Flooring That Can Help Kick Injuries Into Touch
Mark Burton on slip and trip accidents
THE most common cause of major injuries in the workplace are slips and trips, which are estimated to cost employers around £512m a year through lost production and other expenses.
Whilst such accidents can happen almost anywhere, certain commercial areas are particularly susceptible to slippery surfaces, creating a higher risk of slips and falls.
Reasons for this can include the type of flooring installed or the surface treatment used to enhance cleanability, but the presence of liquid on the surface is the most common factor.
This can mean a fluid film becoming trapped under a person’s shoe when their foot touches the floor. This is known as ‘hydrodynamic squeeze film’, which creates similar conditions to those causing a car to hydroplane.
In most cases, the slip or fall is preventable. Measures should be taken to limit spills and ensure they are quickly cleaned, while effective entrance matting can help reduce surface contamination. Installing specialist safety floorcoverings with enhanced slip resistance will also significantly reduce the risk.
The subtly textured surface helps prevent liquid from forming a film, dispersing it into the lower levels through the particles, allowing friction between shoe and floor.
The efficacy of safety floorings is assessed in several ways. For example, slip resistance can be measured by a ramp test (DIN 51130). Oil is fed onto the surface of the ramp, which is then progressively inclined to determine the angle of slipforanoperatorwearingstandard4Srubber soled shoes. This gives a resistance rating from R9 (no special anti-slip properties) up to R13, although R12 and R13 relate specifically to metal and
There are many resilient floorcoverings on the market claiming an R10 rating, but this is often based on a test under taken on a factor y- finished, brand new product and does not reflect the floor’s performance over the longer term. In some instances, slip resistance comes from the PUR finish, which can be worn down and cease to be effective.
ThemanufacturingstandardEN13845sets conditions with consideration to wear resistance and the sustainability of slip resistance properties. Floors are classified for use in specific applications based on the level of wear resistance to abrasive wheels and the counting of slip resistant par ticles after abrasion.
Specifying safety flooring that meets all the requirements of EN 13845 will guarantee the slip resistance properties will be sustained throughout its life.
Proper cleaning and maintenance is necessary for any resilient flooring, but it’s especially important for safety floors since poor cleaning can reduce the effectiveness of the slip resistance properties. For example, if grease or dirt is allowed to build up on the floor, or incorrect pads are used for buffing, the slip resistance
may be compromised.
It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s advice on appropriate cleaning fluids and general maintenance regimes. Never use polish and sealants on safety floors.
The addition of a PUR surface treatment can lower cleaning and maintenance requirements, relieving the burden on cleaning staff and helping to save costs. Certain products include specialist PURs that contain slip resistant granules, in addition to those in the wearlayer, for added protection and peace of mind.
There are a wide variety of safety floorings to choose from and, thanks to recent advances in manufacturing technology, there is now no need to compromise on style.
A broader range of colours and designs are available alongside realistic wood and mineral effects that suit any application, including front- of-house areas where aesthetics are important.
Mark Burton is supply chain sales team manager at Tarkett
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.