Why Is Vinyl Flooring The Safer Option For Many Workplaces?

The most common cause of workplace accidents is slips, trips and falls, all of which are heavily affected by the choice of flooring used in a workplace, and something that can be prevented through the right use of safety vinyl.

Workplaces have a legal obligation to choose suitable flooring for the job at hand, which may require additional water resistance, slip resistance and durability to avoid becoming a trip hazard in high-traffic areas, according to the needs unearthed in the risk assessment.

Whilst there are many ways to test this and the needs of certain businesses require specialised solutions, for a surprising number of businesses the solution comes in the form of vinyl flooring designed with safety in mind. 

Here are just a few of the reasons why.

What Causes Slips?

According to the Health and Safety Executive, the myriad of causes of slips and falls can be grouped into six main categories of factors.

  • Contamination factors, such as where slippery materials are dropped onto the floor and thus cause a slip hazard.
  • Cleaning factors, both in terms of having an ineffective cleaning routine to remove the effects of other factors and also introducing slip hazards through wet floors not adequately marked.
  • Unsuitable flooring or flooring that has become unfit for purpose over time.
  • Environmental factors, not just rainwater or ice but also unexpected noises, inappropriate light levels or condensation.
  • Unsuitable footwear, such as shoes with a lack of tread pattern or with a pattern that has been clogged by debris.
  • Behavioural factors, such as running, not paying attention, being distracted or carrying objects that will stop people from seeing the state of the floor.

Whilst the latter two are factors that are in the hands of people using the flooring, the other four are not, and even these latter too can be ameliorated by the appropriate choice of flooring alongside other safety-focused designs.

How Does Anti-Slip Flooring Work?

Anti-slip vinyl works through a mix of design, chemical treatments and the use of materials, which all work towards a single goal of increasing friction between the sole of the shoe (and in some cases the foot itself).

The most basic element that helps with friction is by using a grooved or patterned texture which serves to increase traction and compensate for certain types of shoes lacking that traction or environmental factors such as standing water or spills.

This can be as simple as a coarse, sandpaper-esque design or more elaborate grooves, depending on the needs of the workplace,

Some designs also work to remove dangers in other ways, with grooved flooring sometimes used to create channels where liquids are channelled away from danger or dispersed enough to no longer be a factor.

Chemical treatments can also be added that enhance the friction of the surface as well as eliminate certain common environmental factors. These could include, for example, a chemical treatment that makes it harder for frost to form in colder weather or is hydrophobic and channels water away in small drips.

These all work together alongside a mindfulness of safety to significantly reduce the risks of slips.

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