Do’s and Don’ts of Non-Slip Flooring in the Recreation Industry
The New Year brings new resolutions for many of us. Two of the most common resolutions Americans make year after year, 2018 included, are to get more exercise and take up a new hobby. Many times that means people head to the gym to kick start their way to feeling better or head to a sporting arena to take up a new hobby and meet their new goals. Luckily when it comes to both the gym and sporting arenas, you generally don’t have to go far in to find one. In 2017, the United States boasted well over 38,000 gyms and tens of thousands of stadiums and arenas are located in North America. Most people hitting up the gym or catching a game of baseball, especially newer participants, don’t spend a lot of time thinking about safety or even more so, how they should prevent slipping and falling while there. However, like a fitness center owner or stadium manager, considering the safety of members and guests is at the top of the list. Unfortunately, slippery flooring or tripping hazards within the recreation industry is a top cause of injury. The good news is, by taking slips and falls into consideration and putting together a proactive approach when planning, you can easily help prevent these accidents.
A proactive approach starts with taking an assessment of your facilities layout and can end with updating or adding non-slip flooring products. Throughout the fitness center, stadium or rec center you may find one non-slip flooring product is better suited than another. Perhaps you are thinking of using the space for double duty— preventing slips and advertising. So what are the do’s, don’ts and considerations you should take when choosing the correct non-slip flooring in the recreation industry?
- Do Assess Your Fitness Center or Sporting Arena: Before you start researching products, you will want to walk the entire facility and make note of areas that are causing problems or have the potential to create a slip and fall hazard. Having several employees join you during the assessment is a great idea, as they are the ones on the ground daily and can advise on the best places to add or update non-slip flooring. For example, they might be able to direct you to certain areas that should have non-skid fitness equipment tape added, tell you what treadmills get heavy usage and where treadmill grip tape would be needed, or if certain stair needs non-slip treads to make them less of a tripping hazard.
- Do Decide Product Longevity: In some cases, you might be looking for a permanent non-slip flooring solution or perhaps non-slip tapes or non-skid graphic media would be preferred. In either case, don’t skimp on the durability of the flooring product. Make sure it can withstand high traffic and cleanings (especially in a gym setting).
- Don’t Forget To Consider Odor: In a fitness center or sporting arena, the last thing you want is your patrons struggling to breathe because the smell of your flooring is overpowering. Many times the odor is overlooked, which is why asking your supplier for a sample beforehand is important. If you decide to go with a product that has an initial odor, at least you will be able to plan to close off that area beforehand and not have any surprises.
- Do Understand Your Options: Once you decide the locations that need to be non-slip and if you want a permanent or semi-permanent product, you can then start to educate yourself on the options. Both Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have recommendations when it comes to the coefficient of friction (COF) of a non-slip flooring product. You will want to make sure the option you decide on meets their standards. Also, ask your supplier for samples of the products for the flooring you have in mind to ensure it meets your own standards.
- Don’t Discount the Texture. Not all non-slip feels the same. Depending on the amount of traction the area gets you will want to choose a non-slip product that meets those requirements. For example, stairs at a stadium might get frequently wet from spilled beverages, snow on shoes and seeing a lot of foot traffic. Choosing a surface that has a medium to high amount of traction is very important for an environment such as this so that it stays non-slip even if covered in liquid. What does every single gymnasium have in common? They are all equipped with treadmills. What do all people who use treadmills have in common? They will sweat and possibly drink water while using the treadmill. Sweat and water can make treadmills slippery, which means the person using it could have an accident should he or she lose traction. The use of Jessup’s safety track tapes and tread on the platform/deck will neutralize the potential occurrence of a slip and fall induced by the user’s sweat and water from a water bottle.
- Do Have Fun with It. Non-slip flooring doesn’t have to be boring! Consider adding non-slip graphic media to your space. Using a non-slip graphic media means you can create floor art for your guests. This could include branding, wayfinding or just some fun, inspirational or eye-catching graphics that double as non-slip flooring. Placing non-slip graphics directly on the field grounds or throughout the stadium floors can be engaging and informative. Anti-skid surfaces will also help ensure patrons don’t slip and fall.
Top offenders in stadiums and gyms that frequently get cited for trip, slip and fall accidents might include:
Any location water is present. This includes restrooms, food and beverage areas, and outdoor areas, near water features like fountains or pools. Pool usage has been on the uptick, so keep that in mind if your gym or sporting arena has one. In fact, people will be swimming more than 300 million times in pools and other swimming areas this year alone. In order to provide a safer pool environment, ensure you have checked all your non-slip adhesives to prevent slips. Specifically, pool decks, stairs, diving boards and underwater ledges which can be top offenders should have a non-slip material on them. If your pool is zero entry, it should already be made of a slip-resistant material per regulation.
- Where items are placed on the floor. Consider areas where items like bags, free weights or other articles could be on the floor and consider adding signage to remind guests to be extra aware of the tripping potential. Gym locker rooms are top offenders with tripping hazards like gym bags, accessories or towels. Try adding a yellow visual marking tape to mark the area as a potential hazard.
- High traffic areas. The more people are moving through, the higher the risk for a fall. Keep high traffic areas top of mind when assessing your facility and plan on updating or adding non-slip flooring options. Consider installing handrails, adding wayfinding to help the flow of traffic move with ease and for high traffic stairs make sure stair safety treads are in place.
- Outdoor spaces. Protect guests from the elements with slip-resistant tapes and treads. Keep deicer handy for the cold weather and add warning signs to wet areas. Consider using outdoor floor graphics which can be fun, engaging, and even informative. The right outdoor floor graphics will help ensure that pedestrians don’t slip and fall if using a slip-resistant media.
According to the National Safety Council about 9.2 million people were treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries in 2016. While mistakes and accidents are bound to happen in the recreation industry, it is important to protect your visitors in all the ways within your control. By choosing the correct non-slip flooring product for your fitness center, sporting arena or gym, you can help eliminate the chance of having a slip and fall accident occur on your property. Taking the time to understand the do’s and don’ts of non-slip flooring options and choosing the best products and best practices for your space will help everyone have more fun and be safe. Contact a Jessup team member to discuss your location and we can help recommend options to fit your requirements.