property - November 2017
It may surprise you that you are responsible for preventing
injuries to children sustained while they were trespassing on your property
that were caused by man-made conditions called “attractive nuisances.” These
might include features of buildings, walls or even man-made ditches. Property
managers and owners have the power to prevent entrance onto their property and
discourage young trespassers from getting hurt using fencing, illustrated signs
or other means.
If you have any reason to believe children might trespass
onto your property, treat the problem with the highest gravity. The real estate
and property management industries are especially at risk for attractive
nuisance hazard exposures because of the presence of vacant property, which is
much more difficult to monitor and protect. However, doing nothing to prevent
the entry or injury of trespassers creates a serious financial risk for your
As the owner of the property, you are responsible for taking
steps to assure that anyone who enters, whether welcome or unwelcome, stays
safe. While warning signs are an excellent start, many children may not be able
to read them, so it is important to find additional ways of protecting your
property. Ensure that gates are secured and fences are not easily climbed.
Adequately cover or protect any conditions, including pools, ditches, walls or
other man-made physical features that might present a hazard. This includes
covering pools to avoid accidental drowning, placing sturdy fencing around
hazardous areas and placing warning or “No Trespassing” signs. In addition, all
safety equipment should be stored and locked at the end of each shift to avoid
Property owners are also liable for maintenance and
security, making sure that the property remains safe for all visitors. This
includes the following:
- Fixing cracks or gaps in walkways
to avoid slip and fall dangers.
- Locking all hazardous tools,
equipment and chemicals away from the public.
- Hanging flood lights in areas with
- Hiring security guards for added
- Installing rescue equipment such
as ropes and poles.
- Installing alert devices, such as
flashing lights, sirens, alarms and telephones to alert security that someone
has trespassed onto the premises.
In attractive nuisance cases,
negligence means that the property owner was aware that someone could get hurt
on the property and did nothing to prevent it. If you take all necessary
precautions to protect individuals that are on your property, you are less
likely to be found negligent in a premise liability suit. For more assistance
in protecting your property, contact CMR Risk & Insurance Services, Inc.
Protect Your Intellectual Property - October 2017
Some of the most important assets in your business may be
your intellectual property. These are intangible assets, including patents,
trademarks and trade secrets. The U.S. government created these protections to
keep your intellectual property against infringement.
A patent is the legal protection granted by the federal government
to an inventor to encourage progress and prevent others from benefiting from
- What does patent protection provide?
Patent protection involves the right to exclude others from
making, using or selling anything that would fall under the claims of the
issued patent. The duration of the patent protection depends on the type of
- What factors are considered when determining whether
a patent has been infringed?
Determining whether a patent has been infringed entails the
court examining the claims of the patent and comparing them to the accused
device or process. This may be more complex in situations where the claims terms
are unclear or ambiguous. The court can determine that infringement exists even
if the accused device or process isn’t identical to the original. If the device
performs substantially the same function in largely the same way to produce
substantially identical results, it is likely that a court would find
- What are my rights if someone infringes my
You may file suit in a federal district court to enforce your
patent against an infringer. If you are successful, there are many possible
outcomes. Courts look to compensate the patent holder with damages for lost profits
and/or punitive damages for willful infringement.
A trademark serves to identify a single source for goods or
services, membership in an organization or approval from a quality assurance
program. It can be a product name, a brand, a slogan, a color and even a scent.
Federal law allows for the protection of trademarks.
- What does trademark protection provide?
The scope of the protection can vary widely depending on the
strength and fame of a mark. For instance, many brand names are famous marks
that are very strong. The length of time that a mark can be protected is
indefinite because it is based upon use, but federal registrations have an
initial term of 10 years. A mark may be renewed in successive 10-year increments
as long as the mark is still in use.
- What factors are considered when determining whether
a trademark has been infringed?
Whether a trademark has been infringed is most often dependent
upon whether a likelihood of confusion has been found. In determining whether
there is a likelihood of confusion, courts generally look at factors like the defendant’s
intent, similarity in marketing channels, the overall impression of the two
marks in question and the similarity of goods or services associated with the
- What are my rights if someone infringes my
federally registered trademark?
You have the right to bring an infringement action in a federal
district court. After a finding of infringement, the court determines the
appropriate remedies for the trademark holder. These can include an injunction
to stop the infringing or diluting use, damages to cover defendant’s profits or
losses sustained by plaintiff and punitive damages in cases of bad faith.
