Today’s restaurant owners tend to focus on marketing their eateries, improving their culinary offerings, and providing excellent customer service. Unfortunately, they also have to spend a great deal of time on complying with government regulations. And apparently, many owners of these businesses may have to familiarize themselves with additional federal rules regarding floor protection.
New ANSI Floor Protection Standards
Back in 2012, the American National Standards Institute B101 Committee on slip, trip and fall prevention revealed its latest update to safety standards as they pertain to flooring and food service businesses. These regulations were developed in conjunction with the National Floor Safety Institute. Among other things, the update mentions that food service establishments should have what they call a “matting strategy” in order to protect their floors.
Slip-And-Fall Accidents On the Rise in U.S.
The document is an effort to prevent slip-and-fall accidents in U.S. businesses where food and beverages are served. ANSI reveals that slip-and-fall accidents are increasing by about 10 percent each year, and that the food service industry is forced to spend around $2 billion annually because of these incidents. And a survey of over a thousand people indicated that about one in three would consider not patronizing an establishment where they knew someone had slipped and fallen.
Matting Strategy Zones
This “matting strategy” is made of multiple components. One of them involves dividing the physical space of food service businesses into “zones” and protecting the floors in each zone accordingly. These include:
Entrance zones: areas near all entrances into an eatery. Since 80% of the floor dirt comes form outside, proper entry mats should be placed in these locations.
High-traffic zones: places where the most people walk during a given day, from checkout counters and food display areas to spaces near the kitchen exit and timeclocks. Putting mats in these spots will reduce carpet wear and visible dirt.
High-risk zones: places where people are more likely to slip and fall, like near ice machines, drink dispensers, and prep sinks or dishwashing areas. Mats that trap water are the most effective in these areas.
Productivity zones: places where much of the food service work gets done, like near grills, ovens, prep tables, and stoves. Anti-fatigue mats are a good idea in order to keep workers fresh and productive.
Floor Protection Checklist
The ANSI standards also provide a “checklist” of tasks to maximize the protection of floors in general. These include:
- Clearing exterior walkways
- Protecting entryways and entry areas
- Protecting high-traffic and “transitional” areas
- Deep cleaning floor mats (and floors) periodically
- Increasing mat rotation frequency
- Focusing on “puddle zones” where water tends to accumulate
- Educating staff on the importance of floor protection
- Assigning an employee to oversee this effort
- Recognizing high-performing workers who excel in this area
Ultimate Mats Can Help
Ultimate Mats has an excellent selection of products which can help you achieve the goals of a focused matting strategy in your food service establishment. WaterHog mats trap a gallon and a half of water per square yard, making them ideal for high-risk zones. SuperScrape mats grab dirt and mud from the footwear of people walking through entrance zones. Tri Grip and ColorStar interior mats will help high-traffic zones remain clean and safe. And anti-fatigue mats in your productivity areas can improve employee efficiency and morale while reducing absenteeism due to fatigue or injury. Finally, most of Ultimate Mats’ products are certified to be slip-resistant by the National Floor Safety Institute – so you know they’ll do the job right.
For more information on how Ultimate Mats can aid you in your matting strategy, check out their Web site today!
Written by Chris Martin