September 3, 2018

Reducing slip hazards in the workplace

Unsealed or deteriorated concrete flooring increases the risk of slips, trips and falls in the workplace. Trips can occur even if there is a change of one centimetre or less in flooring height, while flooring which is too smooth or glossy can cause slips, especially when there are spillages or other contaminants present. Renewing and sealing concrete flooring with a seamless, slip-resistant coating is best-practice to reduce safety risks for employees.

According to Safe Work Australia, trips and falls are amongst the most common causes of workplace injuries. Over a 12-year period between 2003 and 2015, slips, trips or falls caused the death of 386 workers and caused 23 per cent of serious injury claims. Environmental factors were to blame for 56 per cent of the trips, slips and falls, including slippery surfaces following rain or spills, poorly maintained walkways and trip hazards.

Most slips occur when a floor surface is either too smooth, uneven, damaged or contaminated. One way to reduce the risk of injuries occurring because of these factors is to install a slip-resistant coating to create positive traction on the surface of a floor. This is done by adding an anti-slip substrate such as bauxite, aluminium oxide or quartz sand to the coating mixture before installation to create the desired coefficient level of friction.

Chris Bauer, Head of Flooring at Hychem, said, “There will always be uncontrollable variants such as shoe characteristics or walking pace, but the onus is on the employer to maintain a safe workplace for staff members.

“The responsibility of employers involves putting measures into place to reduce the chance of an accident occurring wherever possible.”

A customisable solution

Some considerations should be made when selecting a coating for concrete floors, including its expected use and foot traffic, the cleaning requirements, and the assessment of floor heights and surfaces to ensure consistency.

Hychem formulates and manufactures a number of flooring systems to meet the slip resistance ratings required of various applications.

“Each application has its own design requirements when it comes to slip resistance so our systems are designed to be tailored to suit every working environment,” Mr Bauer said.

“Depending on the requirements, we can add a range of anti-slip aggregate types and sizes, such as bauxite, aluminium oxide and quartz sand, to meet slip ratings from R9 to R13.”

Minimising risks around spillages

Selecting a flooring system that is seamless and easy-to-clean can also help to reduce the risk of injuries in the workplace due to spillages.

Ensuring that spillages are quickly and completely cleaned is crucial. Old and worn flooring is more susceptible to holding moisture, while liquids getting into seams and cracks can make it difficult to effectively clean the surface.

Hychem’s epoxy flooring solutions are seamless and highly durable, reducing the occurrence of the sorts of cracks and deterioration that can hold moisture and prevent the proper cleaning of spills.

Tailored to your needs

While selecting a flooring solution to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls is important, there are numerous other factors that need to be taken into consideration as well.

“Flooring design needs to take into consideration numerous elements, with slip resistance just one. This is why Hychem systems are designed to be customisable. We can provide different colour options, chemical resistance, UV resistance and antimicrobial,” Mr Bauer said.

“This allows for a finished floor that can be tailored to suit the needs and requirements of individual projects.”

For more information contact Hychem on (02) 4646 1660.

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