Accidents resulting from a slip, trip or fall occur each year in theatre shops. Artisans complain about leg and back fatigue from working on hard floor surfaces.  Providing appropriate walking and working surfaces helps to alleviate many of the hazards that are problematic.  Additionally, different processes require a different floor covering. What works in one part of the shop may be problematic in another. A tiled floor is easy to clean but when coated with a thin layer of sawdust makes for hazardous footing. 

Having a cushioned tiled floor underfoot in the clean room makes for easy clean up of loose thread, fabric trimmings, paper, etc.  It is also very forgiving on legs and feet for those artisans working in the space.  The smooth surface allows an easy sweep at the end of the workday, is easily maintained by janitorial and provides a light-reflecting surface.


In the “dirty” room it is common to find a wood and/or concrete floor.  Concrete floors can cause leg fatigue but are cost effective and safe for many of the processes found in a “dirty” room.  A wood floor provides the foot and leg comfort for the artisans and also provides a surface for nailing jigs in construction work.  Wood floors will deteriorate over time and need replacing especially in areas where foot traffic is high or if an area gets too rough or has raised areas/splintered surfaces.

Concrete floors are useful when doing metal work since they are flame/heat resistant but they should be sealed to prevent “dusting” and rubber mats provided near work areas where artisans may stand to prevent leg and back fatigue.  A shop may have a combination of surfaces to allow for the various processes to be accommodated or use a welding mat on a wood surfaced floor to protect against sparks.


The crafts room should have a floor that is easily cleaned and resistant to chemicals allowing for easy water clean up.  Floor drains are especially helpful in this area. Often times a rubber grid is placed over a concrete floor in this area providing comfortable leg support as well as providing a non-slip surface in the wet areas.  Grids with sloped edges highlighted in caution yellow helps prevent tripping.


OSHA has set minimum guidelines for walkway safety and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) has publications on provisions for walking/working surfaces.  This information is available through their websites or by writing directly to the organization.

U.S. Department of Labor

Occupational Safety & Health Administration                         OSHA WEBSITE

ANSI WEBSITE                                                              American National Standards Institute

                                               Click on a sub-topic to learn more:


                    Electrical               Water            Ventilation/ Dust            Work Flow


Click here to view sub-topics:


                    Electrical               Water            Ventilation/ Dust            Work Flow

Click to see next “chapter”: Health and Safety