- Are there applicable state or common laws?
There are state registries for trademarks, with rights and registration
varying by state. Consult an attorney licensed in your state for specific state
requirements and benefits.
A trade secret is any proprietary information that serves as
advantage over competitors and is kept secret. It is broadly defined and can
range from a manufacturing process to software coding.
- What factors are considered when determining whether
a trade secret has been infringed?
The owner of the trade secret must prove that the alleged
confidential information provided a competitive advantage, the information was
maintained in secrecy and the information was improperly acquired or disclosed
by the defendant.
- What are my rights if someone infringes my trade
A lawsuit may be brought under federal or state law depending
upon the circumstances. Under the Economic Espionage Act, individuals can be
fined up to $500,000, and corporations can be fined up to $5,000,000 plus possible
jail time for trade secret infringement. Several states have also enacted laws
making it a crime to infringe upon or steal a trade secret.
- Are there applicable state or common laws?
Many states also have their own trade secret legislation which
should be considered when developing your policy.
Protect Your Business
Patents, trademarks and trade secrets may be integral parts
of your business. It is vital that you understand the laws associated with
these concepts to protect your intellectual property. You also need to ensure
that your behavior does not infringe on someone else’s intellectual property.
This piece is not exhaustive and should be read as an overview. For more
information, consult legal counsel.
Playground Liabilities and Safety - September 2017
Properties with playground facilities are a valuable amenity
for families with children. They give children a designated area to play,
allowing parents to feel that their children are somewhere safe. However, playgrounds
are commonly the site of many injuries, ranging in severity from minor to
serious. As a property manager, you need to balance providing a playground facility
that is safe and fun, while making sure to protect against the liability that
you’re exposed to by having a playground on your property.
Duty of Care
Some lawsuits related to playground injuries have centered
on negligence due to lack of proper supervision. While it is not practical to
expect a playground to be monitored every moment children are present, there is
an expectation of a reasonable level of adequate supervision. The duty to
provide safe play areas and proper supervision should be placed on those responsible
for operating playgrounds.
The duty of care owed by a playground operator is the degree
of care that a person of ordinary prudence charged with similar duties would
exercise in the same circumstances. A public or private landowner has a duty to
provide adequate supervision and to maintain the premises and playground
surfaces in a reasonably safe condition.
In play areas that are not regularly attended to by a designated
supervisor, signs should be posted to communicate common rules for the play
area, such as under what age a child must be accompanied by an adult, the hours
the playground is open and that glass bottles and alcoholic beverages are
Another important liability comes from dangerous or unsafe
play equipment. It's important for children to have age-appropriate gear to
play on so that they do not injure themselves on improperly sized equipment.
When designing a playground for children of all ages, equipment should ideally
be separated into three distinct groups: for children under age 2, for 2- to
5-year-olds, and for 5- to 12-year-olds.
Other safety considerations should be taken into account when
planning a playground:
- Items with moving parts, such as seesaws and swings,
should be located in a separate area and allow for ample space for the moving
- Minimize the number of spaces that could trap a child's
head, arms or legs. All openings, such as rungs on a ladder, should be either
smaller than 3.5 inches or larger than 9 inches.
- Wooden equipment should not be cracked or splintered.
Any cracked or splintered equipment requires immediate attention for repair or replacement.
- Any sandbox areas should be inspected regularly before
children use them. Be sure that these areas are covered every night to prevent
The selection of safe and age appropriate equipment is just
as important as the selection of a safe ground surface for the playground area.
Trips, slips and falls will happen and a safe ground surface can reduce the severity
of an injury or prevent an injury completely. Concrete, asphalt and blacktop
are all extremely hard surfaces and are generally considered unsafe for playground
areas. Woodchip ground cover is much softer, but debris hidden in the
woodchips, or the woodchips themselves, can cause falls and minor injuries.
Rubber mats offer the most stability, especially for younger children, and
allows for the easiest wheelchair access. Property managers and maintenance staff
should make sure the ground surface stays level and free of debris that could
cause children to trip and fall, such as rocks, tree stumps and tree roots.
Protecting Your Risk
Keep informed of the latest in playground safety developments.
