Don’t Slip Up On Cleaning Floors
HOW your customers treat their floors once you’ve installed them may be out of your hands, but by understanding how cleaning and maintenance practices impact on different flooring and conveying some of that knowledge, you could save yourself some hassle further down the line.
Did you know that safety flooring that meets minimum HSE slip resistance standards has odds of anyone slipping of one in a million? Many factors – from the obvious spillages and contaminants, to gradual degradation and wear of flooring that’s not made to the highest standards – can increase the risk in some flooring to as much as one in two chance of slipping.
Slips and falls can be a costly business – for those who may be injured after slipping on a floor they thought would keep them safe, and for those whose job it was to mitigate the risk of slips where possible.
You may not be able to influence many of these factors, but you could make a difference to safety by helping customers to choose appropriate flooring and by advising them about the right ways to care for it.
Whilst no special techniques are required when cleaning safety flooring – it is simply a matter of following basic procedures on a regular basis – an incorrect cleaning regime can lead to build up of dirt and/or chemicals on the surface of the flooring. This build-up not only compromises hygiene, but can act as a barrier to effective slip resistance, resulting in potential slips and injuries.
To get the most from their flooring your customers should understand what products they have and then read, keep and follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations for each product – different flooring may need different techniques to get the best results.
For example, heavy-duty safety flooring suitable for kitchen areas is designed to cope with oils, fats and grease and should have a different cleaning regime to flooring designed for use in bathroom areas.
In some cases a customer may have chosen ‘easy clean’ flooring (with an additional PUR component incorporated in the surface layer or throughout the entire wear layer) with a view to saving money long term. However, this may end up being cleaned with exactly the same processes as a traditional floor, negating the potential cleaning cost savings.
Perhaps cleaning teams lack confidence in the easy clean technology. The cleaning regime may be decided based on a generic category such as ‘safety flooring’ or ‘hard floor’. In some cases, there might be a policy of standardising cleaning equipment, chemicals and regimes across multiple sites, for reasons of economy and ease of training.
If the wrong cleaning regime is applied, the performance of the flooring could be reduced. Applying a polish or seal to safety flooring will reduce its slip resistance.
In areas where hygiene is important, hard wearing, durable flooring is essential. PVC flooring is innately resistant to impact damage and point loading, can be installed to create a watertight system and is resistant to most chemicals, staining and odours.
These are key factors in maintaining hygiene, because damage to floors causes dirt and bacteria to become trapped more easily, and makes cleaning more difficult. Regular and thorough maintenance is important to ensure hygiene doesn’t become compromised.
www.altro.co.uk T: 01462 489405
David Cockhead is quality and compliance advisor at Altro
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.