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Safety flooring is primarily used to prevent slips, trips and falls. These kinds of accidents are the number one cause of workplace injury, and often result in further injuries being sustained by the victim, such as scalds, whiplash or broken bones from falls from height.
These types of accidents are not only distressing for the victim and the company responsible. They can also result in lost productivity; disruptive inspections from health and safety officers, fines and court cases; and damaging reputation issues. Many such accidents can be prevented by having professional flooring contractors install the correct type of safety flooring.
Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that slips and trips comprise over a third of all workplace injuries. Anyone within the premises is equally at risk, from employees to visitors, members of the public and contractors working in the area. At a time when health and safety are of higher importance than ever, and companies require a building decontamination service to resume operations, the last thing you need is your business being the middle of a health and safety storm.
The typical workplace insurances an employer carries will cover only part of the costs of recompensing accident victims for their injuries, so the expense of legal action resulting from such an accident can be extensive. Then, there are the costs of lost production while individuals are off sick recovering from their injuries, not to mention the damage done to the company’s reputation if such matters are reported in the press, for instance. The importance of installing commercial safety flooring in areas identified as being at risk of slips and trips cannot, therefore, be underestimated.
What Flooring Do You Need?
The first step in determining the type of flooring that should be installed into a workplace area is to assess the possible risk. Consider all possible hazards, from damaged or uneven floors to areas such as kitchens or washrooms that are likely to be subject to spillages. Next, think about who uses that area: are some groups more vulnerable than others? In a care home, for instance, the elderly might be more at risk than their carers. Assess the flooring currently in place and whether this sufficiently mitigates possible slips, trips or falls. You may need to consider installing specialist safety flooring in new areas, for instance; or replacing worn or damaged vinyl safety flooring in others.
An Overview Of How Commercial Safety Flooring Works
Regulations and standards are in place to specify the types of safety flooring that must be installed in areas used by staff and the public where risks include spillages and surface wetness. The term used to classify and measure the conformity of safety flooring to these standards is ‘slip resistance’. This refers to the surface’s ability to increase the level of friction between the floor and the foot, and is achieved by the inclusion of safety particles and aggregates within the floor’s composition.
When water, for example, is spilled onto a floor, this creates a ‘squeeze film’ between the foot and floor. On a smooth, non-porous surface, this increases slip risks considerably. The inclusion of the particles, though, creates enough of an uneven surface between the two to break up the squeeze film and allows a firmer contact between foot and floor covering, therefore, helping to prevent slips.
Safety flooring is a complex area and you need guidance from an expert supplier in choosing the right product for your environment.