Schools, colleges, and even daycare centers are more than just educational facilities. They’re multifunctional buildings used by people of all ages and ability levels. They must adhere to the latest public health measures and be made easily and safely accessible to everyone, regardless of weather conditions or situation.
The vehicles used by these facilities, like school and charter buses, act as extensions of the buildings themselves and must meet the same criteria.
Luckily, there’s a wide range of anti-slip products available that can add functionality, compliance, and safety to every facility or vehicle.
Must-Have Anti-Slip Products That Help Ensure School Safety
Ladder Rung Covers
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard for fixed ladders states, “The rungs and steps of fixed metal ladders manufactured after March 15, 1991, shall be corrugated, knurled, dimpled, coated with skid-resistant material, or otherwise treated to minimized slipping.”
Long-lasting, pultruded fiberglass (FRP) ladder rung covers that come in multiple shapes, sizes, grades, and colors will ensure your facility’s fixed metal ladders (that are typically used for rooftop access or in boiler rooms) exceed this OSHA requirement.
Anti-Slip Products for Ramps and Other ADA-Accessible Surfaces
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations require that all accessible surfaces be slip resistant to minimize slip-and-fall hazards.
There are many different anti-slip products that can be customized to help schools and other educational facilities meet these requirements. Determining which product to choose all depends on the surface’s material and the specific application.
However, ramps pose a particular challenge because they can be slippery, regardless of whether they’re made out of concrete, aluminum, or wood. High-traction geomembranes and anti-slip walkway covers are great solutions no matter the ramp’s surface material.
Anti-slip products can be customized to reduce cost when used on ramps (and in any other situation). For example, if you have a plywood ramp, you may choose to apply full-coverage, seamless sheets. If the ramp’s constructed using wooden planks, a better option would be to apply strips of anti-slip material to each plank. Adding strips would allow for water and debris to flow through the boards, which helps to delay the build-up of ice and allows the boards to naturally expand and contract as temperatures fluctuate.
To reduce material costs, strips can also be applied in a heal-and-toe pattern (i.e., spaced to ensure heels and toes hit the gritted strips) to any ADA-accessible surface.
Identify Slip-and-Fall Hotspots
All school buildings and educational facilities will have high-traffic or slippery-surface areas that are more prone to slip-and-fall injuries and accidents.
While you could always hire an anti-slip expert to walk through your facility and identify these hotspots for you, there are some key areas you can proactively focus on in your efforts to prevent slip-and-fall accidents.
Many schools and educational facilities have hard surfaces like tile, terrazzo, or marble in their entryways. These materials have low coefficients of friction to begin with. When moisture and salt pellets are brought in from foot traffic, slip-and-fall accidents are inevitable.
Anti-slip walkway covers are highly recommended for these areas because they can resist heavy foot traffic, salt, and exposure to the elements for an extended period of time.
You can even choose to avoid salt, snow, and ice altogether by installing heated walkway and step covers — which will not only help you prevent slips and falls but also the corrosion and damage that happens to other parts of your property as a result of salt exposure.
Locker Rooms and Sports Events
Whether the intent is to protect athletes, prevent fans from slipping and falling, show off your school’s colors and logo, or all of the above, anti-slip products enhance school sporting event experiences while increasing safety.
Their uses at sporting events are wide ranging. Swim meets can be made safer with anti-slip walkway covers installed near pools or even on the swimmers’ starting blocks. Any sporting event with spectators in bleachers will see fewer slips and falls when anti-slip step covers are installed. And every event that takes place in a gymnasium or on a hard surface can be made safer with strategically placed anti-slip walkways and high-traction geomembranes.
Locker rooms can be particularly unsafe if the proper anti-slip measures aren’t taken. Anti-slip walkways can be applied in a number of ways to prevent slips and falls. They can be installed where the anti-slip material is continuous (i.e., in sheets). Or, to reduce material costs, products can be applied in strips with three-inch spaces, or in the shape of footprints (or even mascot pawprints). An added benefit of installing anti-slip walkways in locker rooms is the clear pathways they create that show students how to navigate the space, which will further reduce accidents.
