Entrances Safeguards to Control Slips, Trips and Falls

The safest approach may be to ensure the floor areas inside and outside the entrance are slip resistant when wet

In wet conditions, wet footprints beyond an entrance mat indicate it is not preventing moisture entering the building

Transition Areas

  • Monitor for rain/snow and relevant weather warnings such as Met Éireann
    • Some weather Apps have automatic weather warnings, e.g. “90% chance of rain in the next 15 minutes at your location
  • During rain/ snow
    • Increased monitoring may be required
    • Check for wet footprints or tyre tracks beyond floor matting
    • Take precautions to remove moisture from footwear and the tyres of wheeled vehicles, e.g. baby carriages, shopping trollies, wheelchairs
    • Deal with moisture brought in on wet clothes, umbrellas, etc. Some workplaces provide umbrella stands or umbrella bags
  • Actions to increase visibility of a fluid on a floor include increasing ambient lighting, especially around entrances
  • Provide heating - to assist floor or mat drying
  • Canopies and lobbies at external entrances may help
  • Remember that safety signs do not substitute for necessary protective measures
  • Level changes and steps/stairs at entrances can pose additional risks
  • Mats can be dangerous and must be controlled

Location of Entrance Matting*

  • Extension – it should extend into the building far enough so that it comes into contact with wheels and footwear for long enough to remove any moisture or soiling. Visual checks can be carried out for wet footprints or tyre tracks after the matting to assess if it is successful 
  • Commencement – the mat should be the first surface that is contacted when entering a building – it should start immediately at the threshold
  • Barrier – matting should be located that it forms a barrier between outside and inside that pedestrians must pass over
  • Height – matting should be recessed where necessary to remove any trip hazard
  • Security – matting should be secured in place
  • Drainage – drainage should be provided as needed, e.g. a drain prior to the mat to reduce any moisture blown into the building
  • Location – the mat must be on the route that people actually use - not the route(s) that they are supposed to use

Physical Properties of Entrance Matting*

Wet footprints after recessed entrance mat
  • Abrasion - mats should be abrasive enough to physically remove moisture or other material but no so abrasive that they could catch the soles of footwear. “Limited research suggests that natural fibre materials are the most effective (at removing water from shoes), but further work is required.” Safer surfaces to walk on (CIRIA C652) (254 pages, 22MB pdf). In terms of likely contamination, consider the need for wiping and/or scraping of the soles of footwear
  • Absorption - mats should be absorbent enough to soak-up and retain the moisture they will be exposed to. Consider how to dry and/or drain mats
  • Dryability – mats should dry as quickly as possible
  • Flat - scrapers/strips included in matting should not be so high that they prevent traffic contacting the absorbent material 
  • Durability – the mat should be reasonably durable and be capable of dealing with expected pedestrian traffic including heels and wheels. Mats should be resistant to mould, fungus and bacteria
  • Density - soft matting can be difficult in a wheelchair as it compresses. It can also be a trip hazard to others using walking sticks or frames
  • Colour – visual contrast should be considered
  • Signage – many mats can be printed with specific messages. Consider the possibility of using mats to relay important safety information
  • Cleanability – mats should be capable of being kept reasonably clean using equipment that’s readily available
  • Scrapers – if an entrance matting system incorporates scrapers/ scraping strips, such as aluminium or plastic, consider if this suggested scraping effect is required for the expected footwear soiling
  • Edging – where entrance matting is not recessed into a mat-well, ensure that the edging does not provide a trip hazard. Edging may be bevelled (for access of wheeled traffic), weighted (to prevent lifting) and brightly coloured (to act as a visual prompt)
  • Slip-resistance – mats should be slip-resistant when wet

Maintenance and Monitoring of Entrance Matting*

Wet footprints after mat

  • Instructions – instructions should be available on the use and maintenance of entrance matting
  • Monitoring - to assess the effectiveness of entrance matting, the floor surface should be checked in wet conditions for wet footprints or tyre tracks beyond the matting
  • Spares – consider the need for availability of a reasonable supply of spare mat(s), should the mat in use become ineffective
  • Replacement – mats should be replaced when they are no longer effective

*These lists are non-exhaustive and items are listed in no particular order