RUBB

Like icebergs, floors can be deceptive, and as with icebergs it is foolish to ignore them, for therein lies accidents, damage to equipment and breach of Health & Safety legislation. Keeping them clean is an obvious requirement and there are machines that look after several different floor types. But any cleaning regime should start with a site survey and it is not only cleaners on the floor that should be considered in the war on dirt.

Efficient air filtration units like those from Zehnder Clean Air Solutions have helped companies save up to 70% on their cleaning costs. But that, however, is not the only benefit. They can improve indoor air quality so much that they reduce air quality sickness-related absenteeism by as much as 30%, as well as forcing warm air downwards in the winter and so cut heating costs by 20%-30%.

It is not enough simply to keep floors acceptably clean. It could pay to look at the floor construction. Floors can be ‘jointless’ or have stress relieving saw-cut joints. The former, when designed and installed by a specialist flooring contractor, can offer several advantages over a floor slab with saw-cut induced contraction joints, says flooring specialist, Twintec Industrial Flooring. The UK Concrete Society Technical Report No 34 states that “an ideal floor would be perfectly flat and level and have no joints.” This is more achievable with a jointless steel fibre reinforced concrete (sfrc) floor slab as it allows the elimination of saw-cut joints.

Floors have a major impact on the efficiency of MHE operation. Those with joints are likely to curl and breakdown at the edges, with significant implications for picking speed. A ‘jointless’ slab will contain construction joints at the limit of each day’s pour only. These joints are heavy duty metal armoured joints and provide full load transfer, causing little impact on the operation of MHE.

Permaban recently launched its Signature armoured joint based on a half hexagon shape called ‘disruptive face’ technology. This prevents the wheels of vehicles dropping into the gap between the two edges of the joint so that there is no damage to joints or trucks. Signature comes in handy 2.1 mt lengths and will fill gaps up to 40 mm wide.

The more ‘jointless’ a floor is the more floor maintenance and MHE costs will fall. But there will also be increased efficiency of MHE operation and improved health and safety benefits. Additional benefits of a sfrc jointless slab over traditional reinforced saw-cut slab are:

1) reduced construction programme, because it eliminates the need for steel reinforcement to be placed in advance of the works, 2) reduced risk, 3) price – increased output, thinner slabs and no requirement for remedial grinding, 4) improved health and safety through the elimination of construction trip hazards.

Given that slips, trips and falls are the single largest cause of major injury at the workplace, perhaps costing the UK economy £850 million a year, consideration should be given to applying anti-slip coatings to potentially slippery floors and also to floor markings for trucks and pedestrians. On the latter , The Workplace (Health Safety & Welfare) regulations 1992 state the following: “Every workplace shall be organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles can circulate in a safe manner. All traffic routes shall be suitably indicated where necessary for reasons of health and safety.”

Floors are like an advertisement for any company. The best kept floors usually indicate the best run businesses and that is reassuring to any company’s business visitors. But if neglected, they will disrupt their owners and those who work on them.
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