One of the most authoritative playground safety standards is published by the
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in its Handbook for Public Playground
Safety. The handbook contains a wealth of information regarding playground
surface and equipment hazards. Any playground operator is generally expected to
be familiar with these standards, and many states now require that all public
playgrounds conform to them.
General liability insurance generally covers claim costs associated
with playground incidents, but having a playground facility does increase your
risk. Consult CMR Risk & Insurance Services, Inc. to make sure your coverage
is adequate and protects your risk sufficiently.
Wire Fraud in Real Estate - August 2017
No industry is exempt from cyber crime, and the real estate
industry has become a common target. As hackers devise plans to obtain
sensitive information about real estate transactions, real estate professionals
need to take particular interest in cyber security to protect their clients and
themselves from wire fraud.
In instances of wire fraud, a common ploy involves hackers breaking
into a real estate agent’s email account to obtain details about upcoming transactions.
Once the hackers have all the information they need, they send an email to the
buyer, pretending to be the agent or a representative of the title company.
In an email to the buyer, the hackers state that there has been a
change in the closing instructions and that the buyer needs to follow new wire
instructions listed in the email. If a buyer falls victim to the scam and wires
money to the fraudulent account, they’re unlikely to see the money again.
A potential indicator of wire fraud is an email that makes any
reference to a Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)
wire transfer, which is sent via the SWIFT international payment network and
indicates an overseas destination for the funds.
since the emails tend to include detailed information pertaining to the
transaction—due to the perpetrator having access to the agent’s email
account—many people make the mistake of assuming the email is from a legitimate source. The email addresses often appear to be
legitimate, either because the hacker has managed to create a fake email account
using the name of the real estate company or because they’ve hacked the agent’s
actual email account.
- Never send wire transfer information, or any type of
sensitive information, via email. This includes all types of financial
information, not just wire instructions.
- If you’re a real estate professional, inform
clients about your email and communication practices, and explain that you will
never expect them to send sensitive information via email.
wiring funds, first contact the recipient using a verified phone number to
confirm that the wiring information is accurate. The phone number should be obtained by a reliable source—email is not
one of them.
- If email is the only method available for
sending information about a transaction, make sure it is encrypted.
- Delete old emails regularly, as they may reveal information
that hackers can use.
- Change usernames and passwords on a regular
basis, and make sure that they’re difficult to guess.
- Make sure anti-virus technology is up to date,
and that firewalls are installed and working.
- Never open suspicious emails. If the email has already
been opened, never click on any links in the email, open any attachments or
reply to the email.
Take the following steps if you suspect that your email, or any type
of account, has been hacked:
- Immediately change all usernames and passwords
associated with any account that may have been compromised.
- Contact anyone who may have been exposed to the
attack so they too can change their usernames and passwords. Remind them to
avoid complying with any requests for financial information that come from an
- Report fraudulent activity to the FBI via the Internet
Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
Also contact the state or local realtor association, which will alert others to
the suspicious activity.
Contact CMR Risk & Insurance Services, Inc. today for
more information on avoiding real estate fraud and other types of cyber crime.
Vacant Property Insurance - July 2017
Owning a vacant building can pose serious liabilities because
vacant buildings are more susceptible to vandalism, undetected repairs, fire
and other losses. If you own vacant property, it is advisable to purchase
Vacant Property Insurance, also known as Vacant Building Insurance or Vacant
Dwelling Insurance, to protect against risks.
The following are the most prevalent risks to vacant
- Lightning damage
- Windstorm or hail damage
- Riot or civil commotion
- Sprinkler leakage
- Sinkhole collapse
- Vandalism (no one is
present to deter vandals)
- Malicious mischief on the
property and general property destruction
- Presence of squatters on
the property causing damage without owner knowledge
Under certain policies, Vacant Property Insurance can
provide protection if your building goes unoccupied for as little as four days.
It also protects against liabilities in the event someone is injured on your
property and sues for damages. In some cases, it is required when a property
owner dies and the property goes to an estate sale. It may also be a viable
option if the property is in the process of being sold or if it is under
construction and is uninhabitable.
In addition to purchasing coverage for a vacant building,
take the following actions:
- Regularly inspect it for
damage or threats of damage
- Seal off windows and
- Install alarm systems that
are triggered by intruders, fires or floods
A typical Vacant Property Insurance policy is one and a half
to three times the cost of a Property Insurance policy due to the increased
risks associated with owning an uninhabited building.
