Tis’ the season of slip-and-fall incidents.
Icy sidewalks, damp lobby floors and muddy, curled up rugs are all signs of winter at a hotel — and major safety hazards for guests and employees.
According to statistical data from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), slips, trips and falls cause 15 percent of all accidental deaths — second only to automobile accidents in the number of fatalities.
Amid snowy, cold winter days, the risk of injury rises — particularly as individuals compromise their secure footing and safety by hastily seeking shelter and warmth indoors.
However, with the right floor care solutions and a little more caution, the opportunity for slip-and-fall accidents can be significantly reduced.
One solution often taken for granted is floor mats, which come in all styles, sizes and shapes.
When used strategically, floor mats can help keep guests and employees safe, as well as elevate a hotel’s image, improve productivity and reduce housekeeping costs.
But, with so many options, selecting the right mat program may appear challenging and cumbersome.
There are three types of programs commonly offered by facility service providers:
2. Direct purchase
3. Custom installation.
It’s important to review the features and benefits of each in order to select the program that best meets the needs and requirements of your unique facility.
In order to help hoteliers select the optimal matting solution for their property, a summary of the different types of programs follows below:
For high-traffic areas within a hotel or hotels in locations particularly prone to dust or bad weather, a mat rental program is an easy, cost-efficient way to help protect guests and employees, reduce overhead costs and improve cleanliness.
No upfront costs are necessary, which makes a rental program easy to transition into from a budget perspective.
In addition, the mat rental provider replaces dirty mats with professionally laundered and sanitized mats on a routine basis.
If any of the mats become damaged due to normal wear and tear, repairs and replacements are made at no additional cost to the hotel.
In addition to keeping entryways looking their best, the service helps ensure that mats continually capture contaminants and moisture before guests track it through the hotel.
For additional peace of mind, hoteliers should check to see if the mats offered by their rental provider are certified by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) as providing high traction.
In many cases, when hotels have large lobbies, dramatic entryways or long hallways, a direct mat purchase program makes sense.
Purchase programs offer a larger number of options relative to size, color and types than do rental programs.
For luxury hotels with one-of-a-kind interior design, this expanded offering helps hoteliers match their mats with the property’s décor.
Sometimes, a little more is needed to create the perfect mat system for guests and employees.
Hoteliers often need custom mats inside and outside lobby entrances, revolving doors and recessed and obstructed areas.
Select mat providers will customize and install mats to fit any size or shape required for a specific hotel’s requirements.
Popular styles include revolving door cutouts, angle cuts and large lobby mats.
In addition, mats can be designed to lay loose with edging or permanently installed with glue for extra precaution.
For many hotels, the ideal mat program will include a mix of rental, purchase and custom mats.
Once a mat program has been selected, it’s important for hoteliers to work with their supplier to identify areas of their property where employees and guests are most likely to track in dirt or take a tumble.
These locations typically include entrances and vestibules, high-risk zones like restrooms, exercise rooms, pool/spa areas and bars and high-traffic areas like hallways, check-in counters, elevator and stair landings, etc.
Once these locations have been identified, hotels can work with their floor mat provider to select mats that maximize safety and cleanliness for each space.
For example, mats equipped with gripper backs, beveled edges and rubber bases are ideal for entrances and restrooms while mats with anti-fatigue properties and non-slip, no-trip surfaces are great for valet, bell stand, front desk and kitchen areas.
According to the 2011 Edition of the Injury Facts report from the National Safety Council, each year there are nine million disabling slip-and-fall incidents, averaging $20,953 per claim.
Floor mats play a key role in helping hoteliers protect their staffs, guests and bottom line from these tragic and costly accidents by keeping floors clean and dry.
By taking the time to review their mat programs or put a comprehensive program in place, hoteliers can enjoy increased cleanliness and peace of mind this winter season and beyond.