School kitchens have heavily trafficked areas that can become covered in liquids, solids, or slurries. For this reason, modular anti-slip mats can be installed to prevent slips and allow debris to pass through them. These mats can be used to create large walkways that are custom to your kitchen, as they’re assembled to fit together like interlocking puzzle pieces and can be quickly taken apart and reconfigured should needs change. Each individual mat can be as large as 4′ x 6′.
Mats are perfect for preventing slips in condensation-prone freezers. Condensation prevents anti-slip products from being adhered to surfaces, and mats remain solidly in place without adhesives.
Additionally, your kitchen workers who spend long hours on their feet will benefit from the ergonomic cushioning provided by anti-slip mats.
School buses are manufactured with rubber floor surfaces, which cause two safety concerns that school districts need to keep in mind:
- The rubber doesn’t maintain a coefficient of friction when it’s wet or when exposed to grease or oil. This creates a substantial slip-and-fall hazard.
- Over time, this rubber will wear, and many times the metal substrate underneath will become exposed. This is not only a slip-and-fall-hazard, but it’s a cutting hazard as well.
These two safety concerns most commonly appear on the front steps of school buses, which is why anti-slip step covers are a great retrofit for any school bus. They not only prevent slips and any resulting lawsuits, but they provide corrosion resistance that protects the bus floor’s metal substrate. They can also be installed in ways to meet your budget — if the steps aren’t entirely covered, only the leading edge of each step (where most slips occur) can be covered to conserve materials and reduce cost.
(Tip: To ensure your anti-slip retrofitted product is inline with state regulations, check your state’s school bus construction standards and contact an anti-slip expert like Safeguard or your state highway patrol with any questions.)
Many high schools and colleges have science labs with cables and gas and water lines running through them. Anti-slip pipe and cable covers are perfect for preventing slips and trips in these situations.
In addition to adding anti-slip step covers to the entire staircase or to the leading edges of each stair, anti-slip landing covers will add additional protection and coverage to stair landings, especially if they’re covered in a material, like tile, with a low coefficient of friction.
Cafeterias and Lunchrooms
Anti-slip walkways and high-traction geomembranes will reduce the number of slips and falls in these areas. Additionally, both products are thin enough to not become tripping hazards.
Anti-Slip Products With Custom, Directional, or Safety Messaging
Almost any anti-slip product can be manufactured to include directional or safety messaging to call out things like where visitors should enter and exit and what safety protocols to follow in a particular area of a building. Similarly, products can be covered with arrows to communicate traffic flows or to keep people socially distanced.
Schools can also have fun with customization and add educational fundamentals, like multiplication tables, to heavily trafficked anti-slip walkways to keep important lessons top-of-mind for students.
Customizations and Budget Considerations
Schools and educational facilities are so unique and their functions so diverse that many slip-and-fall hotspots will be building specific. Budgets will also vary from situation to situation.
The good news is, there are anti-slip solutions for any situation or budget.
For example, if a top-of-the-line product doesn’t fit within your budget, there are always more cost-effective options available. If you don’t want to forgo product durability, installation techniques can be modified (e.g., adhering instead of drilling), and the amount of anti-slip material used can be reduced without reducing effectiveness. If the anti-slip solution is only needed seasonally (e.g., for a summer program), you may simply choose to have the anti-slip product rolled out and not permanently installed.
In short, anti-slip products can always be customized and meet your exact end-use and environment.
Ready to Reduce Slip-and-Fall Accidents Next School Season?
If you’re looking for an effective way to reduce costly accidents and ensure the safety of teachers, students, and anyone else who visits your educational facility, it’s time to consider working with a leading manufacturer of customizable anti-slip products.
At Safeguard Technology, we understand the wide range of challenges faced by all types of facilities, from daycare centers to K–12 schools to college campuses. We know that helping you overcome these challenges requires adapting to the unique environments of buildings and your budget.