Maintaining a high level of hygiene – especially now – is a top priority but in a hospital or healthcare setting, it is critical.
In this blog, we look at how entrance matting supports health and hygiene and provide guidance for specifying entrance matting for a hospital or healthcare setting.
Unique Demands in Healthcare
Every person that enters your building deposits approximately 0.58g of soil from their footwear, wheels and walking sticks. This dirt contains germs and other contaminants that can affect the health of occupants. It can also cause slip hazards and damage your interiors.
With a consistent flow of foot and wheeled traffic, and strict hygiene considerations, hospitals and healthcare settings need a heavy-duty entrance matting system to tackle this influx.
Entrances are often in use 24 hours a day and subject to heavy footfall, including wheelchairs and trolleys. They are also usually quite open to the elements. These are all key factors that will inform your choice of entrance matting system and insert.
Getting the specification right is key to safety, hygiene and performance. A correctly specified entrance matting system will remove and retain moisture and contaminants and stop them from entering the building.
To ensure you specify the right system and combination of inserts, there are four key areas to consider in the context of your building:
1. Utilising a Zonal System
Wide, frequently open entrances and smooth hard flooring are a common feature in hospitals and healthcare. As such, we would recommend you consider specifying some form of zonal entrance matting system.
A full, three-stage zonal system comprises of an initial area of matting with rubber or brush inserts outside the building. This ‘zone 1’ matting is designed to remove coarse dirt and grit particles prior to entering the building.
A zone of heavy-duty primary matting is then fitted immediately inside the building to provide further dirt and moisture removal (Zone 2).
Finally, a close-fitted fibre product is installed beyond the primary matting to thoroughly remove any remaining moisture (Zone 3).
Where a full three-stage system is impractical such as within a care home or smaller facility, a similar effect can be achieved using two stages or even just a combination of inserts within the primary mat.
2. Size Matters
All hospitals and healthcare facilities should feature entrance matting that covers the full width of the entrance.
Ideally, the matting should also extend 5-8 metres in the direction of traffic. A longer length is especially important in larger establishments.
This is considerably more than the minimum lengths recommended by BS 7953 and the WELL standard for commercial buildings. This extra length is essential for performance, especially in a busy hospital setting.
3. System Construction
Matting should ideally be recessed in a mat well. You must also take care that the matting surface is level with the adjoining floor finish. This ensures your matting conforms to BS 8300-2:2018 Design of an accessible and inclusive built environment and the Disabled Discrimination Act 2004 (DDA compliance).
Alterative surface-mounted options are available that can be installed with a ramped edge trim, but this is not best practice and should only be considered in exceptional circumstances according to BS 8300-2:2018.
With a recessed mat, there is also the question of open or closed construction. With rigorous cleaning schedules and the highest hygiene standards to maintain, a closed construction mat is likely the most desirable for the end-user.
The closed construction ensures debris stays on the surface fibres of the mat where it is quick and easy to remove with any rotary vacuum. This avoids the need to regularly lift the matting and ensures vital entryways remain accessible.
4. Choice of Materials
In terms of materials, aluminium recessed matting is the ideal choice for its strength and durability, but more cost-effective PVC systems could also be considered.
Moisture absorption should also be a key consideration in your specification – particularly for facilities in the UK.
We recommend a polyamide fibre with a high number of tufts to provide maximum moisture absorption and retention.
INTRAlux Premier is a good insert option for healthcare installations. In addition to its class 33 wear rating and Bfl-S1 fire rating, the flecked design disguises soiling to maintain aesthetics.
Our INTRAform entrance matting system is an ideal solution for healthcare settings. The heavy-duty closed construction aluminium planks offer superb durability and can withstand heavy loads.
Our INTRAform DM entrance matting system offers the same closed construction and strength but with double-width inserts for superior moisture absorption.
We also offer low-profile options of both systems for shallow mat wells.
Both systems come with a 10-year warranty and are compatible with our full range of fibre and rubber inserts.
Having worked extensively with specifiers and contractors to provide high-performance entrance matting solutions for hospitals and healthcare facilities, INTRAsystems has an unrivalled understanding of the nuanced needs of this sector.
The systems we recommend are exceptionally durable to cope with high traffic flow. We combine these with inserts that provide effective soil and moisture removal.
We are also mindful of budget constraints in this sector. The INTRAsystems team can advise on cost-effective entrance matting solutions to balance strict budgets and high-performance requirements.