Slips and trips are a serious matter; in fact, in the workplace, they happen every 3 minutes. It’s, therefore, vital to keep floor surfaces clean and safe to protect your clients and staff, not to mention your bottom line. This week we’re speaking with Christian Harris, founder of Slip Safety Services and host of the Safety & Risk Success Podcast. Read on as we talk about the health and safety of floors and preventing bad falls; here’s a guide to slip risk assessments.
How much of a problem are slips and falls?
‘’Slips and falls are a very big problem, in fact, AXA spends £80m a year on slip accident claims alone. Statistically speaking, over two-thirds of people have either slipped themselves or have a family member who has, and so it’s an issue that affects the vast majority. Shockingly, however, only one in five buildings currently meet the HSE guidance. There’s certainly a discrepancy between the size of the problem and the action being taken, but we can only hope a change will come.’’
Did you know, every year 300,000 people go to A&E after a slip or fall?
Can these kinds of accidents be prevented?
‘’Absolutely – they can be stopped, but only if you have a proactive approach.’’
Accidents can be easily prevented, but only if you have a proactive approach!
What do people need to know to reduce the risk?
‘’We have developed a model that we have dubbed CHIMES, setting out the six main causes of slips. This acronym stands for Contamination, Heal, Individual, Maintenance, Environment and also Surface. To make a significant difference, you need a holistic approach and a look at these factors in-depth. When we explain this methodology to people, we usually get the same reaction – not many realise how much there is to consider.’’
The model ‘CHIMES’ sets out the six reasons people slip
Flooring is clearly important – how do you know if a floor is safe?
‘’A key part of trying to solve risk is to quantify it, even with health and safety. You can actually scientifically quantify how safe floor surfaces are, which not many people realise, and this is called the Pendulum Test. Both the courts and HSE use this to measure the slip resistance of floors, which mimics the heel striking the surface. The output of the test is a number called a pendulum test value, and there are three categories; let’s take a look at what they mean.’’
- 0 – 24 – high slip potential
- 25 – 35 – moderate slip potential
- 36 + – low slip potential
‘’It’s no exaggeration to say that you can have two floors, next to one another in a building, and the difference in risk from one step to the next could be half a million. Because while you can choose the correct floor for an installation, floors will change over time, and that can be due to three factors.’’
- Change of use
- Wear and tear
- Ineffective or improper
A pendulum test can scientifically quantify how safe floor surfaces are
What role does choosing the correct cleaning products play?
‘’Cleaning plays an absolutely critical role in maintaining flooring to keep it in a safe condition. If you begin with the right floor, this is easily done, even flooring in wet conditions. It’s important to choose the right cleaning product for the right flooring type and always use it in line with the manufacturer’s guidance. Remember, a floor may look aesthetically clean, but it could still harbour invisible contamination, so verifying the efficiency of cleaning through slip testing and or hygiene testing is a sensible and practical measure.’’
FILA’s Baker Street project is a great example of this, and in particular, the products PS87 PRO and CLEANER PRO. Both treatments provided a safe application, without altering aesthetics, to restore the original appearance and anti-slip ratings of the various floor surfaces.
Cleaning products like FILA’s PS87 PRO and CLEANER PRO play a very critical role in maintaining floors in a safe condition
How can I learn more and what should I do next?
‘’Whether you have a project in the pipeline or existing flooring, it would be well worth your time to have a pendulum slip test undertaken. You can also use the digital self-assessment tool, to get a grip on your health and safety risk management.’’
It’s vital to keep floor surfaces clean to protect your clients and staff, not to mention your bottom line
Get in touch to talk flooring safety
Got a question about flooring safety? We would love to advise on any queries that you have! Contact Christian via Linkedin, or for more information on products, contact FILA, for a demonstration of what our range of cleaners can do! Thank you for reading.