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Commercial Flooring News

Poorly Maintained Floor Can Trip You Up

The financial, environmental and commercial benefits of a proficiently cleaned floor are becoming increasingly acknowledged, says Beaver Floorcare director Tom Campton (pictured). But a clean and well-maintained floor is also a crucial part of a safe working environment: 
A PLANNED floor cleaning and maintenance regime helps to ensure the professional appearance of any workplace environment. If the floorcovering is appropriately cared for, the lifespan of this valuable asset is also protected from the outset, as is the organisation’s investment.
Some companies don’t realise that a clean floor helps to safeguard them from the current ‘claims culture’. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) reports that slips and trips account for one in three major incidents in the workplace, with one occurring every three minutes. Companies can face costly compensation claims, increased insurance premiums and even litigation. However, in many instances this can all be prevented if a best-practice approach to floorcare is adopted.
Only recently, a client in the London Bridge business district found that their polished granite floor was causing many passers-by to slip. A consultation process, including independently-audited trials, revealed how the floor’s slip resistance could be improved without damaging its appearance.
A three-stage treatment process – tailored to this location – was then carried out. A thorough deep-clean with degreasant removed contaminants from the granite, before a moisture-reactive anti-slip treatment was applied. Once worked across the floor, this was allowed to soak for ten minutes, then removed.
This process was repeated with a rotary machine for the second application, before the chemical was neutralised at phase three. This ensured that the treatment became fixed into the pores of the stone. Now, if the floor becomes wet, the anti-slip system expands up from the surface, creating friction and preventing slips.
This simple yet carefully devised process finished with a thorough rinse, and because acid etching was not involved, the granite’s appearance was unaffected. The result is a much safer, slip-resistant floor, and with appropriate cleaning and periodic retesting, the floor safety will remain high.
Ideally, organisations should adopt a proactive and preventative stance, rather than only taking action when a slip problem becomes apparent. A simple HSE-approved Pendulum Test, for example, can measure a floor’s slip resistance when wet and dry – the higher the Pendulum Test Value (PTV), the safer the floor.
A PTV of less than 24 highlights an accident waiting to happen, so action should be taken before disaster strikes.

Sometimes it needs only a small tweak to the cleaning approach – for instance a thorough detergent rinse or a different cleaning chemical concentration – to dramatically improve the PTV and lower the risk of an accident.
Remember that health & safety problems can arise with any floor type. Organisations that do not effectively clean their carpets can face infestation issues for instance. Bacteria can also grow in the bevels and heat-sealed joints of vinyl flooring if not cleansed as thoroughly and frequently as they should be.
Employers should remember that, under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, they have a duty of care to provide a clean, safe and healthy place for staff to work. An effectively maintained floor not only protects the workforce from illness or personal injury; it keeps an organisation safe from financial and reputational exposure too.

This article has been produced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at