Research shows carpet benefits in user comfort and safety and acoustical performance in Schools. Carpet scores high on health and safety, acoustics and comfort, and environmental benefits.
An article in the March 2011 edition of the business journal, Commercial Building Products, which serves architects, contractors and building owners in the commercial building market, gives a comprehensive accounting of carpet as a flooring option for schools. The article is written by Keith Gray, director of technical marketing for the Mohawk Group, a Carpet and Rug Institute member manufacturer that represents the Karastan, Lees, Bigelow, and Durkan brands of commercial carpet.

Titled, “These Factors Drive School Carpet Success,” the article describes how “carpet is a better choice for schools than most commonly used flooring materials.” Among the factors that make it the preferred choice, the article lists sustainability, health concerns, safety issues, ergonomic considerations, and acoustic performance. The previous post in this series, Carpet, Great Flooring Choice for Schools, addressed carpet’s environmental performance and health benefits in a school environment, including new research that shows carpet no more likely to transfer bacteria than hard surface floors.

Today’s post is about carpet’s comfort and safety at school – first, student safety from slip and fall accidents. According to the article, a Michigan State University at Lansing study found that 43% of non-playground accidents at U.S. schools are the result of trip-and-fall accidents which cost an estimated $20 billion dollars per year for medical treatment, plus increasing absenteeism and liability costs.

“Studies indicate that falls are less likely to occur on carpet than on hard surfaces, especially under wet conditions that are often associated with falls. Also, when falls do occur, the likelihood of a serious injury may be lessened because of the potential for some types of carpet to disperse the energy of impact.

“…foot injuries contribute to 15% to 20% of all work-related disabling injuries for teachers. Surveys show that a majority of teachers prefer a carpeted floor, and little wonder. By one estimate, teachers stand as much as 75% of the school day. Tests by an independent laboratory have shown that carpet construction, with and without attached cushion, can have anti-fatigue properties.”

Lastly, on acoustics, the article says;

• carpeted classrooms facilitate better speech recognition, which improves student performance
• carpet’s ability to mute background noise can reduce vocal strain and mental fatigue in teachers. Because they do not have to speak loudly to be understood.
• carpet has been shown to be most effective at tuning out reverberations associated with loud, sharp, high-frequency sounds, which can result in lapses in concentration and interruption of the learning process