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HEALTH & SAFETY


Financial burden of slips increasing Part of the financial burden for employers is litigation costs and regulatory fines. In the last two years, the regulatory risks have grown.


Sentencing guidelines for workplace accidents have been reviewed and toughened. It is now possible to face fines up to £10m for slip and trip incidents.


Compensation pay-outs are steep too. Last year, it was revealed that a teacher received £220,000 after her hip was fractured when she slipped on a wet floor in her school.


“Effective cleaning, floor protection,


and anti-slip regimes are in step with modern trends.”


A swimmer received £27,000 when her ankle was broken after she slipped on a wet floor at a local authority leisure centre. There are hundreds more cases like this every year.


Are risks being properly considered? You might think, then, that everything would be done to mitigate these risks and reduce the costs. But that just is not the case, as we find every day of the week.


Protection comes at an immediate cost. For many public access properties especially, that cost is much less than the cumulative costs of responding to slip and trip incidents. Yet those costs can be hidden, not understood well enough, or considered to be a future issue.


My view is that FMs have a duty to fully consider these risks and warn clients of their importance. Budgets are always tight. It is tempting to cut costs by pulling back on floor maintenance. This approach is nearly always a false saving.


Assessing slip and trip risks It is vital to consider all factors that can influence the levels of slip risk. In some work environments it may be possible to control the footwear worn by the staff to reduce the risk of slips.


In many buildings where there is public access, footwear cannot be controlled, so more weight should be given to other factors, such as floor material, design, and behaviour control.


Some key areas of concern include swimming pools and spas; toilets and bathrooms; entrance ways where wet and dry floors adjoin; changes in floor surfacing; sloping walkways; and locations where pedestrian routes merge or cross.


In these cases, the correct specification, and maintenance of flooring – including repair, cleaning, and use of specialist anti-slip coatings – are among the best controls available.


Measuring the scale of slip and trip problem The recognised method for measuring slip resistance in the UK is the pendulum test. It is used by the Health and Safety Executive and members of the UK Slip Resistance Group


www.tomorrowsfm.com


(UKSRG), of which we are a member. The test methodology is described in BS 7976, and via the UKSRG website.


The pendulum test measures a floor’s dynamic coefficient of friction by swinging a spring-loaded arm fitted with a rubber pad onto the floor. The distance the pad travel before stopping provides a slip test value (PTV).


These PTVs determine a floor’s slip potential, high, moderate or low. This in turn provides an accident probability. For example, a floor with a PTV of 36 is 50,000 times less likely to cause a slip than one with a PTV of 24.


Delivering a solution – coating and cleaning Having the right floor surface, keeping it clean, and increasing anti-slip protection by treating floors are three key solutions to slip risks.


CleanSafe is the exclusive contract applicator, in mainland UK, of Bonasystems Grip, a clear anti-slip coating for tiles, stone, and other cementitious surfaces.


It increases slip resistance by microscopically altering the floor substrate, so more of the foot is in direct contact with the floor and, in wet areas, more water is dispersed.


Such anti-slip coatings are proving so effective, insurance companies are increasingly stipulating their application, especially in high-risk areas such as wet leisure facilities.


However, introducing an effective deep cleaning regime can also deliver excellent results. Often, property owners, or their cleaning provider, do not find time to use floor cleaning and sealing products effectively, undermining their performance.


“It is now possible to face fines up to £10m for slip and trip incidents.”


We apply Bonasystems deep cleaning products on behalf of both Network Rail and Mitchells and Butler. Both have reported at least a 60% reduction in slip and trip incidents since using the product.


One reason for this is that grime and – in the case of swimming pools – hard-to-detect human fat is deposited on floors which have already been designed with micro- pattern anti-slip surfaces.


Effective deep cleaning and sealing of floors often allows lighter touch floor cleaning programmes between treatments, reducing ongoing maintenance costs.


It can also dramatically improve the look of floors. After months, if not years, of them looking permanently grubby, this is an instant revelation for clients and their customers.


Effective cleaning, floor protection, and anti-slip regimes are in step with modern trends, as identified by my facilities management trend. You can impress a mobile phone user with a gleaming floor, and not injure or kill them at the same time.


www.cleansafeservices.co.uk TOMORROW’S FM | 33


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