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Quality Control


David Cockhead, Altro’s Quality and Compliance Advisor, discusses how following the wrong regime could affect the slip resistance of safety flooring and lead to costly slip-ups.


Safety flooring is usually fitted for very good reason – to ensure the safety of those using that building. It’s also often fitted in areas where hygiene really matters too, such as healthcare or catering environments. At Altro, we’re probably best known for safety; we invented safety flooring back in 1947, continuing to innovate ever since, but we also care a lot about hygiene, and in particular about creating safe and hygienic environments that are sustainable and easy to clean and maintain. This is why we want to spread the word about how incorrect cleaning can directly affect slip resistance.


Safety First 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 the wearing of flooring that hasn’t been made to high standards – can increase the risk in some flooring to as much as a one in two chance of slipping. Slips and falls can be a costly business, both 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.


Whilst you may not be able to influence many of these factors, you can make a real difference to safety by following the right cleaning regimes. No specialist techniques are required when cleaning safety flooring – it is simply a matter of following basic procedures on a regular basis. However, an incorrect cleaning regime can lead to a 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.


Knowledge Is Power It’s very important to read, keep and follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations for each product, as different flooring often 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 may need a different cleaning regime to flooring designed specifically for use in bathroom areas.


68 | FLOORCARE, CARPET & UPHOLSTERY CARE


People often talk about new floor cleaning technology in terms of new machinery or chemicals but, in recent years, many of the major breakthroughs have involved the flooring itself. Flooring manufacturers improve cleanability in a number of ways; one method is the incorporation of an additional polymer component (usually polyurethane, referred to as PUR) in the surface layer, or throughout the entire wear layer of the flooring. The aim is to reduce dirt pick-up and to prevent dirt retention around the slip resistance particles during cleaning, enabling the floor to be maintained more quickly and easily.


As these technologies have advanced, the potential benefits have increased significantly, offering tangible opportunities to reduce time and cost. However, so too has the risk of incorrect cleaning increased which could negate the potential savings, and even affect the performance of the flooring. Often, easy-clean flooring is cleaned with exactly the same processes as a traditional floor, negating the potential savings – perhaps cleaning teams lack confidence in the easy-


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