If your occupied property becomes vacant, it is imperative
that you notify CMR Risk & Insurance Services, Inc. immediately. If you
fail to give us adequate notice (in some cases, the required notice is 60 days
after it becomes vacant) and you suffer a loss, coverage may be denied.
We understand that unfavorable incidents can occur, but
Vacant Property Insurance can provide necessary protection. Contact us today
for more details.
Swimming Pool Liability for Condos and HOAs - June 2017
A private swimming pool run by a condo or homeowners’
association (HOA) can be a very attractive amenity to potential homebuyers.
However, while they can be popular with owners, pools create a number of
liabilities for the association that need to be addressed to avoid safety and
To retain the benefits that a pool brings to your
association, your board of directors will need to mitigate the risks of
operating a pool by instituting proper safety measures, supplemented by
adequate insurance coverage to protect the association from liability.
When evaluating the risk a pool poses, some potential
liabilities may be fairly obvious while others may not. Obvious risks are
drowning or slip and fall accidents, but don’t overlook items such as water
quality, chemical management and lifeguard staffing. Adequately identifying
your risks is essential to addressing them.
Your association’s board of directors should consider appointing
a pool committee that can take responsibility for reviewing, updating and
distributing pool rules. This process should begin with a review of all state
and local regulations involving pool operation to ensure compliance. The
committee should review the rules annually to make sure they are still
addressing liability concerns, plus conduct a thorough inspection of all
aspects of the pool facilities.
To avoid key areas of liability the committee should examine
the following aspects of the property’s pool:
- The pool area should be completely surrounded by a fence or
other structure that includes a gate or door with a locking mechanism meant to
prevent unauthorized access when the pool is closed.
- All rescue equipment including flotation devices, life hooks
and backboards are readily accessible in case of an emergency; there should
also be a first aid kit on hand.
- Chemicals should be kept in a cool, dry, well-ventilated and
secure area inaccessible by patrons.
- Chemicals should be monitored on a consistent basis with
recordkeeping completed in accordance with any state or local regulation.
- Hours of operation should not be taxing on the resources of
Pool rules should be posted clearly in the pool area, and
annually distributed to all residents.
Are you Covered?
Even if you take all the right precautions, it is important
to be prepared in the event of an accident. Check with CMR Risk & Insurance
Services, Inc. to verify if your association’s current liability coverage
addresses your pool risks. When talking to our team, also ask about any
stipulations a policy may have for coverage. If your pool is not up to
regulation, some policies may not pay out in the event of a claim, so it’s
important to know what is required of you.
Air Quality at Your Property - May 2017
The health of your property’s occupants can be jeopardized
by poor air quality, and it is your responsibility to provide a healthy indoor
environment, whether it is protecting against airborne infections like H1N1 or
pollutants from equipment. From mechanical problems like a faulty exhaust fan
to the measure of air volume exchanges, there are many factors that are easily
overlooked. An Indoor Air Quality Management Plan is a good way to ensure that
residents’ health is not endangered by the air in the building.
The plan you design must address the specific needs of each
space, and should never be limited to HVAC maintenance. The task should be
assigned to one person who is charged with identifying problem locations and
staff whose activities might affect the quality of the air.
Study the Exchange Rate
The air volume exchange rate is a factor that property
managers must consider. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air
Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends a minimum exchange of ten cubic feet
per minute per person in an indoor environment. This rate can be tested by a
certified engineer. If your rate is too high, you will be alerted to problems
like a faulty variable air volume box.
Take Steps to Improve Your Plan
Ensure that you will easily be able to update your plan for
any legislative or other changes that affect air quality. Follow these
guidelines for creating a plan that is appropriate to your situation:
- Consult the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’
National Association (SMACNA) for advice on the maintenance of air quality if
you renovate or add on to your property.
- Schedule routine maintenance of motors, fan belts and
filters with certified mechanics. Revisit everything every 90 days.
- Specify filter selection and maintenance. If the property
has mixed uses, each occupant should have a separate filter schedule:
o Specify which Minimum Efficiency Rating Value (MERV) is
necessary in the filter. The higher the number, the higher the filtration rate.
o In sensitive environments, use a high efficiency particulate
air (HEPA) filter.
- Design procedures for reacting to complaints by occupants,
including those regarding humidity or odors. Air quality professionals may be
able to analyze air samples to identify appropriate solutions, which might
include dehumidifiers or air scrubbers.
