Safety flooring is often considered as merely complying with Australian Standards, or as a way of covering obligations in case a workplace mishap results in litigation. However, a recent assessment at the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee (QE2) Hospital in Brisbane revealed numerous other benefits.
In 2007, a series of slip incidents in the kitchen at QE2 caused the filing of numerous work cover claims by hospital staff. The floor tiles were originally non-slip but, as will happen with ceramics, they had worn smooth. This meant they were treacherous when wet, were difficult to clean and the grout was an absorbent refuge for germs and bacteria - an abhorrent thought for any healthcare environment. In addition, trolley transport across the tile corrugations was loud, caused muscle fatigue and triggered the items to fall off, further compounding the cleaning and maintenance problems.
After making the decision to replace the tiled floor, Altro ’s KR12-30 Safety Vinyl was installed in Skyline colour, due to its R12 slip rating and hygienic properties.
Two years after installation, Kevin Davidson, OH&S Unit Manager QE2, said that reports from staff have been positive, and that they now move with confidence on the floor. Staff also acknowledged that cleaning times were greatly reduced and so were the levels of stress and fatigue attributed to the previously tiled floor.
The improvement in the floor's performance has resulted in not one work cover claim, incident report or even a ‘near miss’ reported in the Kitchen area since the installation, effectively eliminating the kitchen as source of slips or falls.