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Commercial Flooring News

Here Flooring Really Takes A Battering

Polyflor market manager John Mellor explains why the correct flooring in a food preparation area is vital:

IN a busy food preparation area or commercial kitchen, the chosen flooring is an integral part of the design scheme. With heavy footfall, employees moving around quickly and with regular contamination of oil and grease, there is a requirement for flooring to be durable, easy to clean and to provide the sufficient sustainable slip resistance in wet conditions in order to provide employee protection and underfoot safety.

The flooring also needs to be able to cope with the weight of heavy machinery and impact or abrasion caused by such equipment as well as withstanding high and low temperatures.

Vinyl safety flooring is an increasingly popular choice for these areas and it is vital that many stringent demands are met. Safety flooring is mainly installed in sheet form, so unlike the grout lines available with the use of tiles, this means a full installation can be made that is self coved and welded at the seams to protect against water ingress and to avoid dirt traps.

During the risk assessment stage of a new build or refurbishment, many health and safety factors will be assessed in the working environment to denote the type of flooring required to minimise slip accidents. This will involve looking at the slip potential model derived by the HSE and analysing various factors such as footwear – whether this is controlled or not, drainage, the likely contamination that will be spilled onto the floor and how regular this is, the importance of cleaning and the use and behaviour of pedestrians whilst working in

the environment.

In many food preparation areas where there are regular oil and grease contaminants, a safety floor with enhanced slip resistance and surface roughness will typically be specified that must be made to certification EN13845. The level of surface roughness required on the flooring relates to the viscosity of the contaminant likely in the use area and the thicker the contaminant the higher the sur face roughness required.

In an area with oil and grease spillages, HSE Guidelines state a minimum roughness of 70 microns and above and is required to accommodate these spillages and result in a lower slip potential. In addition, it is typically found that flooring with higher Pendulum results in the wet test (using Four S Rubber/Slider 96) is required for intense cooking areas.

In areas such as cafés which are less intense with only sandwiches and drinks being prepared rather than continual frying, a standard safety floor with the low slip potential of 36+ on the Pendulum Wet Test and 20 microns and above surface roughness can be considered, depending on the end user risk assessment.
Many safety floors are complete with PUR maintenance enhancements applied to the product, facilitating easier cleaning and helping to maintain strict hygiene controls in areas where food is prepared.

Though prevention of spillages, or a clean as you go policy to deal with contaminants as they happen is often the best way to minimise slip risk, spillages cannot always be avoided, so the reliance on slip resistant flooring to lower the slip potential in these areas continues to grow.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.