- Verify that all cleaning products comply with Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) standards.
Work With Occupants
Inform your occupants your air quality plan, and ask for their
help in maintaining good air quality. There are steps occupants can take to
improve air quality, including the following:
- Refraining from smoking within 25 feet of the building
- Using entryway cleaning systems, such as grills and mats, to
reduce the amount of dirt, dust and pollen that enters the building
- In sensitive environments, using ultra-violet lights to kill
bacteria circulating in the air
For more loss prevention tips, contact CMR Risk &
Insurance Services, Inc.. Our insurance specialists are available to help you
solve your property and casualty issues.
Vacant Property Insurance - April 2017
Owning a vacant building can pose serious
liabilities because vacant buildings are more susceptible to vandalism,
undetected repairs, fire and other losses. If you own vacant property, it is
advisable to purchase Vacant Property Insurance, also known as Vacant Building
Insurance or Vacant Dwelling Insurance, to protect against risks.
The following are the most prevalent risks to vacant properties:
- Lightning damage
- Windstorm or hail damage
- Riot or civil commotion damage
- Sprinkler leakage
- Sinkhole collapse
- Vandalism (no one is present to deter vandals)
- Malicious mischief on the property and general
- Presence of squatters on the property causing
damage without owner knowledge
certain policies, Vacant Property Insurance can provide protection if your
building goes unoccupied for as little as four days. It also protects against
liabilities in the event someone is injured on your property and sues for damages. In some cases, it is required when a property owner
dies and the property goes to an estate sale. It may also be a viable option if
the property is in the process of being sold or if it is under construction and
In addition to purchasing coverage for a vacant building, take
the following actions:
- Regularly inspect it for damage or threats of
- Seal off windows and letterboxes
- Install alarm systems that are triggered by
intruders, fires or floods
A typical Vacant Property Insurance policy is one and a half to
three times the cost of a Property Insurance policy due to the increased risks
associated with owning an uninhabited building.
If your occupied property becomes vacant, it is imperative that
you notify [B_Officialname] immediately. If you fail to give us adequate notice
(in some cases, the required notice is 60 days after it becomes vacant) and you
suffer a loss, coverage may be denied.
We understand that unfavorable incidents can occur, but Vacant
Property Insurance can provide necessary protection. Contact us today for more
Be Prepared for Unexpected Threats and Dangers - March 2017
As a property manager, you are responsible for the safety of
your tenants and the property itself. You need to be prepared for a host of
unforeseen dangers that threaten that safety, including criminal activity,
natural disasters and terrorist acts. Though these events may seem unlikely,
they could have catastrophic consequences so it is imperative that you prepare.
Without prior planning, you leave your company open to
financial disaster, especially if you are forced to evacuate or temporarily
close down your buildings. You also may face lawsuits for being negligent in
protecting your tenants.
One risk you need to be aware of and plan for is criminal
activity, including vandalism, break-ins, theft and violence. Though not all
security threats can be avoided, some situations can be prevented with
- Advise staff and residents to report any
suspicious persons or activity in or around the facility.
- Establish and follow visitor control procedures
when feasible. This may include assigned parking, sign-ins for use of public
areas, escorts for tours of the property, etc.
- Survey locks, fences, exterior lights and other
physical security devices to ensure that they are in place where needed and in
proper operating condition. Establish a monthly inspection of your security
perimeter and key protective features of your facility.
- Evaluate critical locations in your facility for
proper security, including the electric, telephone and gas units, building
entrances, transformers, outside storage units and computer rooms.
- Be sure each unit is equipped with appropriate
locks and security features, and instruct residents to let management know if
maintenance is needed or if their key is lost or stolen.
- If your facility has a security/fire alarm
system, be sure it is operating properly and that key personnel know how to
- Make sure that fire suppression systems are
regularly inspected and maintained. Also be sure that a sufficient number of
trusted personnel know how to activate, operate and shut them down.
- Closed-circuit television can serve as an
excellent crime deterrent, and when the system is equipped with a recorder it
can help solve crimes.
- Review your procedures for issuing facility keys
and access cards. Keep a list of all residents who have received keys (and how
many were issued per unit).
- Discuss security with your local police
department. Police departments are often very willing to provide information
and support, which may include regular patrols through your complex or past
- Have your local fire department conduct a
pre-planned visit to your building. While there, they can identify potential
hazards and plan fire suppression priorities.
