Preventing Stepwell Slips and Falls

Posted on November 1, 2001
I’m wondering if there’s a way to reduce the number of falls experienced by students exiting school buses. The rubber floor matting that is used has the ridges running in the direction of the way the person is walking. I understand that this is done to make it easier to clean the stepwell. However, there is very little contact with the surface of the sole of the shoe. When wet, it makes it easy for a person to slip and fall. I would think that a nose guard with a rough surface or some kind of grit could be mixed with the rubber to provide better traction. Gordon Schultz, vice president of transit sales for the RCA Rubber Co. in Akron, Ohio, responds: About four years ago, we developed an abrasive strip step tread that increases the coefficient of friction during wet conditions, helping to prevent slips and falls in the stepwell. This strip is approximately 21/2-inches wide. It’s available through all of the bus manufacturers as original equipment or it can be retrofitted on an existing fleet. You’re partially right about the direction of the ridges of the matting. It does help to facilitate cleaning of the stepwell. But it also improves drainage of water from the stepwell and shortens drying times. Contact: Gordon Schultz, RCA Rubber Co., (330) 784-1291. E-mail:
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