Our industry (as many others) finds itself facing more and more regulations each and every year. Whether they be for environmental reasons, labor related, or from state and local governments, you can guarantee there will be a cost associated with them. These costs will either be absorbed by your business or passed along somehow to the end user. Today, we have more regulations facing us; this time regarding floor safety. The good news (if we choose) is, these regulations can benefit your “bottom line”. By providing the proper training to our sales and service associates, we can lead our industry in providing the safest floor matting products to our customers, assuring them that they will be meeting those very regulations placed upon us! By showing our customer’s the value of properly placed floor mats, serviced by highly trained and qualified route service personnel, they will be helping protect us (and our customers) against the many frivolous lawsuits businesses have become so familiar with. Many White Papers have been published on this subject by insurance companies who know that proper entrance floor matting is essential in reducing and eliminating slips, trips, and falls for their insured. Providing safe floor mats will prove to be the best insurance policy for any business who chooses to do business with our industry. Providing the highest quality of product, placed by trained route service professionals, who provide the final inspection and assure our customers that their mats are compliant, meeting the highest “standard of care” set forth by our industry, only increases your net worth to your customer/prospect. Delivering value is what our business is all about.
Founded in 1997, the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) started with a mission to aid in the prevention of slips, trips-and-falls through education, research, and standards development. The “B101.6-2012 Standard Guide for Commercial Entrance Matting in Reducing Slips, Trips and Falls”, which sets the standard for the proper selection, inspection, backing and sufficiency of commercial entrance matting” has been accepted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and has been added to the many voluntary standards that businesses follow. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has also decided to adopt these standards in their inspections of businesses.
With the upcoming changes OSHA has proposed in Subpart D of 29CFR part 1910, Walking and Working Surfaces, this will require that only a “Qualified Person be permitted to inspect, maintain or repair walking and working surfaces…”, teaching our sales and service representatives the basics of these new rules and showing our customers we are on top of them, can only bring our already strong relationships to the next level. If your RSR does not currently know those H/R, Safety, and Risk Managers in those accounts that have those positions, you need to consider a plan to overcome this deficiency immediately.
A number of years ago, manufacturers of mats took a bold step, providing their products to the NFSI for certification under NFSI 101-C test method for measuring dry TCOF (Transitional Coefficient of Friction) of floor mat backing materials. Mat service providers recently took another step and commissioned additional testing of mats (new vs. in-service) to prove our commitment to provide the safest product exceeding our customer’s expectations. The results of these tests have proven to be extremely valuable in establishing our expertise to the legal and insurance industries alike showing the need for floor mats in all types of environments.
Independent mat service providers need to review the B101.6-2012 Standard and OSHA’s proposed rules and implement training for all sales and service personnel. Customers will want to partner with companies who deliver value and offer services that can protect them as well as their employees and customers alike from any injury claims. Every sales and service representative should know and understand the importance of weight, backing, and coverage that each customer needs. Educating your customer on their individual needs should strengthen our relationships bringing the returns on the investment in training and rewarding the bottom line!
Fred Anderson is the V.P. of Operations for Pilgrim Dust Control, Inc. He has 38 years of textile rental industry experience in facility services, healthcare, uniform, and hospitality services. He is an ANSI Accredited Walkway Auditor Certificate Holder and OSHA Outreach Trainer in Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry. He is also an Expert Witness for slip trip, and falls, and has provided assistance to independent textile rental companies.