Though a more unlikely risk, you should always be prepared
to use established strategies to mitigate the risk of disasters:
- Be sure to discuss terrorism and applicable
natural disaster coverage with your CMR Risk & Insurance Services, Inc.
- Keep copies of insurance policies and other
critical documents in a safe and accessible location (e.g. a fireproof safe).
- Evaluate which disasters are most likely to
occur in your area, remembering to include the possibility for terrorist
activity. Be sure you are prepared for all of the risks you identify.
- Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan. If you already
have one make sure that it is up-to-date. This entails preparing for anything
that disruption in essential systems, infrastructure or building functions.
- Have telephone call lists available (include
cell phone and pager numbers) for all key personnel so required staff members
can be contacted from any location in the event of a disaster.
- Establish a system to communicate with tenants
in the event of a disaster or other emergency situation. Educate tenants about
this system and other disaster response plans that they should be aware of,
including evacuation or building lock-down procedures.
- Consider establishing an alternate method for
your phone service if the switchboard becomes unusable (e.g. forwarding
incoming calls to a cell phone or remote number).
How to select a proper floor mat - February 2017
This reference note offers some simple guidelines on
selecting and installing the right matting system for the right purpose.
Tribology is the study of the interaction of sliding
surfaces. In slips and falls, tribology is associated with the following:
1. Friction between the shoe sole and the
2. Lubrication at the interface or
contaminate on the floor surface, such as water, grease or oil, particulate
soil etc., and
3. Wear of floor surface and shoe sole
material over time.
All three are important when assessing potential for slips
and falls, and all three are important when selecting interventions to prevent
slips and falls.
Mats are more than a place to wipe your shoes when entering
a building or to stand on when performing manual work tasks. When selected and
installed correctly, mats can reduce the likelihood of slips and falls and
reduce lower extremity and back discomfort.
When Do I Need a Mat?
Mats might be warranted when a pedestrian walking or working
surface does not meet slip resistance requirements, such as when moisture,
grease, oil, dirt or other contaminates are present. Examples include at
building entrances, grocery produce areas, around salad bars, water fountains,
sinks, restaurant kitchens, machinery process areas, near food counters, and
anywhere spills, water, dirt, grease, etc. is part of the environment. Some
mats have anti-fatigue properties that might be useful for areas where
employees stand in one place for a long period of time. Mats can also be used
as a temporary fix until floor surface repairs can be made if surface is
There are two types of matting systems; entrance mats or
“front of the house” mats and multi-purpose mats or “back of the house” mats.
Whether “front of the house” or “back of the house,” a strategy needs to be
employed to select the right mat for the right environment. Too often, little
thought is given to matting systems. It is easy to subcontract to a vendor the
selection, cleaning and replacement of loose-lay mats (see below) used at
entrances and back of the house. Mats that are dirty, worn and old offer little
slip prevention benefits.
Entrance matting improves overall floor maintenance by
scraping and absorbing soil particles and moisture from footwear to keep the
floor in a clean dry condition. Can an entrance mat system improve the
“tribology” of a floor? Yes, because mats remove moisture and particulate soil
from the shoe sole and heel, thereby, reducing likelihood of slips and
protecting the floor finish from unnecessary wear. It is estimated that 80% of
soil entering a building can be trapped within the first 15 feet on a carpeted
There are four types of entrance mats:
and grate system: Requires a structural commitment. This type of
mat funnels and drains moisture down and is a permanent fixture at
- Glue-down: Installed
at any time. The floor surface can be damaged by the adhesive. Some types
require a metal strip and rubber reducer that is screwed into the floor as
the finished edge. Replacement is time consuming.
- Recessed: Permanent
mats inserted into a well or recessed surface that become the finished
floor. The finished height of the mat should be at least flush with the
lip of the well and not represent a trip hazard.
- Loose-lay: Should
stay in place without the use of adhesives, frames, screws or duct tape.
Be aware of the type of backing. Guard against damage to underlying floor
surface as these mats may harbor mold and mildew. Air should circulate
through the mat.
Recessed and loose-lay entrance mats are the most common.
