How to reduce fall risks in kitchen areas

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08 December 2023 | Altro Danmark

Did you know that around 20 percent of all serious workplace accidents are caused by people falling, slipping or tripping? Here is a quick top 5 of initiatives that can minimize the risk of fall accidents in the hotel and restaurant industry right from the start.

In general, approx. 20 percent of all occupational accidents with more than 3 weeks absence, that employees fall, slip or trip at the workplace. And according to the European Working Environment Agency, falling, slipping and tripping accidents are the most frequent cause of injuries in all industries from heavy industry to office work.

Even the smallest mistake can be very expensive

Not least employees in the hotel and restaurant industry are at risk, as spillage of e.g. water, oil and fats on a kitchen floor can increase the risk of slipping to more than one in twenty. This shows tests from Altro, which manufactures two out of three safety floors used in Denmark.

Even if you prioritize reducing the risk of falling, slipping and tripping, even the smallest mistake can quickly turn out to be very expensive if the accident happens. Spilled food and drinks, carpets that tear loose, cracks and holes in the floors and poor lighting are all ingredients in a dangerous cocktail in many modern kitchens, explains Nordic sales manager at Altro Michael Persson.

He therefore has the following five pieces of good advice for planners, facility managers, operations managers and other decision-makers responsible for the design of restaurants and professional kitchens.

Tip #1: Make sure the floors have an appropriate level of slip resistance

When you slip on a floor, it is due to the lack of grip between the shoe and the surface you are walking on. Surfaces that are frequently exposed to water, grease, oil and the like have a greater risk of slipping, and Altro has therefore developed the Altro Stronghold 30/K30 safety floor .

The floor offers Altro's highest level of slip resistance (PTV ≥ 55, R12) and reduces the risk of slipping to one in a million, even when water, oil or grease is spilled on the floor. This makes Altro Stronghold 30/K30 ideal for kitchen areas.

No matter what need the risk assessment uncovers, there is a floor that solves the task, whether it is a special floor, a safety floor or a smooth vinyl floor for areas with a low risk of slipping, emphasizes Michael Persson.

Tip #2: Choose floors with continuous slip resistance throughout their lifetime

Floors in restaurants, cafes and bars are exposed to many shoe soles in the course of the day. And if you choose a safety floor to reduce the risk of slipping, it is crucial that the slip resistance does not wear out over time.

Here you must choose safety floors with continuous slip resistance throughout their lifetime and make sure to get the manufacturer's documentation that the slip resistance is maintained, even after the floors have been put into use and exposed to wear and tear, is the advice from Michael Persson.

Tip #3: Clean and maintain the floors regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions

Even the most non-slip floors can become dangerous to walk on if they are not maintained frequently and appropriately. Cleaning agents, waxes and various sealants can all affect slip resistance, just as incorrect cleaning procedures can create an unnecessary safety risk.

Here you can do a lot for both safety and hygiene in the kitchen when you follow the manufacturer's instructions on cleaning and maintenance, adds Michael Persson.

Tip #4: Provide smooth, joint-free transitions between floors

Contrary to popular belief, a raised barrier is not the only way to connect two adjacent floor surfaces. At the same time, differences in level increase the risk of tripping or falling, just as they can hinder free movement across the floors. Differences in level can also stem from the interior design itself and from the ravages of time, where, for example, moisture can create dents in the floor covering.

Assembly-free transitions, which include can be achieved using heat welding means that the floors will be easier to move around while creating a uniform appearance and reducing the risk of falling.

Tip #5: Use contrasts in light reflection to create clear identification

Light reflectance values ​​(LRVs) and the functional and design differences they can create are rarely considered. LRV measures the light contrast on a scale from 0 to 100, where zero is dark and 100 is bright.

When designing a restaurant, you can for example use contrasting LRVs to warn people about level differences in the floor, so that you reduce the risk of falling when, for example, the room is full of people who don't know the layout in advance. But it has to be done right, and here you should go for a 30 point difference in LRV for floors, walls and ceilings to ensure the optimal effect, says Michael Persson in conclusion.

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Altro Danmark

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