Slip, trips and falls are costly public health problems in Australia. The cost due to these is estimated to be a whopping 4 billion USD annually. In this article, we will discuss the importance of having safety flooring solutions for your terrazzo marble stone and how you can implement them.
Slips by the Numbers
Like mentioned above the costs is 4 billion USD per year. Hospitalization costs around 1.3 billion dollars. The most expensive legal settlements for a slip-related incident is around 2.75 million dollars. The cost of slip incidents is very expensive, especially for owners and builders.
According to the research of ATTAR (a NATA accredited for slip resistance testing), here are the cause of slips:
* Lack of familiarity
* Poor Lighting
* Excessive speeding
* Influenced of Alcohol
* Wet floor
* Uneven floor
* Unexpected change in floor surface
* Dirty and contaminated floor
* Uneven step and geometry
* Worn and old tiles
Laws Governing Slip Resistance
There are three laws to consider in implementing slip resistance for your projects. You and your contractor need to be aware of them for future projects.
Law 1 Building Code of Australia / National Construction Codes
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) includes safety performance requirements for safe design. Most commercial buildings are required to provide slip-resistant surfaces for safe movement, specifically in areas of emergency access and egress. The slip-resistance requirements of Clauses D2.10, D2.13 and D2.14 of the BCA states that non-slip and non-skid surfaces must be installed on pedestrian ramps, stair treads and landings. Furthermore, other parts of buildings may need to comply with disability access requirements.
Law 2 The Access to Premises Standards 2013
The Disability (Access to Premises-Buildings) Standards 2010 is Commonwealth legislation which tries to improve access and use of facilities so that they are accessible for all. The improvement in the design not only provides a safer environment but help to facilitate community interaction by reducing barriers that may affect the participation of disabled persons.
Parts of buildings that are required to be accessible must have accessways to and within certain areas. An accessway is defined as a continuous accessible path of travel as defined in AS 1428.1, which in turn requires an accessway to be slip resistant. Whilst many may argue that slip resistance is not a specific prescriptive requirement, the requirement for slip resistance appears to be an inherent requirement as not to discriminate against those who may have difficulty walking on slippery and/or polished surfaces (for those with difficulty walking on highly reflective surfaces).
Law 3 State-Based Occupational Health and Safety Acts and Regulations
While Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) or Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) regulations and models are set to be harmonized, this won’t be for a long time yet. However, the general principles essentially require employers and those who have control (or part thereof) to show due diligence in ensuring that the risk of injury due to slips, trips, and falls are reduced to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).
This essential requires that floors are to be non-slip, non-skid or slip resistant through performance-based criteria rather than prescriptive requirements.
There are also usually duties for responsibility for the design of the workplace, which extends to those who design, specify or supply floor surfaces intended for places of work.
How can we make Terrazzo align with safety?
* Make sure when mopping the floors are not left wet
* Make sure your tiles are clean and do not have slippery stains (oil, food, etc)
* Make sure to use warning signs during maintenance and cleaning of floors
* Utilize terrazzo pavers for outdoor flooring. These tiles are honed in the factory and shot blast to give the tiles an anti-slip texture. Each tile is individually chamfered for that prestigious look. It is anti-slip, easy to clean and can withstand elements.
* Utilize terrazzo tiles/terrazzo in-situ with Honed Anti-Slip Finish. The floor is ground on site to a honed finish. If the non-slip finish is required a non-slip additive is added to the manufacturing process that enables the floor to achieve at least an R10 finish that will not wear off. This is very useful for high foot traffic areas.
* Observe the construction of your flooring. Make sure it is even. Coordinate with your architect or engineer on this.