Workplace safety should be a top priority for all businesses. One aspect of the workplace that is often neglected is the floor. Due to more obvious hazards like industrial machinery and electrical tools, we often overlook the importance of things like anti-slip tape and tactile indicators. According to the Queensland government, there were 100,000 people hospitalised due to a fall in 2016-17.
Floor safety is especially important in manufacturing and construction, where the condition of the floors are constantly changing. Floor safety is also important to essentially all commercial and public properties including shopping malls, hotels, office spaces and schools.
If you ignore the state of your workplace flooring, you’re putting your staff and yourself at risk. Though falls often end in just minor bruises, some people have suffered serious injuries because of it.
To help you avoid this, we’ve listed a few ways that can help you improve floor safety at your workplace.
Avoid wet floors
The number one enemy of your workplace floors is water. Though a small puddle of water might seem insignificant, having wet or damp floors can significantly increase the chances of someone slipping. Make sure to mop up spills as soon as possible. If you leave it even for just a few minutes, it increases the chances of someone slipping. If, for some reason, the floor can’t be mopped up immediately, be sure to use a wet floor floor sign.
If you’re not careful, an injured individual can also make a premises liability claim, forcing your place of work to pay compensation. Therefore, it’s important to take the proper precautions when it comes to wet floors.
Use anti-slip coating
Even a dry floor can cause someone to slip. If your workplace has a slick floor, make sure to add anti-slip coating or anti-slip tape as a safety precaution.
Anti-slip coating is typically acrylic-based. It features waterproofing and abrasion resistant qualities, making it perfect for industrial settings that see a lot of moisture and vibrations. Anti-slip products are often categorised into interior and exterior coatings. Make sure to use the appropriate coating for your workplace. Using an interior coating on outside surfaces might compromise its effectiveness.
Anti-slip tape is much easier to install than anti-slip coating. It can be cut and shaped in any way you want. They can also be used for a variety of surfaces. This includes concrete steps, metal diamond plates and timber floors.
For design purposes, anti-slip tape comes in various colours like grey, black and white. However, it might help to use the black-and-yellow striped tape for high-visibility. This will ensure that workers and customers at your workplace can see and avoid potential hazards on the floor.
Install tactile indicators
Tactile indicators are often used in pedestrian crossings and train stations. Their main job is to let you know when there’s a change of levels on the ground or when there’s an obstacle ahead. This could be steps, the kerb, hand railings or doors.
They feature raised truncated domes on the surface so that they can be felt by those who are visually impaired. They will be able to feel the domes under their feet, letting you know that there’s a change in levels on the floor. Though tactile indicators come in different colours, they are often made in high-visibility yellow so that pedestrians can see them even in various low-visibility conditions.
Use proper lighting
You can also improve floor safety by focusing on what’s on the ceiling. With proper lighting, people will be able to see and avoid hazards. You need to make sure to illuminate high-risk areas. This includes stairs, ramps, walkways and spaces with various obstacles.
Similar to the cinema theatres, some public spaces use LED strips on the floor so that pedestrians can see where they’re stepping. Not only is this a practical way of lighting up a space, it can also add to the aesthetic appeal of your workplace.
If, for some reason, you can’t illuminate a particular space properly, make sure to remove any hazards that might be in there. Clean the floors and make sure that there are no obstructions that might cause someone to trip.
With our busy schedules, we don’t always have time to clean everything up at the office. This often leads to empty boxes laying on the floor, paper strewn about and office furniture obscuring walkways. Though they might seem harmless, these objects can easily become a safety hazard. Those who work at a fast pace might not notice these things laying on the floor and end up tripping.
Because of this, it’s important to regularly check for potential obstacles on the floor. Pick up any rubbish on the floor, neaten up the floor mats and put office chairs back in place.
There are plenty of other ways to make your floors safer. These were just a few ideas to help you get started. Remember, floor safety pertains to everyone regardless of their position. So, whether you’re a senior manager or just an entry-level employee, you should make the effort to create a safe environment for everyone in your workplace.