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Does your entrance matting comply with Disability Discrimination Act requirements?

3M Europe : 01 March, 2005  (Company News)
With part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act now in force, all service providers whose premises have public access must take steps to overcome physical barriers of access to their premises to ensure that permanently or temporarily disabled people can enter, use and exit the building easily and safely without risk of slipping, tripping or falling.
Using the very latest technology, 3M has developed a range of high performance, fitted matting solutions that comply with the new DDA legislation for buildings with public access.

Although any structural amendments were legally required by October 2004, businesses and organisations may still find that unless their entrances include DDA compliant entrance matting, they may still be at risk of prosecution in the event of an injury. If non-DDA compliant entrance matting is found to be the cause of a slip, trip or fall, the Disability Rights Commission is committed to actively support any cases.

Simon Newington, 3M Product Manager for Matting Systems, advises, 'As a first principle all the primary entrances to office blocks, shops, leisure and transport facilities, public buildings and other public places of work or service should have the minimum recommended length of Scraper primary with Carpet style secondary matting. Dual fibre matting such as 3M Optima 9900 recessed-well matting and 3M Optima 8500 surface-mounted matting are designed to trap, hold and hide more dirt and moisture and give better performance in shorter distances than conventional products.'

According to British Standard 8300-2001, Section 9.1.3:

In public buildings, surface laid rugs and mats should not be used.
If they are used in exceptional circumstances, they should be securely fixed to the floor at their edges and any joints.
Deep pile carpets and coir matting on the surface of the floor or within a matwell should not be used.
At wheelchair turning points and other heavily used areas, carpet/matting should be fixed in place.

Simon continues, 'Fitted matting does not move underfoot and allows wheelchairs and people with disabilities to access the building easily. Efficient, fixed matting with the appropriate level of moisture and dirt retentive properties for the amount of pedestrian traffic that comes into the building can also dramatically reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls caused by dirty, wet floors. In addition to causing potential injury to employees and members of the public, a wet, slippery floor surface can be a financial burden in terms of cleaning costs, compensation claims and subsequent insurance premiums. Areas that do not pose a problem in dry conditions can become extremely high risk when wet, so in addition to entrances, consideration should be given to other areas of high foot traffic or places where liquid spills could occur.'

Providing good access matting that complies with the DDA legislation does not deter from.

creating an entrance that is imaginative, efficient and attractive. 3M's range of Optima 9900 recessed-well matting and Optima 8500 surface-mounted matting provides an attractive, cost-effective, durable entrance solution that keeps floor areas free from dirt and moisture and allows easy, safe access for people of all abilities.
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