Surface selection depends on expected foot traffic and whether the mat is used
in winter or wet climates. The primary purpose of a mat is to remove moisture
and soil from the shoe. If an inferior mat is selected, it will wear quickly,
saturate with water quickly, and not perform as it should. More durable and
absorptive entrance mats cost more but they usually last longer and do the job
The depth of the mat is very important. The number of steps
required to effectively scrape and wipe feet depends on climate. As climate
improves, the demands on floor matting become less intense. In snow strategies,
a minimum of 10-12 walking steps is a good guide to the depth of floor mat
needed. Rain strategies can gauge about 8-10 steps and dry strategies require
about 6-8 steps.1 Mat depth “credit” is given for the following:
1. Overhangs (if any)
2. Outside mats (if any)
3. Vestibule mats (if any)
4. Walk-off mats inside the building
5. Type of flooring inside the building
A rule of safe practice is that footprints or water prints
should not be seen beyond the last entrance mat. See Figure 1.
If the walkway surface material inside the building can be
slippery when wet (i.e. polished and waxed vinyl composition tile, terrazzo,
polished granite/marble, glazed and smooth ceramic tiles etc.) and there
are no interior mats, or there are mats but by design and
installation they do not,
absorb moisture from footwear,
remove soils from footwear,
perform well because they are dirty... then entrance safety improvements
are needed — including selecting the right matting system.
may not perform well alone on wet, snowy days as they can saturate quickly;
therefore, an absorptive walk-off mat inside the building is needed. The
walking depth strategy would extend from the outside edge of the vestibule mat
to the inside edge of the walk-off mat. However, if there is an overhang, the
walking depth would include the overhang depth.
Back-of-the-house mats are multi-purpose mats that can
absorb liquids, elevate workers above standing water, provide a slip resistant
working or standing surface, and/or provide anti-fatigue properties.
Absorbing or retaining spills is common for mats used in
grocery produce areas, around water fountains and sinks, etc. When selecting
mats for this purpose, consider liquid absorption characteristics; containment
of spills and debris; and durability, such as grocery cart traffic and foot traffic.
Mats with slip-resistant surfaces are useful in standing
work areas where grease and oil are common, such as in restaurant kitchens,
manufacturing and food process areas. These mats have durable slip resistant
surfaces that are also easy to clean. When the surface is wet, some mats can be
more slippery than the surface they rest on. Test by kicking the wet mat and
then kick the adjacent floor surface to determine which is more slippery. Drawbacks
of mats are that some can interfere with wheeled equipment, and moisture and
debris can be tracked onto other areas if wrong mat is selected. It can be
difficult to practice “clean-as-you-go” when mats are in place.
Anti-fatigue mats are common at work areas where prolonged
standing work is performed, like retail cashiers, machine operators and packing
workers. Standing for long periods of time has been implicated in a number of
health issues, including lower extremity discomfort, pain and fatigue, and low
back discomfort. Research has shown that discomfort may be due to venous
pooling rather than muscle fatigue. Subject ratings of perceived fatigue from
various flooring and matting materials have been shown to be more helpful than
quantitative measures when evaluating the physical benefits of anti-fatigue
mats among alternatives.
Research has also shown material that is too soft can be
associated with increased lower extremity fatigue and discomfort, while harder
or stiffer surfaces were most often associated with low back discomfort. No
study has yet to recommend a specific material for anti-fatigue matting. When
selecting anti-fatigue matting, experiment with different types and be sure to
involve the worker in the final selection.
Use the following guidelines when selecting mats:
a mat design and surface material based on expected environment and
mats whose edges will not curl by design. These mats often have a beveled
edge or a flat edge to reduce tripping exposure. Mats more than ¼ inch
thick should have tapered edges to prevent tripping.
mats with non-slip backing that resists movement.
mats that guard against damage to underlying floor surface caused by mold
mats that are easy to clean. A mat’s weight, size and openings determine
how difficult or easy it will be to clean.
practical, a single larger mat should be used instead of multiple smaller
and runners should be laid out to avoid overlap or gaps between them and
to provide a continuous walkway path.
selecting anti-fatigue mats involve workers and offer options.
Use the following guidelines when using mats:
inspect mats for damage and excess wear, and replace as necessary.
mats or runners to prevent edges from curling.
- Do not
place mats or runners against objects that don’t allow the mat to lie flat
(e.g. against machinery and process areas, doors or furniture).
should receive scheduled cleanings, especially in environments exposed to
snow, ice and rain.