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The Rules For Kitchens Give Food For Thought

Garry Bateman, head of technical sales and support at Forbo Flooring Systems, explains that finding a floorcovering for food service areas that is safe, easy to clean, durable and yet still aesthetically appealing can often be a difficult task:  
HEALTH and safety in the food preparation industry is of paramount importance and flooring plays a vital role in ensuring safety requirements are met. With spillages, hot surfaces and sharp objects presenting significant risks, slip resistance should be the primary consideration when making flooring recommendations in this sector.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 stipulate that flooring must not be ‘slippery so as to expose any person to a risk to their safety’. In food preparations areas, where the floor may be frequently splashed with cooking oil and liquids, installing high-performance safety flooring is key to managing this risk.
When it comes to choosing products to install, there are three commonly quoted standards or test methods. Also known as the ramp test, DIN 51130 is a laboratory-based test used to measure the slip resistance of a product.
Ramp test classifications start at R9, which is the lowest slip resistance class and runs to R13. It is important to be aware that not all products within this classification scale offer the enhanced slip resistance properties of safety floors required in high slip risk areas.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and UK Slip Resistance Group (UKSRG) recommend measurement of slip resistance using the Pendulum test (HSE information sheet – Assessing the slip resistance of flooring).
The test can be used to assess slip resistance in both dry and contaminated conditions and measures the coefficient of friction of a floor surface to provide a slip potential classification. A pendulum test value (PTV) of 36 or higher is classified as low slip risk.
Finally, EN 13845 is the European Standard for sustainability of slip resistance of vinyl floorcoverings. It concerns PVC safety floorcoverings with particle based enhanced slip resistance and specifies the requirements to ensure the slip resistant properties of the floorcovering are maintained during its life.
Flooring in food preparation areas must have a PTV of 36 or higher in the expected conditions of service, according to HSE guidance. Installers should therefore look for flooring with Pendulum test values appropriate for the level and type of contamination likely to be present.
With an increased use of safety floors across sectors, advances in technology have seen manufacturers experiment with different construction materials and aesthetics that meet the requirement for warmer and more welcoming finishes.
The current trend demands a less industrialised look and so new safety flooring concepts include softer and more natural inspired designs to help create warmer environments. Keeping in contact with a reputable manufacturer is the best way of staying in touch with the latest developments and ensure the correct products are recommended for each job. www.forbo-flooring.co.uk

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