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Essential safety flooring advice for commercial kitchen owners

Posted by Trevor
November 23, 2014 in Features

Some of the most common injuries in a commercial kitchen happen as a result of slipping. With hot surfaces and pans, sharp utensils, and hot foods and sauces going backwards and forwards at all times, these slips can lead to more serious harm than the odd bump and bruise.

However, by taking on the right advice, implementing the right procedures and having robust safety flooring, slips do not have to happen.

Floor type

The first step to installing the right safety flooring is understanding what type of floor you already have in your kitchen. The most slip-likely types of flooring to have in a commercial kitchen include terrazzo, wood or rubber.

All present risks of a similar fashion, in so much that they will become dangerously slippery should even trace amounts of liquids and food debris drop onto the floor. Water too, simply from condensation, will present a dangerous risk.

In all instances, thorough cleaning alone will not significantly reduce the likelihood of a slip occurring, and these types of floor should be replaced immediately with safety flooring appropriate to the environment.

Possible risk of slippage

Offering lower risks but still carrying a clear hazard are floors constructed from materials such as quarry and ceramic tiling, particularly if cracked and worn, often through heavy machinery being placed on them. Profiled ceramic tiles, and even low level gritted safety vinyl, can be classed in this category too.

If glass-based profiled tiling is used, resistance to slippage can be improved by etching, while safety vinyl flooring could see resistance actually enhance through wear. Having a robust cleaning system in place will improve the situation too, as well as keeping food and liquid spills to a minimum.

The best materials

The safest flooring type to use in an industrial kitchen setting includes any materials that have a high inclusion of gritty particles within their construction. Offering grip because of this, flooring in this category includes specialised versions of vinyl, quarry tile, ceramic tile and resin. Safety paint can also be used, but this will wear, particularly in high-traffic areas.

Though these flooring types are by far the safest to install in a kitchen, failing to maintain them correctly will render their anti-slip properties redundant, quickly and dangerously. However, resistance will be maintained if the surface becomes wet underfoot and on drying floors.

General safety flooring advice

Although the greater resistance a safety floor has built into its construction will offer the best defence against slips, it is essential that other precautions are taken.

Most particularly, it is a fundamental requirement that the right cleaning products are used for the flooring. Underlying all of this, however, is assessing risk areas and introducing procedures that all staff are aware of and fully understand.

This includes making sure that all spillages are immediately cleaned up, that no ‘shortcuts’ are taken, and that appropriate footwear is used. Ideally, this will be specially designed slip-resistant and comfortable shoes or boots, which your safety flooring installer will be able to advise on.

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