Many of the most attractive floors are smooth and glossy, and over 99 percent of those are slippery when wet although they often have excellent slip resistance when dry. When they’re near an outside door special care is needed to keep them dry to prevent slip accidents. Here’s how.
1. Have an overhang outside so that shoe bottoms don’t get wet when stepping out of a car in front of the door, or so that they can dry off while walking under cover from the parking structure to the door.
2. Keep clean mats in place to clean and dry shoe bottoms before they hit your slippery floor. If snow, ice and/or mud are issues, an abrasive mat should be outside to clean these substances off before entering the building. Inside, there need to be at least 12 feet of absorbent matting to dry the shoes. At home, you probably stop to clean off your shoes at the door, but in a commercial building people just walk straight in. If thousands are walking into an office building (for instance) in the morning, you need enough length matting to dry the shoes after lots of water has already been tracked in.
Don’t expect everyone to walk in laser-straight in on your straight and narrow mat. The mat needs to be wide enough for those who veer off in another direction to go to their elevator or other destination inside. If that’s not feasible, use velvet ropes on both sides to keep folks on the mat.
3. Now that the shoes are dry, there’s still the matter of dripping wet umbrellas. Have an umbrella bag stand with plastic bags in place at the entrance so people can stow their umbrellas while they continue on their way. These stands are available online from many vendors.
4. After the umbrellas have been stowed, there are the dripping raincoats, hats, briefcases, strollers, suitcases, etc. to consider. Have someone with a dry, oil-free dust mop periodically clean up any water that gets past the mats. Most dust mops when they’re new contain oil to help capture the dust! This oil must be laundered off before the dust mop is used on a smooth, glossy floor — a lubricant is not what you want on that floor. If you have a battery-driven wet vac, that’s even better than a dust mop and can dry large areas. Make sure its squeegee is in good condition.
5. Ensure regular surveillance to clean up promptly any spills. The frequency of inspections depends on what’s in and around the area, e.g. a bar, coffee bar, lemonade urn, food court, etc.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because no one slips on your beautiful, expensive flooring when it’s dry, that that means it’s not slippery when wet. The truth is often quite the opposite.
When planning a new building or renovation, specify flooring with a floor slip resistance test, preferably the Sustainable Slip Resistance test (as defined by McDonalds Restaurants for customer areas in new stores), so you don’t need to worry nearly as much about slips when there’s liquid around. If your existing floor is still too risky after you’ve implemented the five steps above, have Safety Direct America treat it with the Non-Slip 21 process to improve the wet slip resistance.